Background to Cuba 1. USA helped Cuba become independent from Spanish rule in 1898. 2. The Americans had helped Batista come to power and supported him. However because of his increasing corrupt government they started to support Castro. 3. In 1959 Fidel Castro overthrew Batista in and set up a new pro-Communist government. 4. Clearly friendly relations between the USA and Castro did not last long. 5. Castro blamed the USA for Cuba’s poverty. 6. From the summer of 1960 Castro was receiving arms from the Soviet Union.
What could America do? Discuss the pros and cons of each of these ideas with a partner. 1. Wait and see what develops 2. Negotiate diplomatically with Castro 3. Show Castro who is boss by not buying from him 4. Go straight in with American troops and get rid of Castro
Initial Reactions from the USA 1. USA stopped buying Cuban sugar in 1960 2. 1961 banned all trade with Cuba 3. 1961 broke off diplomatic relations …..However, these all had the opposite effect pushing Castro closer to the USSR.
The ‘Bay of Pigs’ Invasion President Eisenhower promised to help Cuban refugees who wanted to get rid of Castro. In 1961 President Kennedy replaced Eisenhower. He was told of a CIA plan to invade Cuba and overthrow Castro. Kennedy allowed the plan to go ahead. On 17 th April 1961, supplied arms, equipment and transport for 1400 anti-Castro exiles landed at the Bay of Pigs in southern Cuba. They were outnumbered by almost 300 to 1! Within three days they were all dead or in prison. Kennedy was furious.
Results of the ‘Bay of Pigs’ 1. The Cuban army had defeated the invaders so easily that Castro became more popular. 2. Castro now saw the USA as a very series threat indeed and asked Khrushchev for help to defend Cuba. 3. Kennedy was humiliated. “How could I have been so far off base? All my life I’ve known better than to depend on experts. How could I have been so stupid to let them go ahead?” This is what Kennedy told a friend after the Bay of Pigs disaster.
The truth is uncovered: the October Crisis. On 14 th October 1962, an American U-2 spy plane flew over Cuba and took detailed pictures of what the USA had been dreading – missile sites in Cuba.
Why did Khrushchev want to place missiles on Cuba?
After the Bay of Pigs invasion, Castro was worried about further invasions. He asked for Khrushchev's help – and the USSR promised to help Cuba with weapons. Why did Khrushchev offer to help? Think why Khrushchev was only too willing to help! Opportunity to redress the ‘failure’ over Berlin. Putting nuclear weapons on Cuba would put pressure on the USA. USSR nuclear weapon deployment was far inferior to USA. Would mean USSR had weapons base within 90 miles of US eastern coast. Khrushchev knew that USA had missiles in Turkey – he wanted the equivalent. US missiles in Turkey meant USA had ‘total coverage’ of USSR.
How did the Soviet Union help Cuba after 1961? After the Bay of Pigs disaster, Soviet arms flooded into Cuba. By July 1962 Cuba had the best equipped army in Latin America. By September it had thousands of Soviet missiles, plus patrol boats, tanks, radar vans, missile erectors, jet bombers, jet fighters and 5000 Soviet technicians The USA watched with increasing alarm. Would the Soviets turn Cuba into a nuclear weapons base? On 11 th September Kennedy warned the USSR that he would prevent Cuba from becoming a nuclear missiles base but Khrushchev assured him that they had no intentions of doing this.
What could the USA do? President Kennedy organized ExComm (the Executive Committee). This was group of political and military advisors including Robert Kennedy and Theodore Sorensen. They debated what to do day and night for nearly seven days! The wrong decision would lead to nuclear war.
Kennedy’s Options 1. Do nothing 2. Surgical air attack 3. Invasion 4. Diplomatic Pressures 5. Blockade
What did the USA do? On 22 October, Kennedy announced a “strict quarantine on all offensive military equipment under shipment to Cuba”. If Soviet vessels did not stop, US ships had orders to fire. Why do you think Kennedy took this decision? At the same time, Kennedy ordered his forces to be ready for war. The world had never been closer to nuclear conflict. Kennedy stated that if the blockade is ‘forced’, the USA will be at war. The Soviet ships continued to sail towards Cuba.
The impact of the blockade 14 th October spy plane photographs show evidence of missile bases on Cuba 14 th October Kennedy calls an emergency meeting of the Ex Comm to decide how the US should react 22 th October Kennedy announces the Blockade on national television 23rd Soviets say that they are just helping Cuba and that the USA was interfering in Cuban affairs 24 th October Kennedy receives news that the Soviet ships have turned around 26 th October Khrushchev sends a letter to Kennedy saying he would withdraw the missiles so long as the USA promised not to invade 26 th October Khrushchev then sends another message saying that the USA must withdraw missiles from Turkey 27 th October spy plane shot down over Cuba. Kennedy decides to respond to the first letter 28 th October Radio Moscow announces that nuclear weapons would be removed. In secret the USA agreed to remove missiles in Turkey
Turkey missile deal remained secret Test-ban treaty signed in 1963 – ban on testing nuclear weapons. Telephone hotline set up in 1963. Cold War never became as serious again. Despite future tensions, there was a major change in attitude. Is this fair? Why should Khrushchev be praised? Both superpowers realized how close they had come to nuclear war. Kennedy appeared to have stood up to communism – massive public opinion boost. Khrushchev came out of the crisis badly – criticized both for trying to place missiles in Cuba, and also for giving into the USA. Impact of the Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962 The impact of the crisis
Consider the impact of the crisis. Arrange these statements in order of importance.