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The Cuban Missile Crisis

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Presentation on theme: "The Cuban Missile Crisis"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Cuban Missile Crisis

2 Setting the Stage The Truman Doctrine The Marshall Plan Containment
The Domino Theory The Berlin Blockade The Berlin Wall Why are these events so important when trying to understand the Cold War? Based on your knowledge of the Cold War, outline the reasons why your historical policy or event helped increase the tension at the outset of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

3 The Bay of Pigs Invasion
The 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion was an unsuccessful attempt at invasion following the Cuban Revolution that saw Fidel Castro come to power It was planned and funded by the United States The invasion was carried out by armed Cuban exiles in southwest Cuba. This action accelerated a rapid deterioration in Cuban-American relations worsened by the Cuban Missile Crisis the following year.

4 The Crisis Begins October 15, 1962 Monday

5 The Crisis Begins A U-2 reconnaissance pilot, Richard Heyser, takes photos which reveal the presence of SS-4 Nuclear missiles in Cuba.

6 The Aerial Photos

7 Meanwhile back in Montana~ Malmstrom Air Force Base had the first and only solid fueled rocket, however they lacked ability to launch it.


9 October 16, 1962 Tuesday

10 October 16, 1962 President John F. Kennedy was informed of the missiles while eating breakfast. President Kennedy convened EX-COMM, his twelve most important advisors. What the president didn’t know was that Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev had given the Soviet field commanders in Cuba permission to launch nuclear missiles if the United States invaded.

11 October 17, 1962 Wednesday

12 October 17, 1962 The first of three SS-5 Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles (IRBM) were detected in Cuba.

13 Range of Weapons

14 October 18, 1962 Thursday

15 October 18, 1962 President John F. Kennedy meets with and advises Soviet Foreign Minister Andrie Gromyko that the United States will not tolerate the presence of Soviet missiles in Cuba. Gromyko denies having weapons of any sort in Cuba.

16 Friday October 19,1962

17 October 19, 1962 President Kennedy meets with secretary of defense Robert McNamara to discuss military options. JFK left later to Chicago, he was told not to tell anybody about the crisis.

18 Meanwhile back in Montana~
Airmen at Malmstrom Air Force Base started laying wire to launch solid fuel rockets. Construction sites were in the middle of fields, and even on farms.


20 Sunday October 21,1962

21 October 21,1962 Kennedy asks the Air Force if they could take out all of the Cuban missiles. “Only the ones we know about” replied the Air Force. President Kennedy decided to navel block Cuba. Another U-2 plane discovered missiles being built on the North Shore of Cuba. President Kennedy told the media that he would tell the American Public tomorrow.





26 The American Response Kennedy and Congress had already passed a resolution stating the placement of nuclear weapons in Cuba would no be tolerated They realized they had to act quickly before the missiles were active They had a number of choices at their disposal – This has become known as the “Escalation Ladder”

27 The Escalation Ladder Do Nothing Go to the United Nations
*Naval Blockade* Strategic Air strike Full Invasion of Cuba Which policy do you think the USA should have employed with the Soviets? In groups of 5 or 6 which I will choose – make a case for your option.

28 Why was “Do Nothing” not an option?
The Truman Doctrine prevented it The weapons were too dangerous to American safety Kennedy would be perceived as weak by the Soviets – This could empower them to make another move on Berlin or another contentious European location Kennedy would be committing political suicide at home

29 Go to the UN? PROS Using the United Nations for diplomacy which is good Validates the United Nation’s role in global politics CONS Takes too long Could appear indecisive Too many interest groups Russia and the United States both have veto powers on the Security Council – hard to reach a consensus DECISION: Good option in conjunction with another choice

30 Naval Blockade PROS CONS
Its not war and it is a show of strength without missiles A Naval quarantine is an effective way of turning away missiles CONS Puts the United States in direct confrontation with the USSR Sinking a soviet ship is an act of war DECISION: Safer than an air strike or full invasion

31 Strategic Airstrike PROS CONS
Will effectively knock out Soviet missiles Good show of American strength CONS When Soviet missiles are destroyed it is likely that Soviet soldiers will die as well – this is an act of war DECISION: Option number two but would prefer not to use it

32 Invasion PROS The United States secures Cuba and ensures nuclear safety from the country The United States sends a clear message to the Soviets to stay out of the west CONS A full invasion would surely kill Soviet soldiers which would be considered an act of war The nuclear consequences could be disastrous DECISION: Too risky, can only be used as a last resort

33 October Monday

34 October 22, 1962 The public was informed of the crisis on this day.
Senate leaders were informed of the crisis and called for air strikes. Kennedy reinforced his decision for a quarantine. Marines reinforced the base at Guantanamo Bay.

35 President Kennedy’s Speech
Addressed the nation about what was going on in Cuba Announced plans to implement a naval blockade of Cuba. Sets military alert to DEFCON 3. Instructions were given to be ready to launch missiles within minutes of the President's speech. In response to this speech, Castro mobilized of Cuba’s military forces.

36 Meanwhile back in Montana~
Kennedy ordered Malmstrom officials to be prepared to launch the missiles at any time.


38 October 24, 1962 Wednesday

39 Wednesday Soviet ships approached the quarantine.
EX-COMM was worried that Khrushchev had not got hold of the ships to tell them to turn back. They got information later telling them Soviet ships had stopped.

40 Wednesday Secretary of State Dean Rusk quoted, “We were eyeball to eyeball and the other guy just blinked.” The crisis was not at its end.

41 October 25,1962 Thursday

42 October 25, 1962 U.S. Ambassador Adlai Stevenson confronts the Soviets at the U.N. but they refuse to answer. American military forces are instructed to set DEFCON 2 the highest ever in U.S. history. The military could, at a moment's notice, launch an attack on Cuba or the Soviet Union. Kennedy sends letter to Khrushchev blaming the soviets for the start of this crisis. EX-COMM discusses a proposal to withdraw missiles from Turkey if the Soviets withdraw their missiles from Cuba.

43 October 27, 1962 Saturday

44 Saturday Khrushchev sends a letter saying if the U.S. removes its missiles from Turkey they will remove theirs in Cuba. Pilot, Major Rudolf Anderson an American U-2 flier was shot down over Cuba.

45 Saturday U-2 pilot strays into Soviet airspace accidentally while flying in Alaska. Soviet fighters nearly took the plane down. President Kennedy will make a statement saying he will not invade Cuba.

46 Why Cuba Mr. Krushchev? Brinkmanship
An opportunity to close the missile gap—Currently far behind U.S. in terms of number of missiles Protect Cuba – Castro had begun relations with the USSR Reciprocity: The U.S. has missiles pointing at the Soviets (ie. Turkey)

47 Why was the USSR interested in helping Cuba?
Cuba was a new Communist state Cuba provided a launch base for USSR inter-continental missiles (ICMs) Khrushchev wanted to test strength of new US president, JFK Khrushchev wanted to force JFK into bargaining over US missile in Europe

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