The_Cuban_Missile_Crisis - The Unpredictable Past John...

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Th e Unpredictabl e Pas t John Swift examines the events that led the world to the brink of nuclear catastrophe. For 14 days in October 1962 the world stood on the brink of nuclear war. The Soviet Union had secretly stationed nuclear weapons on the island of Cuba, and when the government of the United States discovered them, and demanded their withdrawal, the most dangerous confrontation of the Cold War followed. A single miscalculation made either in the White House or the Kremlin could have precipitated catastrophe. How did this standoff arise? How did the Superpowers extricate themselves from it? Was anything learned from the crisis? Should any party be held more at fault than the other? The Cuban Revolution In January 1959, Fulgencio Batista, the brutal, American-backed Cuban dictator, was overthrown by the guerrilla army of Fidel Castro. Initially president Dwight D. Eisenhower's administration welcomed the Cuban revolution, for Batista had long been an embarrassing ally, and a friendly, democratic government in Cuba, addressing urgent social reform, would be far more stable and reliable. Yet such views did not last long. For America, Cuba provided a naval base at Guantanamo; it was an exotic, but conveniently close, tourist resort; and low paid Cuban labour made it an attractive investment area, much of the island's agriculture and industry being American-owned. Hence governments in Washington had never hesitated to intervene to protect American interests. The problem was that Castro could never tackle desperate problems of poverty, ill-health and illiteracy without harming US interests. Indeed to Castro, and to a large proportion of the Cuban people, American domination was a root cause of Cuba's problems, and it must be ended. Castro in fact articulated a Fidel Castro. The victim of American imperialism himself, he urged Khrushchev to adopt a firm line during the Missile Crisis. widespread revulsion against this humiliating position. The United States was deeply detested on the island. As American property was expropriated by the new government, Castro's defeated enemies were treated mercilessly and elections were postponed while Castro secured his grip on power. Yet as ever more vicious anti-American diatribes came from the new leader, his popularity in Cuba grew. In the United States, however, he became increasingly unacceptable. Eisenhower decided that Castro was a communist. Whether this was true then is debateable, but Castro was certainly to turn to communism in the face of US hostility
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A single miscalculation made either in the White House or the Kremlin could have precipitated catastrophe. and the CIA orchestrated sabotage
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This note was uploaded on 02/02/2012 for the course HIST 1001 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '08 term at MO St. Louis.

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The_Cuban_Missile_Crisis - The Unpredictable Past John...

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