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    Default Cuban Missile Crisis

    Thirteen days in October 1962 that scared America.



    Erratic Castro upset Soviet missile plan


    • From: AP
    • October 13, 2012 12:00AM



    A Sopka missile deployed during the missile crisis of 1962 is displayed at Morro Cabana complex, in Havana. Picture: AFP Source: AFP



    FIFTY years after the Cuban missile crisis, a new book says the Soviets had secretly planned to leave 100 nuclear missiles in Cuba but changed their mind because of Fidel Castro's erratic behaviour.




    CIA documents also being released half a century after the Cold War drama shine a light on the tense two weeks in which the two superpowers came close to nuclear war.


    In late 1962, Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev ordered a secret deployment of nuclear missiles in Cuba that were soon detected by US spy planes. On October 16 that year, US president John F. Kennedy was briefed on photographic proof of the missile sites being developed.


    US officials determined that the medium-range missiles would be able to reach key sites within 1600km of Cuba in minutes. Soon after, they learned of longer-range missiles that could reach most of the US.


    Kennedy's team agreed the missiles would not be tolerated. The ensuing standoff with Khrushchev over 13 days became "the most dangerous moments the world has ever faced, either before or since - the closest we came to nuclear destruction", according to historian and author Michael Dobbs, who helped preview a new US National Archives exhibit, To the Brink: JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis.









    Documents in the exhibition show the Kremlin had been rattled by Castro's temper, says a new book The Soviet-Cuban Missile Crisis, by Svetlana Savranskaya, and Sergo Mikoyan, late son of the then Soviet deputy foreign minister, Anastas Mikoyan.


    Minutes of a meeting with Anastas Mikoyan show Castro was furious at the Soviet Union ending the crisis by agreeing to remove its strategic missiles.


    Unknown to Washington, the Soviets had left 100 tactical nuclear weapons in Cuba, and documents suggest they planned to train Cubans how to use them.


    But Mikoyan was so concerned at Castro's erratic behaviour during a diplomatic visit that he wrote back to Moscow that they must urgently take back the remaining bombs.


    "What do you think we are?" an emotional Castro asked during a four-hour November 22 meeting when he learned of the Soviet decision. "A zero on the Left? A dirty rag? We tried to help the Soviet Union to get out of a difficult situation."


    Mikoyan was driven to cite a non-existent Soviet law banning the transfer of tactical nuclear weapons to other countries. "And when are you going to repeal that law?" Castro asked. "We will see," Mikoyan said.


    Commenting on the material in the US exhibition, Dobbs said yesterday that both Kennedy and Khrushchev had made mistakes leading up to the crisis.

    Khrushchev had gambled by deploying nuclear weapons so far from the Soviet Union on the US doorstep. And Kennedy fumbled his first major foreign policy crisis at the Bay of Pigs with the failed effort to topple Castro. Furthermore, the Kennedy administration's campaign to overthrow Castro, called Operation Mongoose, triggered a dramatic Soviet reaction.


    Khrushchev is described in CIA documents as "an obtuse, rough-talking man" but shrewd and having "a touch of a gambler's instinct".


    "You don't really have to be an expert or Cold War historian to grasp the stark human drama that this story really is," said Stacey Bredhoff, organiser of the exhibition.


    "One of the things that struck me ... was the extent to which (Kennedy) didn't really know and didn't fully control what was happening," said Dobbs. "He didn't know that the Soviet Union had 42,000 troops on Cuba, ready to resist an American invasion."


    A CIA document outlines plans to assassinate Castro, including a 1964 plot with mafia connections. The mob and "patriotic Cuban exiles" settled on a payment of $US100,000 for assassinating Castro, $US20,000 for his brother Raul and $US20,000 for Che Guevara, plus $US2500 for expenses.
    AP
    Last edited by American Patriot; October 12th, 2012 at 13:56.
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    Default Re: Cuban Missile Crisis

    Cuban Missile Crisis: U-2 flight that nearly sparked war

    By Mathieu Rabechault (AFP) – 1 hour ago

    WASHINGTON — At 9:09 am on October 27, 1962, Major Rudolf Anderson climbed into the cockpit of his U-2 spy plane for a flight that nearly triggered a nuclear apocalypse.

    Five days earlier, president John F. Kennedy had revealed evidence that the Soviets had deployed nuclear missiles in Cuba, setting off a harrowing war of nerves that threatened to push the world into nuclear armageddon.

    But by the morning of Anderson's mission, a way out of the crisis appeared to emerge after Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev floated a secret proposal to withdraw the missiles in return for an American promise not to invade Cuba.

    It was the fifth mission over Cuba for the 35-year-old Anderson, decorated as a pilot in the Korean War. Only 13 days earlier, another U-2 detected Soviet ballistic missiles on the island, setting off alarm in Washington.

    After taking off from a base in Orlando, Florida and reaching an altitude of 72,000 feet (22,000 meters), Anderson was tasked with using the U-2's high-powered cameras to photograph Cuban and Soviet deployments near the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay. He was also ordered to "probe" Soviet air defenses.

