Cuban Missile Crisis + detente period


Timeline of Events

October 15, 1962

A U2 spyplane discovers missiles in Cuba.

Air Force Pilot Richard Heyser flies a spyplane over Cuba and takes photos of Russian medium-range missiles. Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev has asked Cuba President Fidel Castro if he could put them there in May.

October 16, 1962

Ex-Comm has its first meeting.

Ex-Comm, a group of American political leaders, meets for the first time to discuss the Soviet missiles. Ex-Comm would meet several times throughout the crisis and the members rarely agreed on what to do.

October 17, 1962

Photos show evidence of long-range missiles.

More photos of the missile sites are analyzed and show that Cuba also has long-range Soviet missiles. These missiles are capable of traveling 2,200 miles.

October 18, 1962

Robert Kennedy meets with Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko.

Attorney General Robert Kennedy keeps a previously scheduled meeting with Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko, but does not mention the missiles. Gromyko tells Kennedy that the only help the Soviet Union is giving to Cuba is assistance growing crops and missiles that are only for defense.

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Timeline of Events

October 19, 1962

Ex-Comm suggests quarantining Cuba.

Ex-Comm meets and discusses sending U.S. ships to Cuba to prevent Soviet ships from reaching the island. They are careful to call it a quarantine because a blockade is an act of war.

October 20, 1962

Robert Kennedy gives Ex-Comm's recommendation to the president.

After meeting all day the previous day, Robert Kennedy tells the president that Ex-Comm recommends a quarantine. President Kennedy was in Chicago, but lies about having a cold so that he can return to Washington to deal with the crisis.

October 21, 1962

Ted Sorenson writes one of the most important speeches President Kennedy will ever give.

Attorney and advisor to the president, Ted Sorenson, writes the speech that Kennedy will give to the nation. Informing Americans that the Soviets have missiles in Cuba that are pointed at the U.S. will be an important moment in American history and one of the most frightening speech as president ever gives.

October 22, 1962

President Kennedy gives a televised speech to the nation.

 President Kennedy gives a speech that is carried live on television stations across the country to inform Americans that missiles have been discovered in Cuba. He tells Americans that he has ordered a Navy quarantine around Cuba and orders the Soviets to remove the missiles.

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Timeline of Events

October 23, 1962

Soviet ships on their way to Cuba are stopped.

Khrushchev orders Soviet ships on their way to Cuba to stop in the Atlantic about 750 miles away. This prevents a confrontation with U.S. ships that are around Cuba, although Soviet submarines trailed behind the U.S. ships as they moved into place.

October 24, 1962

Khrushchev refuses to remove the missiles from Cuba.

Saying that the U.S. will not intimidate the Soviets, Khrushchev refuses to remove the missiles from Cuba. He also accuses Kennedy of putting the world at risk of a nuclear war by ordering the quarantine.

October 25, 1962

Kennedy orders increased flights over to Cuba.

Making no progress with his communications with Khrushchev, President Kennedy orders flights over Cuba to be increased from once to twice per day. Pilots also prepare to begin night flights as the U.S. monitors the Cuban missiles.

October 26, 1962

The U.S. begins discussions about invading Cuba.

Concerned that the Soviets may not remove the missiles from Cuba, Ex-Comm begins to discuss plans to invade Cuba to take control of the missiles. Doing this would most likely result in war.

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Timeline of Events

October 27, 1962

An American pilot flies off course into Soviet airspace.

Charles Maultsby, an American pilot, gets lost flying a mission to Alaska and ends up in Soviet airspace. An American jet rescues him and leads him back to the U.S. before the Soviets can shoot his plane down.

October 27, 1962

President Kennedy agrees to not invade Cuba.

After Khrushchev says that he will remove the missiles from Cuba if Kennedy promises not to invade Cuba, Kennedy agrees to the proposal. He also secretly agrees to remove U.S. missiles from Turkey. The world goes to bed that night waiting to see if Khrushchev will accept the arrangement and bring the crisis to an end.

October 28, 1962

Khrushchev agrees to remove the missiles.

Khrushchev gives a speech on Radio Moscow and says that he has agreed to Kennedy's arrangement. The missiles will be removed, Cuba will not be invaded, and the crisis comes to an end.

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Short term/ Long Term Consequences

Short Term and Long Term Consequences: 

Short Term Consequences

Long Term Consequences

Hot Line

Détente period

Cuba cross with USSR

Space race

Test ban treaties

Arms Race

USSR internally more 'hardline'

Covert Operation

USA Looks strong??

Divisions between West

China goes it alone - they say Russia looks weak

US Public losing trust in Government ('Turkey')

CIA Operations continue

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Significance for USA/USSR/The World

Significance for USA:

  • Reduced tensions with USSR
  • Loss of trust with people
    • As they find out about the agreement with Khrushchev (over missiles in Turkey)
  • USA power is challenged?

Significance for USSR:

  • Lost allies
  • USSR goes to Africa/Middle East

 Significance for World:

  • Loss of Unity in West
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What was detente?

Détente- a period of peace between two groups that were previously at war or hostile to each other

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What was going on in America in late 1960s?

