Steven Luna Per.6/Mrs.Macintyre Compromise of the Cuban Missile Crisis The Cuban Missile Crisis marks one of the most important events not only in our country but also the United States. It is important that we define, rather explain, what the Cuban Missile Crisis was. The Cuban missile crisis was a so called “pivotal” moment in the cold war. The two great superpowers at the time (The United States and the Soviet Union) were at the brink of war.
The cold war seemed to be tilting toward a nuclear war. The crisis was nothing more than a direct and dangerous confrontation. The entire world ran danger. Two great superpowers racing for superiority in every sense of the word. Economic, military, and scientific progress. One country standing for freedom and the other for complete domination.
These were all critical moments in which, if war had been let loose, we’d still be suffering the consequences of that war till this day. How then did the United States act in defense of, not only its people and foundations but also, its allies and ultimately the world? What were the critical decisions that had to be made in order to avoid a war, calamity, destruction, famine, and economic decline? Let us look at the compromises that had to be made in order to maintain peace and stability throughout the world. Cuba was a country entering chaos at the time. Cuba was ruled by a dictator at the time. Fulgencio Batista. He was “elected president from 1940-1944” according to BIography.com, and was backed up by the United States government.
He lived a lavish life and did little to help the poor. He only widened the gap between between rich and poor. He essentially privatized everything and eventually more than 70% of the arable land was owned by foreigners. He then formed lucrative relationships with the American mafia and other multinational companies that were lucrative. As the growing discontent and hatred toward Batista, shown in student riots and demonstrations, grew he was forced to “tighten the leash on censorship of the media,” according to Wikipedia.com.
“while also utilizing his Bureau for the Repression of Communist Activities secret police to carry out wide-scale violence,” also from Wikipedia.com. He used methods of torture, intimidation, and public executions which led to the loss of countless individuals. This continued for another two years when Fidel Castro organized an armed rebellion and overthrew Batista’s dictatorship on New Year’s Day of 1959. Fidel Castro was a Marxist/Leninist lawyer. On July 25, 1953 Castro lead a rebellion against the Cuban government which failed miserably and lead to his imprisonment.
Wh he was later released from prison he started forming “guerilla’ rebels.These guerillas were mostly of common everyday Cuban citizens. On January 8, 1959, Fidel Castro Che Guevara, and the guerillas attacked the capital of Cuba, Havana. Castro succeeded in overthrowing Fulgencio Batista.
Fidel Castro officially declared himself ruler in 1959. Over the years and throughout his reign Castro’s Cuba Depended and relied mainly of the Soviet Union to keep itself up. Cuba became completely dependent in the Soviet Union in most every aspect in order for it to thrive economically and militarily. With the rebellion and uprising of Castro and his success in taking control, Cuba became the first communists government in the Western hemisphere.
Which served to increase tension with the U.S.In fact his entire regime was a mix of Marxist, Leninist, and communist. Castro did a lot of good to his government. For example, “He reduced illiteracy, got rid of racism, and improved public health care,” according to a resource website “The Cuban Missile Crisis 1962.” He did, however control economic and political freedoms of the people.
He limited their freedoms. With the growing relationship between The Soviet Union (USSR) and Cuba the tensions increased with the United States. By 1961 the USSR was tensed for fear that the US would invade Cuba and overthrow Fidel Castro. Nikita Khrushchev, the leader of the USSR was determined to convert Cuba into a Russian base. Seizing the opportunity, Nikita Khrushchev ordered for nuclear missiles to be placed in Cuba in 1962. The United States took the move as an indication of war. After Cuba took control of some American businesses America refused to trade with them. Then the US embargo was issued in February 7,1962 against Cuba.
During a routine surveillance flight, many Soviet IL-28 bombers as well as the construction of many missile sites in the late summer were discovered in Cuba. That same year on September 4, President John F. Kennedy issued an official warning to Cuba. Cuba ignored this warning and later, in another surveillance routine, “sites for medium-range and intermediate-range ballistic nuclear missiles (MRBMs and IRBMs)” were found under construction in Cuba, according to a government run website providing all kinds of archives, “Office of The Historian.
” Kennedy summoned his closest advisers to discuss all of the possible options and decide a course of action that the United States should take to resolve the growing crisis. Two options were laid before him; An airstrike to destroy the missiles, followed by a U.S. invasion of Cuba or perhaps continuing to give stern warnings to Cuba and the Soviet Union. The President at last decided upon something.
. On October 22, he ordered a naval “quarantine” of Cuba. The use of “quarantine” legally distinguished this action from a blockade, which assumed a state of war existed; the use of “quarantine” instead of “blockade” also enabled the United States to receive the support of the Organization of American States. Which proved to be both useful and convenient. On that exact day, Kennedy sent a message to Khrushchev announcing that the United States would not and could not allow such offensive weapons to be placed in Cuba, and demanded that the “Soviets” dismantle the missile bases already under construction or completed, and return every one of the weapons to the U.S.
S.R. That letter, of course, was the first amongst a series of direct and indirect communications between the White House and the Kremlin until the crisis came to an end.
