Cuban Missile Crisis Essay

812 words | 3 page(s)

The Cuban Missile Crisis was a critical situation that involved the United States, the Soviet Union (USSR), and Cuba. It was a near-disaster that many consider to be the height of the Cold War, with the United States and the USSR avoiding catastrophe by a narrow margin. The crisis implicates a wide range of different perspectives, as the United States, USSR, and Cuba all played different roles and were impacted differently by the event.

In October of 1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis took place over a period of almost two weeks. Just before that, the United States unsuccessfully attempted to overthrow the Cuban government in what was known as the “Bay of Pigs” ordeal. Likewise, American nuclear missiles were placed in places like Turkey, where they were aimed at Moscow. In response to this, the USSR toyed with the idea of placing missiles in Cuba.

puzzles puzzles
Your 20% discount here.

Use your promo and get a custom paper on
"Cuban Missile Crisis Essay".

Order Now
Promocode: custom20

When the United States found out that the USSR had been building missile sites in Cuba, it instituted a blockade of the island and insisted that all weapons be sent back to the USSR. At the same time, Soviet ships attempted to run through the blockade, prompting the United States to fire warning shots and threaten firing on Soviet ships. Later, Soviet missiles took down an American spy plane, bringing about the very real possibility of all-out nuclear war. While President John F. Kennedy could have order the United States to strike back at the Soviets, Kennedy chose not to. Instead, he chose to continue on with negotiations, hoping to reach an agreement with the Kremlin on nuclear disarmament.

Over the course of two very contentious weeks, Kennedy kept back channels open to communicate with the leadership in Russia. While official talks looked to stall and many thought that nuclear war was a certainty, the back channels allowed Kennedy to provide some assurances to the Soviet leadership while also gaining importance concessions. To end the conflict, the two sides agreed to certain terms, using the United Nations as an intermediary. The USSR agreed to remove its offensive weapons from Cuba, returning them to the Soviet Union. The United States agreed not to invade Cuba. This was the only public concession, but a secret agreement had the United States remove its nuclear missiles from sites in Turkey and Italy, where they were positioned in an offensive manner against the USSR.

From an American perspective, the Cuban Missile Crisis represented a time of tremendous worry. America’s position in the world was being threatened, or so people thought, and the presence of Cuba as such a clear ally made things that much worse. Once the crisis ended, America recognized the importance of diplomacy with the Soviet Union, and there was a mutual understanding of the concept of mutually assured destruction. While America might have been powerful and able to inflict its will on other nations, the presence of nuclear weapons was a great equalizer. American power was neutralized by the similar weaponry, and America was forced to re-consider its stance on how it would use its power.

As an emerging nation, Cuba was more than willing to be used as a pawn in a game between the USSR and the United States. Cuba had political ties to the Soviet Union, as Fidel Castro supported communism and was intent on its spread. This made Cuba a natural geo-political enemy for the United States, and it made sense for Cuba to leverage its position to develop a strong bond with the USSR. After the crisis was averted, Cuba was left in a particularly difficult position. With weapons being removed from Cuba, the conflict itself was not going to come to a head. This meant that Cuba was simply an antagonistic neighbor to the United States. America officials put into place a number of different restrictions and sanctions on Cuba, hurting its economy significantly. It had willingly agreed to be used by the USSR, but when the USSR decided not to follow through with its end of the deal, Cuba ended up with the worst of things.

For the Soviets, the Cuban Missile Crisis was about standing up to what it saw as American aggression. The Soviet perspective saw America putting into place a blockade and previously trying to take down Cuba’s government. Likewise, America must have looked aggressive in placing nuclear warheads not far from Moscow. Soviet leaders would likely argue that putting missiles in Cuba was nothing more than a natural response to America’s choice to basically do the same thing in Italy and Turkey. Following the crisis, there existed a sort of new reality for the Soviets in their dealings with the United States. The USSR had shown some strength, but like the United States, it was forced to confront the reality that with nuclear missiles in play, one wrong decisions could lead to the destruction of humanity.

puzzles puzzles
Attract Only the Top Grades

Have a team of vetted experts take you to the top, with professionally written papers in every area of study.

Order Now