Kennedy handled the Cuban Missile Crisis better than Khrushchev did. How far do you agree with this statement? Explain your answer (10 marks)

Authors Avatar by ewilson922btinternetcom (student)

Wednesday 20th April 2016

0 Mark Question: The Cuban Missile Crisis

‘Kennedy handled the Cuban Missile Crisis better than Khrushchev did.’ How far do you agree with this statement? Explain your answer (10 marks)

The Cuban Missile Crisis was a 13-day confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union because of Soviet nuclear missile deployment in Cuba. The leaders of both nations handled the crisis with varying degrees of success.

In some ways, the American leader Kennedy can be seen to have handled the crisis better than Soviet leader Khrushchev. Kennedy was immediately seen by world opinion as the ‘victor’ in the Cuban missile crisis; he had stood up to the Soviets by enforcing the blockade and they had backed down by turning their ships around. On 28th October 1962, the missile sites then began to be dismantled. America had felt vulnerable with the Soviets having missiles based on a country within striking distance of many major cities, and thus the removal made the country feel safer. Part of the agreement also included the removal of American missiles from Turkey, however this was a secret to the public, and therefore can be seen as a success. Kennedy had also successfully stood up to some of his military advisors who wanted to invade Cuba. This could have caused nuclear conflict which would have had devastating world consequences, but Kennedy was calm under pressure and able to negotiate a more effective solution. This helped him to be recognised as a strong leader, which was important as many had doubted him after the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961.
Join now!

However, some believe Khrushchev handled the crisis better than his counterpart. Firstly, he had prevented an American invasion of Cuba, and had a guarantee that no further invasion attempts would take place. This meant that Castro remained in power, and Cuba remained a Communist ally for the Soviets so close to America. Also, Khrushchev was seen as a peacemaker because he had instigated the removal of missiles from Cuba; he was the first to make a move to compromise. On Friday 26 October, Khrushchev had sent a telegram to Kennedy offering to dismantle the sites if he lifted ...

This is a preview of the whole essay