Cuban Missile Crisis - CIE History

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  • Created on: 01-05-16 19:00

The Cold War crises

The Cuban Missile Crisis


Why was Cuba important to the USA?

  • Cuba served an economic purpose

Forced to sell raw materials to Americans for low prices. Cuba bought American manufactured goods.

  • The USA invested heavily in Cuban economy

The railway industry was run by the USA who controlled the telephone system and tobacco plantations.

  • Guantanamo Bay was an important US naval base

  • The US controlled Cuban politics making sure it was favourable to America.

  • Cuba was a holiday island for rich Americans

It was the height of the Cold war. President kennedy was inexperienced and viewed by Khrushchev as being weak.

Why did tensions increase between Cuba and the USA?

  • In 1959 there was a revolution in cuba. Fidel Castro overthrew the unpopular General Batista. Castro promised to end American influence and control.

  • The US was worried by this as it had supported Batista. They feared Castro would turn out to be communist.

  • Castro negotiated trade agreements with the Soviet Union to export sugar and Khrushchev sent Castro advisers, military equipment and economic aid.

How did the USA react to the Cuban revolution?

  • The relationship between the countries were tense and frosty.

  • In response to cuban trade links with the Soviet Union the USA banned all trade with Cuba and in January 1961 cut off diplomatic relations.

  • In April 1961 JFK made available weapons and transport for an attempt to overthrow Castro. In this invasion 1,500 exiles landed at the Bay of Pigs to find themselves faced by 20,000 cuban troops armed with weapons supplied by the USSR. The anticipated support from the Cuban people did not materialise and the exiles were killed or taken prisoner. The invasion was a failure.

  • In june 1961 NK met JFK in Vienna. The US was concerned as Kennedy was thought to be weak.

  • In july 1961 Castro nationalised all American industries. In september, NK publicly announced that he would provide arms to Cuba.

  • In september 1962 NK told JFK that he had no intentions of placing nuclear missiles on Cuba. it was a lie. The US became increasingly concerned about the economic build-up.

  • The tension was heightened when, on the 14th october 1962 an American U2 plane photographed the construction of nuclear missiles sites on Cuba.

Why did NK put nuclear missiles into Cuba?

  • It would reduce the advantage held by the USA. The USA had missiles placed in Turkey and Italy, which bordered the USSR. (Jupiter missiles)

  • To act as a deterrent against another attack. The ally cuba was the only communist country in the western hemisphere.

  • To send out a message of strength to the USA

  • The Soviet wanted a base close to the USA for its medium-range missiles. Cuba only 90 miles away so the missiles could reach the USA.

  • To increase the number of soviet war-heads. (close the gap)

What options did JFK have?

  • Diplomatic measures. Use negotiation rather than aggression to find a solution. This could be through the UN. however, the US


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