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Cold War Primary Source assignment: To what extent was dtente a result of the events leading up to the Cuban Missile Crisis, in October 1962?

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P08254387 Mark Hardcastle Dr Kenneth Morrison Cold War Primary Source assignment: To what extent was d�tente a result of the events leading up to the Cuban Missile Crisis, in October 1962 Introduction: On the 17th of April 1961 the United States conducted an invasion upon Cuba by US trained Cuban exiles and despite the skirmish ultimately becoming a failure, it lay the foundation for the Cold War's most major flash point; the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962. It was the opportunity for the Soviet Union to stage nuclear warheads within striking distance of the United States, in response to the United States placing Jupiter IRBM's in Europe, Italy as well as in Turkey. Whilst there are many contributing factors towards d�tente, most of which are intertwined in one way or another, the Cuban missile crisis and the potential mutually assured destruction (MAD) that could have followed, is considered by some as the Key factor for the the super powers agreeing terms of mutual acceptance and relatively peaceful coexistence, D�tente. Through out this assignment I shall be assessing the impact the Cuban Missile Crisis and the events that culminated in the Cuban Missile crisis had on D�tente and the significant reduction in international tension between the superpowers throughout the 1960's. D�tente: D�tente is the easing of strained relations, politically and in terms of military force. Political Background: Prior to the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962, Cuba was still one the focal points of Cold war anxiety. Off the back of the Cuban revolution where Fidel Castro and his 26th of July Movement other throw Bastista, the US backed Cuban dictator. ...read more.


Furthermore the constant and high brow political pressure imposed upon both the United States and the Soviet Union to remove the missiles and or (for the United States) not to use them. In retrospect it is known that Kennedy was completely against any form of military invasion or assault, despite the recommendation from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, The US militaries leaders, who collectively agreed that an invasion upon Cuba was the best course of action. Speaking against this course of action, Kennedy stated: 'They, no more than we, can let these things go without doing something. They can't, after all their statements, permit us to take out their missiles, kill a lot of Russians and then do nothing. If they do not take action in Cuba, they certainly will in Cuba.' (Thirteen days: A memoir of the Cuban missile crisis) It was also believed at this juncture by some of the Joint Chiefs that the amount of warheads in possession of either nation could sway the balance, a notion, that Robert McNamara openly disagreed with, due to the fact the US already had 5,000 Warheads, whilst the USSR had 300. Blight, J And D, Welch- Intelligence and the Cuban missile crisis (1998) suggest that supporting the warheads in Cuba, there was also 42,000 Soviet soldiers: 'At least 42,000 soldiers along with machinery supported the warheads in Cuba.' Despite this, the strategic Air Command (SAC) as well as a mass of military units were placed on high alert to invade Cuba at short to no notice at all. ...read more.


(Getting MAD: Nuclear mutually assured destruction: Its origin and it's practices. D,Henry, 2000, p.18) Conclusion: In conclusion, I believe the influence the Cuban missile crisis had upon reforming policy and behaviour between the Super powers in the cold war is the first and foremost the reason for how we ever saw a period of d�tente. In kennedy's inaugural address, in 1963 Kennedy spoke out against Nuclear weapons and their uses: 'President Kennedy told Americans in June 1963, "For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal.' It's reasonable to suggest that to attain a period of D�tente, first there needed to be a period of anxiety. Richard A Faulk argues that in fact, too much nannying of the arms race and weapons control was in fact what ended D�tente: 'SALT II and the nato double-track decision served to help bring an end to the d�tente period.' 'The basic principles of D�tente, its basic fundamentals, the interest in war-prevention and a balanced, controlled amnesty.' (Richard A Faulk - The New d�tente- rethinking east-west relations 1989, p.66) With out a period of aniexty, tension and potential war, the fundamentals required to force through an agreed period of d�tente are not there, therefore, without the Cuban missile crisis and one of the super powers hands being forced, it's arguable that the practice test ban and subsequent policy changes required that ushered in the period D�tente wouldn't have happened and if they did, most probably not in the medium term future. ...read more.

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