Cuban Missile Crisis: The Role Of USA
Thirteen days of stalemate, confusion, mixed signals, and the threat of nuclear annihilation recapitulates the events that transpired during what we now refer to as the Cuban Missile Crisis. To what started as a relatively peaceful climate reached during the cold war came to be a puzzling standoff over nuclear warfare between the United States and the Soviet Union. At large due to Cuba’s political shifts and newly formed alliances, the crisis came to be within a year and a half of implementing its new legislative practices. Till this day the crisis is deemed as one of the world’s most intense esculations of tension to have ever occured between two world superpowers. Though Serving as both a catalyst for future legislation and a reminder of how fragile international relations can become, the cuban missile crisis was an event no one dares to replicate.
For almost a decade prior to the crisis, the United States and Cuba remained fairly neutral with each other. Cuba, then governed under the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista, made no enemy with the United States, thus, trade, investments, and access to material resources were of normal operations between the two. The United States backed Batista’s policies, violations of any kind were rare, and generally speaking a relatively peaceful climate remained in effect. Though only one problem would occur to unsettle this mutual relationship, and that was the rise of Fidel Castro. Sparking civil corruption, making various attempts to overthrow Batista’s legislation, and surviving multiple life or death situations in doing so, Fidel Castro wanted to take over Cuba’s government and was willing to do whatever it took to do so. Batista, then in his second term in government as a dictator, did what he could to defend himself and his platform; though with a declining defence base and growing civil corruption, he would be officially ousted in 1959. “He and his supporters then fled to the Dominican Republic” (“Batista forced out” 2019). Castro then proceeded to take Batista’s position and began cutting and forming international relations one by one. The first on his list to go were those with the United States. ”U.S. businesses, oil refineries, factories and casinos were nationalized, prompting the U.S. to end diplomatic relations and impose a trade embargo that would remain in effect over the next 54 years (Fidel Castro 2019). The peaceful climate reached was now a distant memory. Concurrently, Castro was developing relations with the soviet union, becoming increasingly dependent upon their support and resources. Becoming so dependent in fact, Castro publicly partnered with the soviet union, terming his platform a Marxist-Leninist. In doing so, this bought Nikita Krushtev of the USSR into the picture. And by 1961, not only was the U.S. concerned with the communist expansion in europe, but now with a potential satellite just 90 miles east of their coastline.
Without a doubt, U.S. officials were not happy with the events that transpired leading to Castro’s assumption of power. In fact they tried over a dozen times to take him out using clever ways to do so. “From poisonous cigars, to the infamous Bay of Pigs invasion, all failed and castro continued with his plans of action unbothered” (The cuban missile crisis begins 2019). All the while, Cuba was benefiting greatly from the military support and resources delivered to them by the soviet union. Cuba would also help out other countries within the Latin Americas later on by providing similar aid. Nonetheless, products ranging from daily necessities to firearms and ammunition were being supplied by the boatload. Along with said materials came thousands of soviet troops disguised as tourists or cuban militia men to prevent any sparks of suspicion from the U.S.. Ties began to run so deep in fact that Catsro and Khrushtev secretly agreed to grant the Soviet Union permission to deploy missiles across the island. Done in part to counterbalance the readiness of attack by the U.S. on the Soviet Union with its missiles already in Turkey. Though the missiles were at large designed for intimidation, they were unloaded from ships through the night and assembled in their desired locations. The thirteen day crisis would officially began when they are detected by a U.S. U-2 spy plane.
The day was October 16th, 1962 and what came to be termed the Cuban Missile Crisis had officially begun. Watching from a distance, the U.S knew about Cuba’s diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union; though it was not until the missiles were detected that affirmative action needed to be taken place. A U.S. U-2 spy plane flew over cuba several times, taking pictures of what would later be discerned as missiles and launchers on what seemed to be military bases. “Krushchev, the supplier of said missiles, and the inner circle of soviet policy-makers fully realized the probability that their missiles in cuba, if discovered, would provoke a crisis with the United States. Though they accepted this risk because they expected to reap considerable political and strategic gains if the missiles were not detected until they became operational” (Picture on phone from teacher resource). Kennedy, initially concerned about the upcoming U.S. midterms, was blindsided. His main concerns at the time would be when would they be expected to be ready for launch and how to appropriately respond. He pulled together a group of officials whom he termed X-CON, and they began to discuss plans of action.
Various ideas were brought to the table during these discussions, ideas ranging from planning another invasion to air striking the missile sites were put forward. Though Kennedy’s main concern was to not cause war. “On October 22, 1962, Kennedy officially settled on enforcing a naval quarantine around cuba, in doing so he hoped to stop the importation of the missiles and launchers. He would then send a message to Khrushchev urging him to dismantel any missiles that are already operational and to return them at once” (Cuban missile crisis, 2019). He would settle on the term “quarantine” as the use of the term “blockade” was considered an act of war. On October 24, 1962, Krushetev would order his missile carrying ships to turn around thought those caring necessities would continue on. Krushtev would respond to Kennedys message insisting that any effort to block international air or water ways was an act of war. Nonetheless, this aggression pushed the U.S. military into the state of DEFCON 3. That night Kennedy would inform the public on the issue stating “shall be the policy of the nation to regard any nuclear missile launched from cuba against any nation in the western hemisphere as an attack by the Soviet Union on the U.S., therefore requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union” (youtube video).
With tensions only beginning to grow, the military bases on Cuba only continued in progression towards having operational missiles. Ignorning Kennedy’s initial message, more and more missiles were appearing and they were closer to being fully functional. With confocmation be another U-2 spy plane that was sent over Cuba, the readiness of the missiles was enough for the U.S. military to enter into the state of DEFCON 2.