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Q12. Trace the development of Cuban Missile Crisis and how it resulted in strategic changes in Cold War?

Cuba served as a playground for rich Americans and suffered under the corrupt dictatorship of Juan Batista. In the 1950s Fidel Castro started a small movement that gradually grew into a full-fledged revolution and overthrew Batista in 1959.  When USA refused to recognize Castro’s regime, he formed closer ties with Russia. The U.S. responded by refusing to refine imported Soviet oil in its Cuban refineries, spurring Castro to nationalize those refineries.  When the U.S. put an embargo on all Cuban goods, Castro retaliated by nationalizing all American owned businesses in Cuba.  USA responded by launching air raids and supporting coup to overthrow Castro.  In 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion by US was successfully thwarted by Cubans and Soviets under Khrushchev convinced Castro to let him put medium and intermediate range missiles armed with nuclear warheads in Cuba putting most American cities were within range of Russian missiles.

An air strike against the Soviet missiles could trigger a third world war and nuclear holocaust. It decided on less provocative course of a naval blockade to stop more Soviet missiles from reaching Cuba. President Kennedy struck a deal with Khrushchev under which Russia removed the missiles in return for an American promise not to invade Cuba. Kennedy also agreed to remove American missiles from Turkey that posed a similar threat to Russia. The net result was that fewer missiles threatened Russia than before 1961 and no more missiles threatened the U.S.

The Cuban Missile Crisis was a major turning point in the Cold War.  Both sides clearly saw that they were very nearly close to a nuclear holocaust and worked harder to avoid such a scenario.  They installed the “Hot Line” to ensure better communications between the two sides and avoid unnecessary speculation.  In 1963, the two sides agreed to a ban on atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons. The two sides planted the seeds of some level of mutual trust that would form the basis of more substantial progress in the years to come.

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