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The Cuban Missile Crisis

According to Nikita Khrushchev’s memoirs, in May 1962 he conceived the idea of placing intermediate range missiles in Cuba as a means of countering an emerging lead of the United States in developing and deploying missiles. He also presented the scheme as a means of protecting Cuba from another United States sponsored invasion, such as the failed attempt at the Bay of Pigs in 1961.

With Castro’s approval, the Soviet Union began building secret missile bases in Cuba. On October 16, President Kennedy was shown photographs of the missile installations in Cuba. On October 22, President Kennedy responded by televising an address stating the discovery of the weapons and that any attack coming from Cuba would be treated as an attack from the Soviet Union and would be treated accordingly. In addition, he imposed a naval blockade of Cuba to stop the construction of the sites.

On October 26, Khrushchev sent a letter to Kennedy suggesting that the sites would be dismantled if the United States gave its reassurance that it would not invade Cuba. Following on October 28, Khrushchev announced that the sites would be dismantled; as well as, the removal of light bombers. The United States agreed and responded by wanted the specific conditions of assurances for the United States not to invade Cuba.

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