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THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS KENNEDY KHRUSHCHEV FIDEL CASTRO THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS • Causes • Events • Consequences THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS OVERVIEW • Latin America especially Central America was considered by the USA to be its own ‘backyard’. The USA was by far the strongest country in the Americas and it had great influence over political and economic policies in all the countries in the region. It used this influence to keep Communism out of ‘their backyard’. Any revolutionary movements in Latin America were usually quickly suppressed by the USA. • In 1959 a Revolution in Cuba brought Fidel Castro to power. Whether Castro was a Communist at this time, we do not know. However, the USA decided he was acting like a Communist and backed an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow him. This pushed Castro towards becoming an ally of Khrushchev the Soviet Leader. •The Soviet Union supplied economic aid and military support to Cuba and in 1962 decided to station Nuclear Weapons in Cuba. When the USA found out, the Cold War looked as if it was about to turn HOT!! • As Soviet ships carrying Nuclear Weapons steamed towards Cuba, America decided to surround the island with its Navy. • The World waited in fear of a full scale Nuclear War, but they breathed a sigh of relief when the Soviets backed down. THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS IMAGES THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS Long Term Causes CAUSES •In 1898, Cuba gained independence from Spain, and thereafter, it was controlled by the USA, who invested in its economy (mainly sugar and tobacco). •FDR granted its independence in 1934, and in 1952, Batista came to power. He was right wing, and so acceptable to the USA, but he was idle, inefficient and cruel. Profits dropped and the US people with business interests complained. •From 1957, the US supported the rise of a young Cuban lawyer, Fidel Castro (born, 1927), who led a band of 300 fighters called the 26th of July Movement. They helped him gain power in January 1959. •He began to nationalise industry, collectivise farms and censor the press. The USA realised too late that they had sponsored a Marxist with their investments and profits on Cuba at risk. •American aid to Cuba ended in January 1961. Cuban capitalists fled to the USA. THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS IMAGES Fulgencio Batista Fidel Castro and Khrushchev THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS THE BAY OF PIGS •The more pressure the Americans put on Cuba, the more Castro turned to the Soviet Union. • In 1960 JF Kennedy became President of the USA. He inherited the CIA Plan to overthrow Castro. In his election campaign he even attacked his opponents for allowing Communism in America’s backyard. • The CIA began to train anti-Castro Cuban exiles for an invasion of Cuba. They believed an invasion would lead to a general uprising against Castro’s Government. • The invasion force, trained in Guatemala and numbering about 1,500 landed in the Bay of Pigs in April 1961. • However, no uprising took place and embarrassingly for America the invaders were quickly rounded up by Castro’s troops. • This was a great propaganda victory for Castro and he accused the US of trying to overthrow the rightful Government by illegal means. • The main result of the failed invasion was Castro’s even closer links to the USSR and ultimately led to the Cuban Missile Crisis 1962. THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS A TIMELINE OF EVENTS MAY 1962 The Soviet leader Khrushchev announced he was supplying arms to Cuba Despite USA’s intelligence Department believing that USSR would not send SEPT 1962 Nuclear weapons, Kennedy warned the USSR he would use any means necessary to prevent this from happening. 14 OCT 1962 An American U-2 spy plane flew over Cuba and took photos of nuclear missile sites that were being built by the USSR. More spy planes confirmed that Cuba had nuclear missile sites ready to launch 15 OCT 1962 weapons in c. 7 days. They also reported that 20 Soviet ships were heading to Cuba with missiles. 20 OCT 1962 Kennedy decides to Blockade Cuba 22 OCT 1962 Kennedy announces the blockade and calls on the Soviet Union to withdraw weapons 23 OCT 1962 Kennedy receives a letter from Khruschev saying Soviet ships will ignore the Blockade. He does not admit the presence of nuclear weapons. Kennedy receives a letter from Khruschev saying all weapons are purely 26 OCT 1962 defensive but if USA lifts the blockade he would be willing to discuss the situation. Khrushchev revises his proposals and demands the US withdraw their 27 OCT 1962 missiles from Turkey. Kennedy refuses. An American spy plane is shot down over Cuba killing the pilot. Kennedy demands USSR removal or face attack. 28 OCT 1962 Khrushchev replies that the USSR will dismantle the weapons and return them to the USSR. THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS WAS KENNEDY RIGHT TO BLOCKADE CUBA? WHAT CHOICES DID HE HAVE? INVASION? DO NOTHING? KENNEDY’S OPTIONS DIPLOMATIC PRESSURES? SURGICAL AIR ATTACK? BLOCKADE? THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS CONSEQUENCES OF THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS • The crisis ended when Khrushchev agreed to remove the nuclear missiles from Cuba in return for a promise from the USA that she would not invade Cuba. • There was also a secret deal that American missiles based in Turkey would be removed. • The shock of the real threat of nuclear war seemed to ‘thaw’ their relationship. • Kennedy and Khrushchev agreed to set up a telephone ‘Hot Line’ between the Whitehouse and the Kremlin. • In July 1963 a treaty was signed banning nuclear tests in the atmosphere. • Both leaders claimed to have gained from the crisis but as Khrushchev seemed to have been the one to back down his reputation suffered. • In 1964 he was deposed and replaced by Brezhnev. • Some less powerful states had only been able to stand back and watch the crisis. Some (e.g. France and China) decided they needed their own nuclear weapons in order to have any independence. THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS CONSEQUENCES: How close the superpowers came to nuclear war only became apparent a quarter of a century later when American and Soviet documents became declassified. It was revealed that Khrushchev had also placed Luna missiles with nuclear warheads in Cuba that had a range of 25 miles. If American forces had invaded, the Soviet commander in Cuba had the authority to use these missiles against the American invaders. If they had, the USA would almost certainly have retaliated and sent missiles to Moscow. That could have meant the end of the World! THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS
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