Cuban Missile Crisis 13 Days: October 1962

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Cuban Missile Crisis

13 Days: October 1962

  1. A communist dictator named Fidel Castro took over Cuba in 1959.

He allowed Soviet military forces to establish bases in Cuba. Soviet submarines, troops, ships, & jet fighters were stationed inside Cuba. The USA felt threatened by having Soviet forces so close. (Cuba is 90 miles from USA)

  1. President Jack Kennedy ordered an invasion of Cuba. The US military trained and armed Cuban citizens to fight back and destroy the communist government. The invasion landed in the Bay of Pigs on 17 April 1961. Castro captured or killed the attackers.

  1. In 1962, Fidel Castro allowed the Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev to install nuclear ballistic missiles inside of Cuba.

  1. Nuclear missiles launched from Cuba could hit Washington; D.C. in five minutes. This would not be enough time to evacuate. 80,000,000 Americans were within range of Soviet nuclear missiles.

  1. JFK ordered the USAF to begin U-2 flights over Cuba. These U-2 flights took photographs indicating the buildup of Soviet forces.

  1. JFK was staring down the barrel of nuclear gun pointed at the head of the USA. JFK did not believe in appeasement. It didn’t stop Hitler. But, fighting a nuclear WW III would kill tens of millions in the United States. Kennedy leaned heavily on his brother, RFK.

Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy


  1. Do Nothing and hope the Soviets play nice in the sandbox

Consequences: The US is at the mercy of the USSR

  1. Invade Cuba and destroy the missiles the old fashioned way.

Consequences: The invasion is too slow and the USSR launches the missiles before the Marines can stop the launch. 80,000,000 Americans died in a nuclear Holocaust

  1. Blockade Cuba with the USN, USCG, & USAF. Do not allow any spare parts, fuel, or munitions into Cuba.

Consequences: This is a slow patient response. It will take time for a blockade to work. In the meantime, Soviet submarines may move into the Gulf of Mexico and sink US ships.

  1. Airstrikes. Bomb the missile sites with an all out air raid.

Consequences: If even one nuclear missile is left operational, the US will lose. The US has no idea where every Soviet nuclear missile is located.

The world held it’s breath for thirteen days. The Soviet Union agreed to withdraw the missiles from Cuba. WWIII did not begin.

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