How America Handled The Cuban Missile Crisis

Were it not for the objective thinking and quick action of President J.F. Kennedy, the Cuban missile crisis would have brought a third world war: nuclear war. The American government handled that crisis with caution and many pundits have lauded Kennedy’s leadership on that matter. But how did the missile crisis in Cuba begin?

Fidel Castro’s revolution brought change into Cuba after overthrowing a corrupt and dictatorial leader, Fulgencio Batista. When Fidel Castro took over as the Cuban leader, he brought sanity and fairness. Those who had abused Cubans in the Batista era were punished heavily by Castro. Most Americans who enjoyed huge successes under Batista’s leadership fled when Castro took over power. In fact, most American businesses withdraw from Cuba. Castro, a socialist, had no option but to welcome Russian investors. President J.F Kennedy was in support of Cubans who had sought refuge in America. His government tried to overthrow Castro’s rule by arming Cubans in exile. Unfortunately, this strategy failed and it formed the basis for the Cuban missile crisis.

When Fidel Castro realized that he was under threat from the Americans, he formed an alliance with Russia. Russia became Cuba’s chief trade partner. President Kennedy offered no apologies to the Cuban government following the failed coup de-tat. Castro acted fast by arming his nation in self-defense. He requested for assistance from Russia. Russia will always team-up with those opposing the Americans. Russia moved fast and exported sixty-six medium and intermediate range missiles to Cuba. In addition, Russia sent approximately 22,000 troops to Cuba.

President Kennedy realized that America was under a significant nuclear threat, and he had to act fast. He had already made his relations with Cuba sour after a failed attempt to overthrow Castro. Kennedy had a number of options. First, he could have just ignored that development, but this would have made him appear weak before the Russians. Secondly, he would have ordered a military attack on Cuba, but again, he was not sure if he would defeat the Russians. He opted to protest by letting Russia know that America was unhappy with the exportation of missiles into Cuba.

The Russian leader, Khrushchev, sent Kennedy two letters. In the first one, Khrushchev asked Kennedy to promise not to invade Cuba, and Russia would withdraw from Cuba. The second claimed that the US had military bases in Turkey and Russia had the right to be in Cuba. However, Kennedy intelligently responded to the first letter, and he gave his word that the US would not attack Cuba. Within two months, Russia had withdrawn from Cuba, and the world was spared from a nuclear war. Kennedy managed to wash his hands from the dirt he had engineered. Many have lauded his smart move.


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