history unit two: cuban missile crisis 1962

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1      Cuban Missile Crisis 1962

1.1    Causes of the Cuban Missile Crisis

-        Cuba was located 90miles from Florida, it had exported its main crop, sugar, to the US and American companies controlled most of the industry.

-        The overthrow of the pro-American dictator Batista in 1959 led to a deterioration in US relations with Cuba. Eisenhower refused to meet Castro when he visited the USA in 1959. The new leader, Castro, nationalized industries and introduced land reforms. This hurt US banking and business. In 1960 the USA ended an agreement to buy Cuba’s sugar exports, and in 1961 the USA cut off trade links with Cuba.

-        Cuba was economically dependent on the USA so Castro turned to the USSR for trade. Cuba signed trade agreements with the USSR and most countries in the Soviet bloc. By 1962 over 80% of Cuba’s trade was with the USSR. Cuba exported sugar, fruit and tobacco and imported oil and machinery.

-        In January 1961 the USA broke off all diplomatic relations with Cuba. In 1961 Castro announced that Cuba was a communist country. This alarmed the USA. Kennedy wasn’t prepared to tolerate the existence of a Russian satellite so close.

-        In April 1961 the CIA and 1400 Cuban exiles organized an invasion to overthrow Castro. The USA provided transport, weapons and military advisers. The Bay of Pigs was a failure as most of the rebels were captured or killed. This failed operation embarrassed Kennedy and the USA and made Castro a national hero. The USA continued with attempts to overthrow and assassinate Castro.

1.2    Cuban relations with the USSR

-        After the USA cut diplomatic relations with Cuba, Castro moved closer to the USSR. In May 1962 the USSR agreed to supply Castro with weapons to protect Cuba from future US invasion.

-        Thousands of guns, patrol boats, tanks and jet fighters made the Cuban army the best equipped in Latin America. 42000 Russian soldiers were also sent.

-        By 1962 the USSR was increasingly concerned at the ‘missile gap’ resulting from the USA’s superiority in long range nuclear missiles.

-        Khrushchev was also concerned about…


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