Soviet Missiles in Cuba, 1962: President Kennedy's Evidence

Items #1 are the mobile launchers, #2 are fuel trucks
Items #1 are the mobile launchers, #2 are fuel trucks
#1 are Russian IL-28 aircraft that can deliver nuclear bombs, #2,3 are 18 IL-28s in crates waiting to be assembled
#1 are Russian IL-28 aircraft that can deliver nuclear bombs, #2,3 are 18 IL-28s in crates waiting to be assembled
Proof that Soviets were also building hardened silos for ballistic missiles that could reach LA.
Proof that Soviets were also building hardened silos for ballistic missiles that could reach LA.
A 20-something in 1962. Very typical of how men looked then. The Beatles arrival in 1964 would change how men looked forever.
A 20-something in 1962. Very typical of how men looked then. The Beatles arrival in 1964 would change how men looked forever.

Like President Bush did prior to invading Iraq to dismantle the Iraqi threat, where he presented evidence to the American people and United Nations, in 1962, President Kennedy did the same. Kennedy had got the support of nearly all nations in Latin America and South America before the U.S. Navy would blocade all vessels leaving and arriving in Cuba. The previous US disaster, the 1961, Bay of Pigs, had failed because the US would not be overt about providing military support to the few thousand Cuban-Americans who had tried to overthrow Castro.

President Kennedy presented the same evidence of Soviet missiles and aircraft in Cuba to the American people. Cuba, then, was a young Communist nation. A country that had been free until the late 1950's before Castro took control, and the cold war was at its height. Having Russian nuclear missiles only 90 miles from the US mainland simply was NOT permissible. The Russians had only the beginnings of missiles, building hard silos, and refurbishing obsolete airbases. For Kennedy, this situation had to be "nipped" in the bud. Many Americans were quite scared then and many built underground nuclear shelters and stored large amounts of food and water. It was no joking matter. This was real.

President Kennedy presented the main spy photos taken from high flying aircraft-over 30,000 feet of film. Spy satellites were still rather new then (America had barely got into space). Kennedy presented the evidence to the American people and it was broadcasted live across the nation. For those near a black and white TV (few color TVs existed then), the presentation of evidence was gripping. Few could refute the high resolution photos presented and what the US had to do next: blockade Cuba.

Kennedy's move saved the world from a nuclear war. Luckily, the Russian cargo ships carrying the missiles and bombs turned back before reaching the US Navy blockade. It could have easily gone in a totally different direction for up to now, the Soviets were not backing down.

More by this Author


Comments 5 comments

HSchneider 5 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

Excellent history and analysis. kennedy started off slow in his Soviet foreign policy but his handling of this crisis was masterful.


swordsbane profile image

swordsbane 5 years ago from Wisconsin

I can't agree with HSchneider. For a politician, JFK's handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis WAS masterful. For a human being of average intelligence and no agenda, it was a about average.

Of course, I don't have a high opinion of politicians in general. I will say this for Kennedy though: Of all his faults more than 50% were personal, not professional.


perrya profile image

perrya 5 years ago Author

Had Kennedy not been killed, he would have had a second term and America may not had gone to Vietnam in the big manner it did when Johnson took over.


swordsbane profile image

swordsbane 5 years ago from Wisconsin

But of course we'll never know, and Kennedy being killed isn't and example of how good a president he was.

In any case, Not going to war in Vietnam would have also been another example of outstanding political thought but only mediocre regular human being thought. It shouldn't take a great president to see that going into Vietnam with no plan and no public will was a BAD IDEA.

One could also make the case that without Vietnam, we may not have avoided at least two other quagmires that we did because we were afraid of how similar to Vietnam they were. Something had to be our "Vietnam" so that we would know how bad war can be. As I said, it's kind of a no-brainer for you and me, but politicians need the object lesson.


FGual profile image

FGual 5 years ago from USA

Perhaps masterful handling by Kennedy, but the Bay of Pigs flop caused it. By crapping out he let the Russians know that they could do turn Cuba into a Russian fortress and he would do nothing. For the next 50 years Castro would covertly train terrorists and ship them overseas while we did nothing, one of them was Chavez.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working