An Example Essay on The Cuban Missile Crisis

Essay on The Cuban Missile Crisis

An Example Essay on The Cuban Missile Crisis

The Cold War refers to the state of political conflict between the democratic United States and the communist Soviet Union over opposing views of the economy and the government. Throughout the mid-1940s to early 1960s, there were multiple disagreements between communist and non-communist countries, including the Chinese Civil War, the Korean War, and the Berlin Airlift. These disagreements between the opposing economies were the catalyst for the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

The crisis was initiated when the Soviet Union secretly placed nuclear missiles in Cuba, within range of the United States and without American knowledge. This event was a catalyst for nuclear warfare between the United States and the Soviet Union due to the strategic placement of nuclear missiles by both sides, the practice of brinkmanship, and the ongoing tense negotiations and miscommunications between both countries.

One reason the Cuban Missile Crisis was a catalyst for probable nuclear warfare was because of the strategic placement of nuclear missiles by both the United States and the Soviet Union that were a threat to the opposing side. When the Soviet Union placed nuclear weapons in Cuba, the peace and security of the United States were at risk, as Cuba was only 90 miles from Florida. These missiles could travel great distances (Doc. C & G) and affected the security of countries across North America, Central America, and South America (Doc. A). The impact these nuclear weapons had on the United States was evident in President Kennedy’s speech, which referred to the weapons as a “sudden mass destruction” (Doc. B).

Kennedy wanted the missiles removed from Cuba, but Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev would not listen to Kennedy’s requests. This was because the United States had Jupiter missiles stationed in Turkey that threatened the Soviet Union (Doc. D). Overall, the placement of nuclear missiles by the United States and the Soviet Union close to the opposing side threatened the safety of both countries, all while heightening conflict between these two superpowers.

When the United States and the Soviet Union placed dangerous nuclear weapons within proximity of each other, they put each other on the edge of warfare. This was an example of brinkmanship or the political push of engaging in dangerous events in an attempt to gain an advantage in the end. When both countries learned about nuclear weapons, they responded with different reactions. The United States responded to the missiles in Cuba by constructing a quarantine around the island. In contrast, the Soviets responded to the missiles in Turkey by being dishonest toward the United States.

Khrushchev promised Kennedy that Soviet weapons would be eliminated from Cuba if the United States followed three requests. This included removing the blockade from around the island, not invading Cuba, and withdrawing American missiles from Turkey. However, Khrushchev never followed his promise and instead initiated the shooting of an American reconnaissance ship in Cuba by the Soviet military, which put the United States on the edge of warfare (Doc F). The decisions made by both countries to engage in dangerous events in hopes of being advantageous put them on the brink of nuclear war.

The push of dangerous actions by the United States and the Soviet Union was responsible for the ongoing tense negotiations and miscommunications between these two nations. Throughout this crisis, Kennedy and Khrushchev sent multiple letters back and forth that put their countries on the edge of nuclear war. One of these letters was a speech in which Kennedy discussed how the nuclear weapons in Cuba were a “threat to the peace and security of all Americans” (Doc. B). Although Kennedy found the missiles in Cuba dangerous to the United States, Khrushchev would not remove them from the island, as he “claimed” to be assisting Cuba. Khrushchev and Cuban leader, Fidel Castro, had just recently created an alliance (Doc. E), and both wanted to have the ability to retaliate against the United States.

This was evident in one of Khrushchev’s letters, where he threatened Kennedy with “dangerous consequences” if the United States invaded Cuban airspace (Doc. H). Following his warning, a United States reconnaissance plane was shot in Cuba, putting Americans on edge. The United States, a pacifistic and isolationistic country throughout World War I and World War II, now wanted to bomb Cuba due to ongoing frustrations with the Soviet Union (Doc. F). Fortunately, this never ended up happening, as the United States and the Soviet Union were eventually able to agree. The miscommunications and negotiations between the White House and the Kremlin helped shape controversy while putting these two countries on the brink of conflict.

The strategic placement of nuclear weapons on each other’s side, the practice of brinkmanship, and the ongoing tense negotiations and miscommunications between the United States and the Soviet Union were the catalysts that put these two countries on the edge of nuclear warfare. Missiles were stationed in Cuba and Turkey, which threatened the peace and security of the Americans and the Soviets. The placement of nuclear weapons and the many political decisions led to the brinkmanship practiced by the United States and the Soviet Union. The miscommunications and tense negotiations between Kennedy and Khrushchev brought about the unavoidable conflict. Although the United States and the Soviet Union never engaged in war, they were the closest that two countries had ever come to a nuclear conflict

 

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