- Fidel Castro took over Cuba in 1959.
- He nationalised industries and banks, many of which belonged to the US.
- US and Cuban hostility grew so trade declined.
- Castro turned to the USSRin 1960, they agreed to trade sugar and oil for machinery.
- In 1961, Castro announced he had become communist.
- In 1961, John F Kennedy became US President.
- The CIA informed him that they were planning an invasion of Cuba.
- Kennedy approved it but it went very wrong.
- They received none of the help they were expecting from the Cubans.
- It was known as the Bay of Pigs Disaster- Kennedy looked like a fool and Castro looked like a hero.
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- Castro increasingly turned to Russia for assistance.
- In August 1962, equipment arrived to establish nuclear missile bases in Cuba.
- Missiles in Cuba were in range of most US cities.
- This was a counterbalance to all the US missiles in countries like Turkey.
- US intelligence obtained proof of missile bases by 14th October 1962.
- It also revealed that Russian ships were on route to Cuba with more supplies
- Kennedy was determined not to look stupid so he had 4 options
- 1. Do nothing
- 2. Attack the bases by air
- 3. Invade Cuba
- 4. Blockade Cuba
- He made his decision with the help of Ex-Comm, a committee of the National Security Council
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- On 22 October, Kennedy decided on a naval blockade of Cuba
- 24 October-Beginning of naval blockade;US planes began to fly missions over Cuba; Upon reaching the blockade, the Russian ships were either stopped or turned away; evidence from the U2 spy planes suggested that the missile bases were nearing completion
- 26 October-Tensions increased as a U2 spy plane was shot down; Kennedy received a telegram from Khrushchev stating Russia would remove its missiles if the US ended the blockade and didn't invade Cuba
- 27 October- A second telegram from Khrushchev, Russia would only remove Cuba's missiles if America removed the missiles in Turkey. Advisers told Kennedy to launch an air strike, Kennedy decided to ignore the second telegram and reply to the first one saying he would end the blockade and not invade the island in return for the removal of the cuban missiles. If he didn't receive a reply by 29 October he would invade Cuba
- 28 October- Khrushchev agreed to Kennedy's offer and the missiles were removed
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- In public, this looked like a great success for Kennedy, but he had secretly agreed to remove the missile bases in Turkey.
- Some valuable lessons were learnt during the missile crisis.
- Both sides realised how close nuclear war had been and agreed such confrontation should be avoided.
- They installed a telephone hot line from Washington to Moscow
- They also started talks about reducing the number of nuclear weapons.
- As a result, the Partial Test Ban Treaty was signed in 1963.
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