The Cuban Missile Crisis occurred in October 1962. It was a tense standoff between the United States and the Soviet Union that almost led to nuclear war. The pilot of a US U-2 spy plane observed the assembly of medium-range ballistic missiles in Cuba, prompting a diplomatic crisis. Once installed...
The Cuban Missile Crisis occurred in October 1962. It was a tense standoff between the United States and the Soviet Union that almost led to nuclear war. The pilot of a US U-2 spy plane observed the assembly of medium-range ballistic missiles in Cuba, prompting a diplomatic crisis. Once installed at that range, the missiles could easily reach the eastern United States.
President John F. Kennedy, together with close advisers, considered options for response over the next few days. Some called for the United States to destroy the missiles in an air strike and then invade Cuba. However, Kennedy decided instead to form a naval blockade of Cuba and at the same time warn Khrushchev, the Soviet leader, that the United States would not tolerate nuclear weapons on Cuban soil.
Tense days followed as the two superpowers negotiated. Eventually, it was agreed that the missiles would be removed from Cuba, and in exchange, the United States would agree not to invade Cuba and would also withdraw its Jupiter missiles from Turkey.
Containment was a Cold War policy that was initiated at the end of World War II. It was first explained in what became known as the "long telegram" from George Kennan, who was stationed at the US embassy in Moscow. It called for a policy that would isolate communism within the boundaries of the Soviet Union and its satellites and prevent it from spreading in a "domino effect" from one country to the next. This policy would form the basis for US foreign policy decision-making from then until the Cold War ended in 1991.
The Monroe Doctrine was a US policy initiated in 1823 by President James Monroe that the United States would consider any interference in the Western Hemisphere by outsiders as a hostile act. Kennedy invoked the Monroe Doctrine in a live television speech to the American people during the tense days of negotiation during the Cuban Missile Crisis:
It shall be the policy of this 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 United States, requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union.
The ramifications of the Cuban Missile Crisis included a successfully negotiated agreement to withdraw the missiles. As a result, the Soviets realized that they would not be able to expand their influence in the Western Hemisphere. To this extent, the Cuban Missile Crisis was a success for containment.