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‘Placing nuclear weapons in Cuba was a reckless piece of international gambling by Khrushchev that achieved nothing of significance for the USSR.’

The statement is valid because the decision brought the world the closest it had ever been to nuclear war and the whole fiasco genuinely terrified people on a global scale, not just those in the affiliated countries. However there is a counter argument and that is the fact that the USSR did achieve the removal of missiles from turkey and that nuclear did not actually happen which is more valid making what Khrushchev less of a gamble and also achieving ground for the USSR.Firstly the placement of the nuclear weapons in Cuba can be seen as a gamble when taken into account one of the factors that encouraged the Soviet Union to put the missiles in Cuba is to show to China that they were still the lead communist nation and could protect a revolution. This is an incredible risk to put nuclear arms so close to the USA and risk a possibility of nuclear war to impress China, although this obviously wasn’t the main reason it still was a factor.The protection of Cuba and its communist revolution was also in the mind of Khrushchev when installing the weapons into Cuba, however a large amount of the worry surrounding the situation could have been lessened if conventional weapons were used instead due to there being a lessened opinion of regular military forces because at the time all of the media and worry was about nuclear arms and the damage a nuclear war could to do everyone on a global scale.The weapons were further a gamble as this came so close to what had happened the previous year in Berlin regarding the issuing of the Berlin ultimatum and then ultimately the construction of the Berlin wall, this will of strained the relationship between the USA and USSR more than previously to the point where after the weapons had been put in Cuba it could’ve just sparked a total war due to those strained relationships.It can also be argued that nothing of significance was achieved for the USSR because eventually the weapons were removed from Cuba, this not only appeared weak to China who they had set out to impress and even though the USA’s weapons were removed from Turkey it wasn’t in the public eye so the USSR gained no credibility at the time on a global scale, just personal satisfaction.There is however more evidence to suggest that it was less of a gamble than the original statement suggests. Firstly, the idea of mutually assured destruction played a role that neither side wanted or felt they could fire the first missile even if they felt like it, due to the fact as soon as it had been launched they would have had 10x the amount coming back thus resolving nothing and just ultimately killing people.Furthermore the fact that the USSR wanted and were looking for peace and security boasted by the fact they put the missiles into Cuba to protect Cuba and to attempt to attain peace by only matching the geostrategic position the USA had in Turkey that there was significantly less fuss over compared to Cuba. Following on from this about the geostrategic position the USSR gained from the missiles in Cuba helped to bridge the missile gap, as the USA has been ahead throughout the arms race and this new position allowed the USSR to match that of the USA in Turkey and also spend less on long range ICBMs and there development and also not have to spend as much money on conventional weapons and forces.The statement declaring that the USSR didn’t achieve anything of significance is also unfair too, the USSR exposed the USA’s containment policy as the revolution happened in Cuba and then was allowed to have a communist influence thus making the American’s fail in preventing communism spreading, especially towards the USA itself. This had been the first time containment had not worked, rollback had failed previously but not containment.The USSR also achieved the removal of the Jupiter missiles from Turkey although not in the fashion they would have wanted due to it being secret to the world which was implemented by Kennedy to spare his own blushes. This helped the USSR’s security massively due to it removing the threat of nuclear warheads so close to Russia itself and although wasn’t publicised it was an achievement for the USSR.To conclude the statement is valid that it was a gamble by Khrushchev due to the crisis bringing the world the closest it had ever been to nuclear war. However, there is stronger evidence to show that the USSR did achieve something and it was not that much of a gamble, the USA’s policy of containment was exposed and the threat of the Jupiter missiles were removed and the idea of mutually assured destruction practically made the chance of nuclear war impossible or if not certainly very unlikely.

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