What were the effects of the Cuban Missile Crisis?

As a result of the Cuban Missile Crisis, US President Kennedy and Soviet leader Khrushchev both had to compromise with each other; the US would remove missiles from Turkey, while the Soviets would remove the missiles in Cuba. The 13-day event inspired fear on both sides, and as such, the US and the Soviet Union started working towards a detente. 

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
The Cuban Missle crisis convinced an already paranoid public that the communists were on their doorstep. The Cold War was a lot of chest-pounding and name calling. There was not a lot of action. The Cuban Missle Crisis, on the other hand, made it seem real.
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Americans after October 1962 believed that the Soviet Union had equalled the United States' nuclear capability.  The immediate effects were that missiles were withdrawn from Cuba, and the United States secretly agreed to withdraw its missiles from Turkey.  By June 1963 the first telephone "hotline" was installed for the leaders of the superpowers to directly communicate.  The primary longer term effect began in August 1963, when both Soviet Union and United States formally began the long process of detente, both sides having been frightened into how easily thermonuclear war could ignite.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

One of the effects of the Cuban Missile Crisis was to test or prove the diplomacy and bargaining powers of both Kruschev and Kennedy. The (outdated) missiles in Turkey for the removal of the missiles in Cuba.

A second effect of the Cuban Missile Crisis was to continue the spy sattelite programs because of the effectiveness of the surveillance and proof positive that missiles were on the bases in Cuba. The space was serious and in earnest.  The efforts to use spy cameras in space and on airplanes gained momentum.

Finally, because neither side in the Cuban Missile Crisis had absolute assurance that the thing would not escalate into a shooting war, the leaders had to establish trust through secret deals and assurances. This may or may not have undermined the public trust, but it did avert impending doom and nuclear war.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

One of the effects of the crisis was to terrify the population of the United States and to increase paranoia and help support the willingness of Americans to spend huge amounts of money on defense and to continue the massive arms race with the Soviets.

Another effect was to actually build some greater ability to negotiate and communicate between the two powers as they found ways to use back channels to avoid an actual shooting war.

In some ways the crisis was used very well by Kennedy to make himself look good and tough.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The Cuban Missile Crisis had a lot of different effects.  Let us look at some of the more important of them.

First, in an immediate sense, the crisis led to some adjustments in who had what missiles where.  Of course, the Soviet Union removed its missiles from Cuba.  However, though this was not known at the time, the US removed its nuclear missiles from Turkey.

Second, the crisis made Cuba more secure.  That is because the US pledged not to invade the island.

Third, the crisis led to the creation of a “hotline” between the US and the Soviet Union.  The point of this was to ensure that the two countries’ leaders would be able to speak directly to one another in the event of serious tensions.  This would hopefully help to reduce the possibility of nuclear war breaking out accidentally.

Fourth, the crisis hurt Nikita Khrushchev to some degree.  It called into question his wisdom since it had been his decision to put the missiles in Cuba.  This helped lead to his ouster from power two years later.

Finally, the crisis helped to make John F. Kennedy’s legend.  He came out of the crisis looking like a great leader.  This helped create the image of him that many people have today. 

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on