What was going on in America in the late 1960s? 

  • Watts riots in 1965
  • Newark 1967
    • Race riots
    • Police brutality
  • Riots of 1968 sparked unrest in several cities
    • Damages were estimated $65 million
    • The assassination of Martin Luther King
    • Tens of thousands were arrested
  • Poverty
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Vietnam War Protests (1955-79)

  • Most unpopular war
  • Involved north Vietnam under communist control
  • South Vietnam were non communist
  • Many people supported the war in Vietnam
  • Gulf of Tonkin
  • Government wasn’t being fully truthful
  • Millions of Vietnamese killed
  • Spurred gay rights/ feminism/ civil rights
  • Loss of trust in USA leadership
  • 1968 Tet offensive
  • Becomes a focus for anger against government
  • 30,00 avoided the draft (being forced into the army to fight in Vietnam)
  • Kent State protests 1970
    • 4 students killed
  • Nixon 1969
    • 'vietnamisation'
  • North Vietnam invaded south Vietnam in 1975 and it fell under communist control.
  • The war nearly bankrupted USA $500,000 to kill one vietcong
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Main Summits on arms limtations during detente

  • SALT 1 (1969-1972)
    • In 1969, talks on limiting strategic nuclear weapons (Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty- SALT) began hesitantly on arms control, not reduction. New developments in weapons technology that might threaten this new stability (such as computerised guidance systems for ICBMs, MIRVs and ABMs which undermined the old policy of MAD) would this be curbed by these arms-control talks. The USSR was particularly alarmed by the USAs big lead in ABM systems, and did not wish to compete in this area because of the massive costs involved
    • No overall agreement on offensive weapons was reached, progress was made in some areas.
    • There was to be a five year freeze on all ICBMs, SLBMs and long range bombers. Each side also agreed to having only two ABM sites, with no more than 100 missile launchers each
    • There was also the Basic Principles Agreement, which committed both sides to work together to prevent conflict and build peaceful coexistence
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Main Summits on arms limtations during detente

  • SALT 2 (1973-1979)
    • In 1973, US involvement in Vietnam ended and, despite war in the middle east, the US and USSR continued to hold weapons reductions talks; East and West trade increased. When Ford replaced Nixon in 1974 SALT 2 outline was agreed
    • Good relations continued under Carter (elected 1976) at first, despite civil war in Angola. In 1979, the US and China established diplomatic relations, and Brezhnev and Carter signed SALT 2 in Vienna
    • Carter responded in 1980 by blocking various exports to the USSR and by suspending ratification of SALT 2. In November, Reagan was elected president.
    • To contact each other in a crisis
    • Ended Détente
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Main Summits on arms limtations during detente

  • Helsinki Conference and Accords, 1973-1975
    • 35 nations
    • Unity and Support
    • 'Human Rights'
    • 'Cooperation'
    • 'Security'
    • Help make peace
    • Control USSR/USA- limit
    • Recongised borders in Europe
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Pressure for Detente on Both Countries

Pressure for détente on USSR:

  1. Brezhnev wanted to extend Khruschchev's policy of co-existence
  2. Arms spending= 20% of all Govt spending- and they had caught up with USA
  3. Iron curtain had poor industrial efficiency- needed to trade with the west
  4. USSR had fell out with China & needed better relations with the USA

Pressure for détente on USA:

  1. Arms race and vietnam war- meant the USA was spending lots- this was crippling the US economy
  2. Loss of Vietnam war had hit USA's confidence
  3. Civil rights movement= pressure 
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1970s to 1980s- events during and after detente

  • Salt 1/2 1972-1973
  • By 1976, Cold War hostilities were beginning to build again
  • Jimmy Carter who came to power in 1977 after defeating Ford in the elections following a rather inconsistent foreign policy
  • In April 1978, communists took power in Afghanistan
    • Government of Afghanistan was overthrown by a communist party called the People's democratic Party of Afghanistan
    • The government did not seem very stable either
    • Within the party, different people were fighting to be in charge. Hafizullah Amin ended up in charge of the party.
  • In January 1979, the Shah of Iran (an important regional ally for the US) was toppled by an Islamic fundamentalist revolt. This event increased US concerns about developments in this oil-rich area.
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Investment of Both Countries during Detente

The Prime motivation for the US is the need to accept that other global powers are emerging and act accordingly.

The Prime Motivation for the USSR is that the economy is stagnating. Too much money has been spent on defence. We need to trade with the West.

Contributions towards Détente by the US:

  • SALT 1 & 2
  • Richard Nixon was prepared to limit the US policy of containing communism if the overall consequences were beneficial to US interests
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Investment of Both Countries during Detente

At the start of the détente period, both countries seemed to be committed to contributing to the Détente and wanted to make it work. Closer to the end of the détente period they both seemed to go separate ways and be less committed to creating peace between them. For example, the US agreed to arms control however not arms reduction. However USSR wanted to commit to arms limitations talks.

If they weren't interested in Détente, what were they invested in?

  • Wanted to retain self-interests
    • Economy
    • Political influence
    • Internal/domestic Islam
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