The Cuban Missile Crisis

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The Cuban Missile Crisis

Castro overthrows batista 

Reforms castro introduced:

  • nationalisation (State ownerwhip) of various companies, and of land which was redistributed to the peasants
  • Brought communists into the gov.  and relations with america steadily worsened.

Why the US goverment decided to overthrow castro:

  • Batista was a corrupt dictator, but he had been careful to stay friendly with america and up until 1959, most of cubas trade in sugar and cigars was with America.
  • Americans suspected castro was communist from the start.  His polices seemed to confirm their fears.  The fact that some of the companies/ land owners etc had been taken over by Castro had belonged to American made it worse
  • RESULT= Eisenhower refused to meet castro and refuse loans and economic aid.  When castro turned to USSR for help, USA banned trade with Cuba.  
  • Castro now openly paraded communism and the American gov. would not tolarate this. 
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The Bat of Pigs, April 1961

The Plan to remove Castro

Eisen hower approved a CIA covert operation against Castro before he left office, and Kennedy inherited the plan for an invasion force of 1500 Cuban exiles to land and encourage a general uprising to overthrow castro.  The landing was now to take place in the Bay of Pigs

How and Why did this fail?

  • Kennedy made disastrous changes to original plan - they were now to land in the Bay of Pigs, where there had virtually been no reconnaissance (photos of reefs mistaken for seaweed) and he refused to authorise a second US air strike, should it be requested.
  • RESULT= In the Bay of Pigs some landing craft were wrecked by coral reefs; those Cubans not killedwere quickly rounded up by a 20,000 strong Cuban army.

May 1962: Castro agreed to aloow Soviet missiles to be stationed in Cuba

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Why did Khrushchev put missiles on Cuba?

1) He needed a major success in foriegn policy to strengthen his personal position in the Soviet Union and abroad.

2) The Soviet leader had already tried bluff and threats over Berlin and showed a tendancy to take risks

3) he thought kennedy was a young and inexperienced opponent, whose weaknesses could be exploited 

4) Acting to protect Cuba 

5) Prevent the USA from interferring in the Carribean.  The logical answer was missiles 

6) Saw an oppertunity to off set Americas nuclear superiority and to equalise her strength by placing short and medium range missiles in Cuba.

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Thirteen Days: Timeline

16th Oct:

  • Kennedy was informed 
  • Exectutive committee (Excomm) set up to deal with the crisis
  • Decided against negotiateing with Moscow
  • Kennedy used his Brother Bobby as a contact with Soviet Ambassador 

17th Oct:

  • Kennedy got Khrushchevs assurance that he had no intentions of installing missiles in Cuba

20th Oct:

  • Kenned decided on a naval baracade around Cuba.
  • --Prvent soviet ships, known to be carrying missiles, from reaching Cuba
  • --Forced Khrushchev to make the next move
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Thirteen Days: Timeline

22nd Oct:

  • Kennedy adressed the nation, announcing the discovery of missile sites in Cuba  and his decision to impose a blocade.  The news stunned the world.

23rd Oct:

  • Blocade zone around Cuba was established.  Americans waited for Soviet response.

24th Oct:

  • Soviet ships stopped before reaching blocade.  Those thought to be carrying nucleur warheads turned back.  However, missiles in Cuba still had to be dismantled and no guarentee that nucleur warheads had not got through already

26th Oct:

  • Kennedy recieved first letter from Krushchev in which he said he would remove missiles, if Kennedy promised not to invade Cuba.
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Thirteen Days: Timeline

27th Oct:

  • second letter arrived - demanded that US missiles in Turkey be removed as well.
  • U2 plane shot down over Cuba and pilot killed- tensions were high 
  • Military commanders recommended air strike, followed by invasion.  - president continued to urge caution.
  • They accepted the first offer, but kennedy issued a strong warning of consequences if it was rejected.
  • Kennedy also promised missiles in Turkey would be dissmantled - but insisted this would be informal and secret agreement

28th Oct:

  • Khrushchev accepted and crisis was over :D
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How did Khrushchev and Kennedy both show restraint

  • The Americans did not react to the loss of the U2
  • Soviets did not react to the U2 flight over Siberia or to the Us navys action of forcing a soviet submarine to surface, near their blocade line.
  • Both allowed opponents to retreat without too much lose of face.  Kennedy was careful not to boost victory and paid tribute to Khrushchevs 'contrabution to peace', while Khrushchev did not reveal the concession kennedy secretly made over the missiles  
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Results of The Cuban Missile Crisis

1) Missiles in Turkey and Cuba dismantled.  Castro was furious cand refused to allow UN inspectors into Cuba to confirm that Missiles had been dismantled- kennedy refused to proise US would not invad Cuba.

2) Kennedys prestige enhanced.  Had shown firm resolve in the crisis 

3) Khrushchev criticised by China for being foolish enough to put the missiles into Cuba and then for backing down.  However he took the view that in getting the missiles out of Turkey and protecting Cuba he had achieved a "spectacular success without having to fire a shot."

4) Castro remained in power and a thorn in Americas side.

5) Demonstated the dangers of forcing leaders to act under pressure of circumstances, without having time to reflect upon their decisions.  It showed how both Superpowers needed to avoid direct contact and communications between them needed to be improved = direct line between Whithouse and Kremlin created - 1963.

6) Having recognised that their posession of nucleur weapons led to stalemate between them in Cuba, the way was paved for better East-West relations.  Nucleur weapons as a deterrant become the main focus of the arms race after 1962.

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The Cuban Missile Crisis

Partial Nucleur Test Ban Treaty of 1963: Forbad atmospheric and underwater testing, though not underground tests.

Treaty on the Non- Proliferation of Nucluer weapons later in 1963.

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