Cuban Missile Crisis
Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962, major cold war confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union. After the Bay of Pigs Invasion, the USSR increased its support of Fidel Castro's Cuban regime, and in the summer of 1962, Nikita Khrushchev secretly decided to install ballistic missiles in Cuba. When U.S. reconnaissance flights revealed the clandestine construction of missile launching sites, President Kennedy publicly denounced (Oct. 22, 1962) the Soviet actions. He imposed a naval blockade on Cuba and declared that any missile launched from Cuba would warrant a full-scale retaliatory attack by the United States against the Soviet Union. On Oct. 24, Russian ships carrying missiles to Cuba turned back, and when Khrushchev agreed (Oct. 28) to withdraw the missiles and dismantle the missile sites, the crisis ended as suddenly as it had begun. The United States ended its blockade on Nov. 20, and by the end of the year the missiles and bombers were removed from Cuba. The United States, in return, pledged not to invade Cuba, and subsequently secretly removed ballistic missiles it had placed in Turkey.
See R. F. Kennedy, Thirteen Days (1969, repr. 1971); A. Chayes, The Cuban Missile Crisis (1974); R. Garthoff, Reflections on the Cuban Missile Crisis (1989); A. Fursenko and T. Naftali, "One Hell of a Gamble" (1997); E. R. May and P. D. Zelikow, ed., The Kennedy Tapes (1997); M. Frankel, High Noon in the Cold War (2004); M. Dobbs, One Minute to Midnight (2008); S. M. Stern, The Cuban Missile Crisis in American Memory (2012).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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