The Cuban Missile Crisis Essay

3106 words - 13 pages

The Cuban Missile Crisis was a major event in U.S History that almost led to nuclear destruction. It was over a period of thirteen days in which diplomats from the U.S and the Soviet Union were trying to reach a peaceful resolution so that they wouldn’t have to engage in physical warfare. The crisis was the hallmark of the Cold War era which lasted from the 1950’s to the late 1980’s. The Cold War was a power struggle between the U.S and Soviet Union in which the two nations had a massive arms race to become the strongest military force. The U.S considered Communism to be an opposing political entity, and therefore branded them as enemies. Khrushchev’s antagonistic view of Americans also played a big role in the conflict. The Cold War tensions, coupled with a political shift in Cuba eventually lead to the military struggle known as the Cuban Missile Crisis. The Cuban Missile Crisis was the point of most tension and near collapse causing the Cold War to almost shift from a passive and underground struggle to a violent and catastrophic one.
Both sides acted in various ways leading up to the Cuban Missile Crisis. They both tried to gain an indirect advantage over the other with an arms race that lasted over 40 years. The Soviets in particular spent billions in creating weapons with money that would’ve been better served improving their economy. Before Khrushchev was even in charge, Stalin ordered the construction of a laboratory which would eventually harness hundreds of tons of Uranium to be developed into explosives. In 1961, the Soviets detonated a massive hydrogen bomb known as the ‘Tsar Bomba’ for a trial. This was the most powerful explosive ever detonated by mankind, yielding a blast with the strength of 50-58 megatons of dynamite. This gives some insight into how destructive the Cold War had the potential to become. Other programs were ongoing at the time as well with the U.S overtaking the Soviet in their strategic-missile program and the Russians sending the satellite Sputnik-3 into orbit. The overall development of deadly weapons skyrocketed during this time period. The payloads to deliver these explosives also evolved, with the old B-29’s responsible for dropping terrors such as Little Boy and Fat Man now being overtaken by newer models in B-52’s.
During the Cold War, there was a political struggle going on in Cuba as well. The President of Cuba, Fulgencio Batista, was a close ally of the U.S. However, a young revolutionary by the name of Fidel Castro had his own ideas on how Cuba should be run. He led a radical group of socialists to overthrow Batista and become dictator of Cuba. This ties back to the United States as Castro proved to be an irritant, and eventually a very threatening enemy. To help expand his regime, Castro created an alliance with the Khrushchev which raised the attention of U.S intelligence services. This political shift in Cuba foreshadowed the problems that would soon arise. The CIA, anticipating that...

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