Cuban Missile Crisis (Great Events from History: North American Series)
Article abstract: At the height of the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union risk nuclear confrontation.
Summary of Event
When Fidel Castro’s revolutionary July 26 Movement assumed power in Cuba in 1959, it marked the end of U.S. political and economic dominance over the island. Ever since the late nineteenth century, the United States, supported by loyal Cuban politicians, had enjoyed control over all Cuba’s commerce and industry. Castro, however, refused to adhere to U.S. interests, and as a result, the United States attempted to overthrow Castro’s government through the use of covert military operations and an economic blockade.
In 1960, President Dwight Eisenhower and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) began organizing and training anti-Castro Cuban exiles for a potential invasion. When President John F. Kennedy entered the White House in 1961, he agreed to continue this program, and in April, more than fourteen hundred commandos landed at the Bay of Pigs. U.S. experts believed that the people would rise up and revolt against Castro during this assault, but Castro easily quashed this rebellion. Afterward, Kennedy hatched several assassination plots against Castro, and he sanctioned the CIA to conduct sabotage raids upon Cuban sugarcane fields, railroad bridges, and oil tanks through Operation Mongoose.
All of these attacks, however, backfired. Threatened with continuous...
(The entire section is 1555 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!
Cuban Missile Crisis (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: Military significance: The dispute between the United States and the Soviet Union over Soviet missiles in Cuba came to a head, nearly causing a nuclear war.
Following the disastrous Bay of Pigs Invasion in 1961, Cuban leader Fidel Castro moved politically closer to the Soviet Union to gain a measure of protection from the United States. Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev concluded that the United States would not immediately make another attempt to invade Cuba after the defeat of the Cuban exiles, so he and Castro worked out an agreement to erect Soviet missile sites in Cuba and to deploy long-range Soviet bombers on Cuban airfields. When the United States learned through photographs taken by high-flying U-2 spy planes that the missile sites were under construction, President John F. Kennedy, Jr., was confronted with the challenge of a formidable foreign military presence just ninety miles from Florida.
In the midst of the Cold War, this Soviet move threatened to place the United States at a distinct disadvantage. However, Kennedy had to be very careful when deciding on an appropriate response because he did not want to take any action that would heat up the confrontation between the two superpowers. Some of his advisers counseled an air attack on Cuba to destroy the partially built missile sites. This course of action, however, would surely mean civilian casualties, and, more important, could lead to World War...
(The entire section is 716 words.)
Cuban Missile Crisis (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
The 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis was a dangerous moment in the COLD WAR between the United States and the Soviet Union. The actions taken by President John F. Kennedy's administration prevented the installation of Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba, just 90 miles from Florida. The crisis also illustrated the limitations of international law, as the United States relied on military actions and threats to accomplish its goal.
The crisis grew out of political changes in Cuba. In the 1950s, Fidel Castro, a young lawyer, led a guerrilla movement against Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. Batista lost the confidence of the Cuban people and on January 1, 1959, fled the country. Castro became premier of the new government.
At first, the United States supported the Castro government. This changed when Castro seized U.S.-owned sugar estates and cattle ranches in Cuba. The United States subsequently embargoed trade with Cuba, and the CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY (CIA) began covert operations to topple Castro. In 1960, Castro openly embraced COMMUNISM and signed Cuba's first trade agreement with the Soviet Union.
Many Cubans had left the island of Cuba for the United States following the Castro revolution. Aided by the United States, a Cuban exile army was trained for an invasion. Although most of the planning took place in 1960, when President DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER was...
(The entire section is 1112 words.)