The Cuban Missile Crisis

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  • Created by: Lauren
  • Created on: 16-01-13 10:42

Cuban revolution and the reaction of the USA

For many years USA was very happy with the political and economic situation in Cuba. 

  • US business dominated Cuba. They owned its major industries (sugar and tobacco).
  • US tourists enjoyed holidays in Cuba as it was so close to the US.
  • The US dominated Cuba militarily- it had a large naval base in Guantanamo.
  • The US supported the Cuban leader Fulgencio Bastista, they knew he was a corrupt, unpopular dictator. Despite this, it supported him because he was anti-communist.

In 1959, US policy went terribly wrong. From 1956, a young communist called Fidel Castro had led a campaign of guerilla warfare against Batista and eventually over threw him in 1959.

  • Castro took over many US owned businesses.
  • He also took over much of American owned land 
  • He gave the land to ordinary Cuban farmers.
  • He forged close links with USSR, led by Nikita Khrushchev.
  • Khrushchev gave him 'advisors',economic aid and military equipment.

The Bay of Pigs

US were furious with Castro's actions and Khrushchev's support of him. From 1959-61, there was a tense, frosty relationship between USA and Cuba. During this time, the US gave support to Cuban's who had left Cuba to get away from Castro. 

In January 1961, US President Eisenhower broke off diplomatic relations with Cuba and this policy continued under Eisenhowers successor, Presdent Kennedy. He supplied weapons and transport for 1500 Cuban exiles to land in Cuba and overthrow Castro. They landed in the Bay of Pigs and were met by 20,000 Cuban troops with weapons supplied by the USSR. The Bay of Pigs was a humiliating disaster for Kennedy. 

The failure of the Bay of Pigs was bad enough, but Kennedy also feared that it would encourage other countries to become communist and risked becoming enemies of the USA. The Crisis further strengthened Castro's position in Cuba. Khrushchev had already decided that Kennedy was weak and unwilling to use force over Cuba. He met Kennedy in 1961 in Vienna, but the talks didn't go well and gave Khrushchev the view that the US would notback up its Containment policy by using force. This led directly to the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962.

The beginnings of the missile crisis

After the Bay of Pigs, Khrushchev gave Castro large amounts of Soviet Military equipment to prevent a follow-up American-supported invasion of Cuba.

The Americans became increasingly alarmed about the Soviet military build-up in Cuba. In September 1962, the Soviets told Kennedy they had no intention of placing nuclear missiles in Cuba; it was a lie.

Why did Khrushchev put missiles in Cuba?

USSR supplied many of its allies with non-nuclear weapons, but the Cuban crisis was the first time nuclear weapons were installed outsie of Soviet bounaries. There were several reasons for Khrushchev's actions.

  • Khrushchev wanted to produce more nuclear war heads and close the 'missile gap' between them and USA.
  • The USA had missiles in W.Europe and Turkey, well within the range of USSR. Placing missiles in…


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