Why was there such a major crisis between the superpowers over Cuba in 1962?

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Introduction

Why was there such a major crisis between the superpowers over Cuba in 1962? When Fidel Castro overthrew the Cuban government he nationalised businesses in Cuba. Many of these were American. This angered the USA and provoked them to ban imports of Cuban sugar. As the USA would not buy the produce, Castro turned to the USSR to trade in return for oil and machinery. This made the alliance between Cuba and the USSR stronger.

Middle

When they arrived they were outnumbered and within three days were killed or arrested. The failure of this attack made the USA and especially Kennedy look vulnerable causing Khrushchev to believe that he could push Kennedy about. It also made Castro more popular. However, his failure at the Bay of Pigs made Kennedy more determined to stand up against the USSR in the future as he had been humiliated at both the Bay of Pigs and over the Berlin Wall.

Conclusion

From their position in Cuba, any major American city was in range, the USA felt threatened by this as they felt that the USSR were 'in their own back yard.' In 1962 the USA discovered the missile bases on Cuba after Khrushchev had denied that they were anything other than SAMs (Surface to Air missiles) for defence. An American U2 spy plane discovered the missile sites and prompted Kennedy to blockade Cuba and issue an Ultimatum to the USSR, that the missiles must be removed within 30 days. This began the Cuban Missile crisis of 1962, where the world came within 2 days of nuclear war.

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