Were contemporaries correct in regarding President Kennedy as the saviour of the Western World after the Cuban missile crisis?

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Were contemporaries correct in regarding President Kennedy as the saviour of the Western World after the Cuban missile crisis?

Between the years of 1945 and 1990 there was a period we now call the ‘Cold War’. This ‘war’ was between the two ‘Superpowers’ namely the USA and the USSR. These two countries were involved in various confrontations, very few of which were deadly. An atmosphere of tension and mistrust lay between them, as each country wanted power over the other, whether it is through weapons of mass destruction or through space travel.

        The two countries were involved in a ‘space race’ where each country tried to be the first into space, and on the moon. The USSR were successful in carrying the first man into space in 1961, but the USA were the first to carry man to the moon, some eight years later, in 1969.

        There was also a more deadly race between the two countries, called the ‘arms race’. This was a race to see who could produce the most destructive nuclear weapons.

        Both countries tried to keep an eye on each other by using a network of spies. One incident involving spies was in 1960 where an American pilot, Gary Powers, was caught taking aerial photographs of Russian military sites in a U2 spy plane. He was shot down and kept prisoner for two years. He was released in 1962 in return for the release of Russian spies over in the USA.

        Although some of these incidents drew the countries further and further apart, one incident, and probably the most dangerous and famous incident during the time of the cold war, was ‘The Cuban Missile Crisis’. This incident was the closest the world has ever come to a nuclear war.

        At this time, the USA and the USSR were developing nuclear weapons. The USA was experimenting with ‘Polaris missiles’. These were nuclear-powered submarines that could launch missiles from under-water. See source A2 (i). This source shows us that the two countries were in such a crisis, that the USSR president, Nikita Khrushchev was forced to start nuclear testing after an agreed suspension. This was due to the fact that the USSR did not have ‘Polaris missiles’. The American president, J. F. Kennedy, did the same not much after. The way that these weapons were transported also improved as shown in source A2 (ii). These nuclear-powered submarines were able to travel long distances at fast speeds, which made it more difficult to track. Loaded with ‘Polaris missiles’, it could set up an attack from anywhere underwater, making it both hard to trace, and deadly from any point in the ocean. Not only technological breakthroughs caused the start of the Cuban Missile Crisis, but the leaders of the two Superpowers, and the small country of Cuba helped this crisis to come alive.

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        Cuba is situated only ninety miles from the American mainland, and therefore the USA government always regarded to be in their ‘backyard’ Cuba had inhabited American companies such as Shell Oil and Texaco. The Cubans had relied on America to buy their sugar, as sugar had been Cuba’s greatest exports. The two countries had been very close, both geologically and politically, the Cuban leaders were very friendly towards the American Government.

        Before 1959 General Batista had governed Cuba as a military dictatorship. The American government had been very close to Batista as he had supported American ideas and had let ...

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