Cuban Missile Crisis

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Cuban Missile Crisis,

1962, major cold warcold war,
term used to describe the shifting struggle for power and prestige between the Western powers and the Communist bloc from the end of World War II until 1989. Of worldwide proportions, the conflict was tacit in the ideological differences between communism and
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 confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union. In response to the Bay of Pigs InvasionBay of Pigs Invasion,
1961, an unsuccessful invasion of Cuba by Cuban exiles, supported by the U.S. government. On Apr. 17, 1961, an armed force of about 1,500 Cuban exiles landed in the Bahía de Cochinos (Bay of Pigs) on the south coast of Cuba.
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 and other American actions against Cuba as well as to President KennedyKennedy, John Fitzgerald,
1917–63, 35th President of the United States (1961–63), b. Brookline, Mass.; son of Joseph P. Kennedy. Early Life

While an undergraduate at Harvard (1936–40) he served briefly in London as secretary to his father, who was
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's build-up in Italy and Turkey of U.S. strategic nuclear forces with first-strike capability aimed at the Soviet Union, the USSR increased its support of Fidel CastroCastro, Fidel
(Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz) , 1926–2016, Cuban revolutionary, premier of Cuba (1959–76), president of the Council of State and of the Council of Ministers (1976–2008).
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's Cuban regime. In the summer of 1962, Nikita KhrushchevKhrushchev, Nikita Sergeyevich
, 1894–1971, Soviet Communist leader, premier of the USSR (1958–64), and first secretary of the Communist party of the Soviet Union (1953–64).
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 secretly decided to install nuclear-armed 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, in fulfillment of a secret agreement with Khrushchev, removed the ballistic missiles placed in Turkey.


See E. R. May and P. D. Zeilkow, The Kennedy Tapes: Inside the White House During the Cuban Missile Crisis (1997); 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); 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).

Cuban missile crisis

President Kennedy called Krushchev’s bluff, forcing dismantling of missile sites (1962). [Am. Hist.: Van Doren, 581–582]
See: Test
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