Kennedy also went on national television to inform the public of the developments in Cuba, his decision to initiate and enforce a “quarantine,” and the global consequences or effects if the crisis continued to escalate. The Joint Chiefs of Staff announced a military readiness status of DEFCON 3 as U.S. naval forces began implementation of the quarantine and plans accelerated for a military strike on Cuba. On October 24, Khrushchev came back at Kennedy’s message with a bold statement that the U.
S. “blockade” was an “act of aggression” and that Soviet ships destined for Cuba would be ordered to advance regardless of these warnings. During October 24 and 25, some ships returned from the quarantine line; others were stopped by U.S.
naval forces, but they contained no potentially dangerous weapons and were permitted to continue. According to, “Office of the Historian” however, the “U.S.
reconnaissance flights over Cuba indicated the Soviet missile sites were nearing operational readiness”. With no apparent resolution to the problem in sight, U.S. forces were placed at DEFCON 2—meaning war involving the Strategic Air Command was nearing. On October 26, Kennedy let his advisors know that it seemed that only a U.S. attack on Cuba alone could remove the missiles.
However he continued to insist on giving the diplomatic channel a little more time. The crisis had reached a seemingly temporary pause. Shockingly, however, the crisis took a quite a dramatic turn that evening.
ABC News correspondent John Scali reported to the White House that he had been approached by a Soviet agent suggesting that an agreement could be reached. In this agreement Soviets would remove their missiles from Cuba only if the United States agreed not to invade the Cuba. Khrushchev also sent the president a message on October 26.According to, “The Historian’s Office,” ” It was a long, emotional message that raised the specter of nuclear holocaust, and presented a proposed resolution that remarkably resembled what Scali reported earlier that day.” Many U.S.
experts were convinced the message from Khrushchev was authentic. However, aspirations for a resolution was short-lived. The following day,on October 27, Khrushchev sent another message indicating that any deal must also include the removal of U.S. Jupiter missiles from Turkey. Which very little officials were aware of at the time.
That same day a U.S. U–2 reconnaissance jet was shot down over Cuba, killing the seven passengers aboard. Kennedy and his advisors readied themselves for an assault on Cuba within days.
Meanwhile, they continued to search for any remaining diplomatic resolution. It was at last decided that Kennedy would ignore the second Khrushchev message and respond to the first one. Steps for the extraction of Soviet missiles from Cuba (under supervision of the United Nations), were taken. A guarantee that the United States would not attack Cuba was also given.
It was a risky move to ignore the second Khrushchev message. Attorney General Robert Kennedy met secretly afterwards with Soviet Ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Dobrynin, and established that the United States was planning to remove the Jupiter missiles from Turkey. The next morning, on October 28, Khrushchev announced a public statement that Soviet missiles would be dismantled and removed from Cuba completely. . The crisis was over. However, the naval quarantine remained in in process until the Soviets agreed to remove their IL–28 bombers from Cuba .
It wasn’t until November 20, 1962, that the United States ended its quarantine. United States Jupiter missiles were also removed from Turkey in April 1963. The crisis helped alleviate negative world opinion regarding the failed Bay of Pigs invasion. After the compromise, both superpowers began to reconsider the nuclear arms race and took the first steps in agreeing to a nuclear Test Ban Treaty. The nuclear missile crisis was a huge problem at the time. In fact, the CIA had estimated some 6,000 to 8,000 Soviet troops were transported to Cuba when in reality the number was more than 40,000 Soviet men in October 20, 1962. Even after the compromise the USSR had not taken all of nuclear arsenal from Cuba until December 1, 1962 after determining that Castro could not be trusted with the weapons. This entire crisis rose and deflated all in a matter of 13 days.
The United States, however, remained in high alert for about three more weeks after the compromise. The interesting thing is that both sides compromised. Quite shockingly it was the Soviet Union who took the courage and propose a compromise. Throughout this entire conflict there remained a want from both sides to compromise.
I believe that in the hearts of these officials no wanted war. So of the greatest superpowers at the time who ultimately knew that entering war meant even more disaster for themselves and the rest of the world. They seeked to understand each other and their intentions until at last they came to an agreement. They still hated each other, inclusive, up until this day we continue to have each other as potential top dangerous enemies. The lesson learned here is that they ultimately benefits their people and the rest of the world by not entering a war. Even though they hated eachother ( U.S.
and USSR) they thought of the people. A great nation is not one who can wage random, unnecessary, wars nor one who can simply wage them but rather one who can avoid them. A great leader of his country is one who can find the solution and benefit both the enemy and themselves, those involved directly or indirectly and maintain peace throughout. That is the greatest show of power and great country can demonstrate one that can stop wars from happening.
I believe that this is an important lesson to everyone and it is applicable to anything. Leaving aside all greed and selfishness and choosing to see what works out for both sides, regardless of whether one likes the other person or not, is highly respectable. Choosing peace over strive. That is how the Compromise of the Cuban Missile Crisis came to be. Peace over conflict.