Do you regard the Cuban Missile Crisis as a success for containment? 

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I would regard the Cuban Missile Crisis as a success for containment, but only a very small one.  It did limit the spread of communist power, but the limitation was really very slight.

Containment was the main idea of US foreign policy during the Cold War.  This idea held that the US needed to prevent communism for spreading and becoming more powerful.  The Cuban Missile Crisis did accomplish this to a small degree.

The Cuban Missile Crisis began when the US found out that the Soviet Union had begun to set up medium range nuclear missiles in Cuba.  These missiles could easily reach US territory where Soviet missiles had never been able to reach.  Therefore, the placement of the missiles would have represented an expansion of communist power.  When the US got the Soviets to remove the missiles, it limited the expansion of communist power.

However, this was only a slight limitation.  The Soviets soon developed nuclear missiles that could easily hit anywhere in the world from the Soviets’ own territory.  This meant that removing the missiles from Cuba had essentially no long term impact on the spread of communist power.

thetall's profile pic

thetall | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

The results of the Cuban missile crisis and the Containment policy contrasted sharply because although the crisis ended amicably with better relations between the U.S and USSR, Cuba still went on to become a communist country. In effect, the containment policy which was against having a communist neighbor failed, but the end to the crisis was a success because the risk of direct warfare between the two opposing powers was diffused.

The Containment Policy was established to limit and reverse the gains made in the spread of communism. Several major countries and entire regions were falling to communism, which was a threat to the United States. The Containment Policy sought to support conflicting countries financially and militarily in order to stop their fall to communist influence, as seen when Truman’s administration sent $400 million to halt hostilities in Greece and Turkey. The Cuban missile crisis may have been an attempt by Russia to defend a fellow communist state (Cuba) from the U.S. which had already taken steps against her neighbor. Russia sent nuclear missiles to Cuba, but these were later on dismantled and shipped back to Russia after an amicable resolution between the U.S. and Russia. The U.S. also agreed not to invade Cuba unless directly provoked.

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gsenviro's profile pic

gsenviro | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

The Cuban Missile Crisis can hardly be called a success for containment; even if it is called so, any success was short-lived.

The Cuban Missile Crisis arose when the US got the information that the USSR might be placing medium range nuclear missiles in Cuba and that these missiles could reach targets within the US, places where direct launches from the USSR could not. The missile placement would have given a foothold to communists on the American continent. The successful and non-violent resolution of the crisis contained the spread of communism, as the US hoped. However, the USSR soon developed longer range missiles that could directly strike any target within the US, thus negating the need for any missile deployment anywhere else in the world. The spread of communism was not checked and it spread to other countries as well. In fact, after the Cuban Missile Crisis, the US and the USSR did not confront each other directly; rather they carried out proxy wars by supporting opposing groups in various countries (examples include Iran, Afghanistan, etc.).  

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