Cuban Missile Crisis

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Andrew Taylor

Cuban Missile Crisis

1) You can learn a lot from this source about President Kennedy’s reaction to the photographs taken by the U-2 spy plane. We can infer from the source that he saw the missiles were a very bid threat to the country as he said to Robert Kennedy that they were facing great trouble. We can also infer that he was very worried and concerned about this as the meeting with Robert Kennedy was at 9 O’clock in the morning so it was the first thing on his agenda.

Also from this source it suggests that he jumped straight to the conclusion that it was the Soviets that were placing the missiles on Cuba. As he called Robert Kennedy and told him that it was the Soviets. This reaction shows the tension between the two superpowers of the USA and the USSR and the lack of trust that they had for each other. But we cannot be sure of this reaction, but the source itself doesn’t give other information explaining otherwise. We can also infer that the relations weren’t very trusting because of the U-2 spy planes being sent over Cuba, this also shows that Kennedy wasn’t comfortable with the fact that Cuba was communist.

We can also infer from this that Kennedy was also very concerned with the fact the Cuba was only 90 miles from the US, so this would also make him exceedingly worried about the situation, and since Cuba is only 90 miles away, and he expected the Soviets of placing the missiles would make Kennedy look even weaker. Especially as he was seen as being a young and inexperienced president by Khrushchev, and after his recent attack on the Bay of Pigs on Cuba to take the Communist Fidel Castro away from the leadership of Cuba had failed devastatingly.

2) There were a number of reasons why Kennedy decided that a blockade of   Cuba was appropriate. One of these was that Kennedy was extremely worried about the current situation in Cuba, and the fact it was only a matter of 90 miles away from the US mainland. This meant that a number of major US cities were in range of the short, and long range missiles. For example New Orleans, Dallas and Miami were in range for short-range missiles. Whilst New York, Washington and Chicago were in range of the long-range missiles. This meant that some action had to be taken. The blockade was a number of US ships circling Cuba and stopping and searching all Soviet ships that came into that space around Cuba.

There are a number of reasons why action had to be taken straight away. The shooting down of an American U-2 spy plane in 1960 over Soviet airspace just before the Paris Summit was seen as a victory for Khrushchev because Eisenhower lied about it and this could of given Khrushchev more self confidence. President Kennedy becoming President would also have given Khrushchev more confidence, as Kennedy was young and inexperienced. Also the continued and escalated arms race was seen as another boost for Khrushchev and the Soviets as they had announced the testing of a bomb 3,000 times bigger than the Hiroshima explosion. And by 1962 both superpowers were testing nuclear weapons, a climax to this was inevitable.

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Source B shows that there were a number of lines of action that the US government could of taken to try and resolve the crisis. They could of done nothing, and immediate air strike to destroy the nuclear bases, an all out invasion of Cuba, get the United Nations involved to intervene and negotiate or blockade Cuba. All these options had a major element of risk and they would either risk retaliation from the Soviets that would lead to war, or portray the US as weak. Except blockading Cuba, this would not solve the main problem of the missiles already ...

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