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Unformatted text preview: Adam Petrone PSC 003 – 10 Professor David Quinn MW 9:35-10:50 What were the causes of the Cuban Missile Crisis? The Cuban Missile Crisis was one of the most pivotal time periods of the 20 th century. The Soviet Union’s fears which inspired the decision for the communists to position missiles in Cuba “can be broken down into two categories: 1) Soviet insecurity, and 2) the fear of losing Cuba in an invasion”. (library.thinkquest.org) The conditions that led to this action are most intriguing and deserve careful consideration through the lenses of realism and liberalism. The causes of the Cuban Missile Crisis are best explained through the international relations theory of liberalism where states are not unitary actors with a single set of coherent interests. Security received the highest priority when Cuba elected to allow the Russians to place nuclear missile installations on its soil based the fear of an American invasion of Cuba. Realism offers a valid case where the Soviets acted to defend their power, as states are the primary actors, acting rationally and strategically with the principal goal of survival. The Cold War, “the shifting struggle for power and prestige between the Western powers and the Communist bloc from the end of World War II until 1989 was of worldwide proportions. The conflict was tacit in the ideological differences between communism and capitalist democracy.” (Columbia Encyclopedia) In October of 1962, the Cold War peaked and the world came as close to nuclear war as it has ever been. The tension between the primary players in the conflict, the United States and the Soviet Union, reached its fruition on October 16, 1962. President John F. Kennedy was made aware of “U.S. aerial reconnaissance pictures showing about forty offensive nuclear missiles being installed and manned in Cuba by Soviet technicians. These missiles had an effective range of a little more than two thousand miles and threatened much of America.” (novaonline.nv.cc.va.us) Kennedy aide and historian Arthur Schlesinger believes "this was not only the most dangerous moment of the Cold War; it was the most dangerous moment in human history.” (nuclearfiles.org) The ensuing thirteen days served as a test of leadership for both President...
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This note was uploaded on 04/28/2008 for the course PSC 003 taught by Professor Quinn during the Spring '06 term at GWU.
- Spring '06