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Cuban missile crisis.

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Introduction

Cuban Missile Crisis Coursework 1. What can you learn from this source about President Kennedy's reaction to the photographs taken by the U-2 spy plane? This source tells us a good deal about Kennedy's reaction to the photographs, firstly because of the obvious urgency and importance of the photographs, as Kennedy calls his brother and adviser Robert at the earliest time possible, and requests his personal presence. This in itself demonstrates how important Kennedy believes the matter to be. Kennedy is obviously nervous about the situation, and was feeling extremely vulnerable as the missiles were so close (on Cuba) to the USA - 'he said that we were facing great trouble.' This shows how serious he believed the situation to be. He was also convinced that the Soviet Union was behind the missiles, and shows an obvious resentment and paranoia of the Russians. Kennedy is sure that something is going on; 'he was convinced that Russia was placing missiles and atomic weapons on Cuba.' He wants to resolve the situation as soon as possible and wants to start formulating a plan as soon as he can. This is why he calls his adviser so early. 2. Use the sources, and your own knowledge to explain why Kennedy decided to blockade Cuba. ...read more.

Middle

It does however explain some reasons for the crisis, primarily Cuban nuclear capability, and this is the general reason behind the crisis, so it does have some value. The second source is from the memoirs of Gromyko, the Soviet foreign minister at the time of the crisis. This was published in 1989. This is significant, as it is after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russian President Gorbachev followed a policy of Glasnost (openness) so therefore Gromyko could speak the truth without state intervention. He would not gain anything from lying about the affair, so it is likely that his evidence is correct. The source is from a conversation between Gromyko and Kennedy, Gromyko points out that the Americans have "conducted an unrestrained anti-Cuban propaganda campaign" and that "this course can lead to serious consequences for the whole of mankind." Kennedy comes back with a selfish, imperialistic remark about the present regime in Cuba not suiting the USA, and Gromyko asks the President why the Americans think they should be in control of Cuba for it is a free country. This source is fairly useful as it shows the political conflict of the two superpowers over Cuba. It gives as an insight into the American stance, a petty, controlling view. ...read more.

Conclusion

I think both sources are accurate in their information, but neither is accurate about who won, as there is no clear winner in this situation. Both sources show extreme bias in favour of the nationality of the author. Khrushchev's source in particular is very pro-soviet. He makes out that his side won without the slightest doubt and that his foreign policy was triumphant. He gives himself and his side a great deal of credit for 'winning' the crisis. This is not the case, Khrushchev himself backed down and his own country lost faith in him. The Americans also thought they had come out of the missile crisis victorious, this is shown in source F. As the historian points out, after the crisis the US removed all its missiles from Turkey and Italy, and so both sides were equal in the aftermath. The real winner after the crisis was the world itself. After coming so close to nuclear war, both sides became much more hesitant with regard to nuclear weapons and as a result treaties were signed, such as the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Missiles were removed from Cuba, Italy and Turkey, making the world a much safer place, especially for Americans and Russians. Superpower rivalry diminished after the Cuban confrontation and a hot line was established allowing US and Soviet leaders to communicate easily. The Cuban Missile Crisis left behind a much safer world. Beau Bulman ...read more.

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