The arms race: Delivery systems and the origins of the Cuban Missile Crisis

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Delivery systems and the origins of the Cuban Missile Crisis

Delivery systems

  • During the 1950s and 1960s the superpowers developed 4 delivery systems:
    • strategic bombers
    • ICBMs fired from underground bases
    • short-range nuclear missiles stationed outside territory of the superpowers
    • ballistic missiles fired from submarines

Soviet developments

  • 1956 Soviets deployed the TU20 Bear - a long range bomber that could reach US territory from Soviet air bases. However they were slow and could be intercepted by US fighter planes.
  • First successful Soviet ICBM test was May 1957.
  • Later that year Sputnik showed the world that Soviet missiles were powerful enough to reach space.
  • However ICBMs were expensive and Khrushchev tried to find a cheaper alternative.

US developments

  • US ICBM technology lagged behind the USSR in the late 1950s so they focused on deploying …

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