    The Soviets had set up 24 sites across Cuba with V-75 surface-to-air missiles, the same defenses that had brought down a U-2 plane flown by Francis Gary Powers over the Soviet Union in 1960.

    Unlike previous days, the Soviets switched on their air defense radars, after being pushed by Fidel Castro the day before to stand ready for a potential American attack.

    The fiery Cuban leader was convinced a US invasion was imminent and was fed up with American reconnaissance aircraft violating Cuban air space, according to Michael Dobbs in his chronicle of the Cuban missile crisis "One Minute to Midnight."

    Soviet General Stepan Grechko, in charge of Soviet air defenses in Cuba, worried the Americans would have photos showing the secret locations of tactical nuclear missiles near the Guantanamo base.

    "Our guest has been up there for over an hour," Grechko told his superior. "I think we should give the order to shoot it down, as it is discovering our positions in depth."

    At 11:16 am, the general issued the order: "Destroy Target 33."

    Three minutes later, two V-75 missiles slammed into the U-2 plane near Banes in the north of the island. A section of the charred fuselage, containing Anderson's body, was later found in a sugarcane field.

    In Washington, the outlook had turned increasingly bleak: Krushchev had come up with a new proposal, issued publicly this time, to pull out missiles from Cuba in exchange for American missiles stationed in Turkey.

    Kennedy was meeting with his top advisers and debating how to respond to Moscow when he was informed at 2:03 pm that Anderson's U-2 plane, serial number 56-6676, had not returned from its mission over Cuba.

    The situation was all the more alarming as 20 minutes earlier, another U-2 aircraft had gone missing after heading to the North Pole. The plane strayed into Soviet air space, and six Soviet MiG-21 fighters were in pursuit, according to documents uncovered by Dobbs.

    Disturbed by the news, the president told his advisers the shootdown over Cuba was an apparent "escalation" by Moscow.

    His hawkish assistant defense secretary, Paul Nitze, called it an opening salvo. "They've fired the first shot," he said.

    After learning of the downed plane, top military generals, who stood ready to order an invasion of Cuba, proposed retaliating by bombing the island's air defenses.

    In Moscow, it was nighttime when Khrushchev learned of the U-2 plane shot down over Cuba. He speculated whether his American counterpart would be able to "stomach the humiliation" of losing the aircraft.

    Although he had authorized commanders in Cuba to fight back in self-defense, Khrushchev never ordered attacks on unarmed reconnaissance planes.

    The two sides sensed they were approaching a point of no return.

    At 8:00 pm, Robert Kennedy, the president's brother, met with Soviet ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin. They managed to work out a compromise, and the crisis was resolved.

    After 13 days on the brink, Anderson remained the only victim of the Cuban missile crisis.
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    Default Re: Cuban Missile Crisis

    50th Anniversary of Cuban Missile Crisis



    Cuban Crisis, missile range




    Andre de Nesnera
    October 10, 2012

    WASHINGTON — On October 14th, 1962, pictures taken by an American U-2 spy plane revealed the presence of Soviet nuclear weapons in Cuba.

    Graham Allison, an expert on the Cuban Missile Crisis, said there were two types of missiles. “One were medium-range ballistic missiles, which could deliver a nuclear warhead at D.C. [District of Columbia],” he said. “And there were intermediate-range nuclear missiles that could deliver warheads as far as Omaha, [Nebraska], where the Strategic Air Command [was located]. So these covered two-thirds of the United States.”

    Allison said the discovery was made by what he called “a magical intelligence capability”. “That an airplane, the U-2, could fly at over 60,000 feet, nobody would know that it was there, over territory, and then with this amazing camera take pictures that gave you details of what was happening on the ground - this was just unimaginable for most people. It was a great American intelligence success because the missiles were discovered before they were operational,” said Allison.

    Kennedy Discusses Options

    President John F. Kennedy then convened a small group of experts to decide what course of action to take. The group deliberated in secret for most of a week. Initially, the experts favored air strikes followed by an invasion, but they felt that would inevitably lead to nuclear war.

    Allison said they knew that Soviet-leader Nikita Khrushchev would respond in some forceful way. “So they think he is going to attack U.S. missiles in Turkey - we had missiles there that looked almost exactly like the missiles they were putting in Cuba. And then when they attacked the missiles in Turkey, which were nuclear-warhead armed missiles designed to fire against the Soviet Union, we would obviously have to respond against the Soviet Union,” he said. “So that could have been another path to nuclear war, which was the reason why they rejected that option after they thought about it for a while and chose instead a naval blockade of Cuba.”

    Kennedy Opts for Naval Blockade

    President Kennedy made the announcement during a televised speech to the nation on October 22nd, 1962. He warned the Soviet leadership, saying, “It shall be the policy of this nation to regard any nuclear missile launched from Cuba against any nation in the Western Hemisphere as an attack by the Soviet Union on the United States, requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union.”

    Two days later, Soviet ships approached the quarantine line and stopped. Secretary of State Dean Rusk was quoted as saying: “We were eyeball to eyeball and the other fellow just blinked.”

    Sergei Khrushchev, son of the Soviet leader, was 27 at the time. He said he remembers his father as being calm throughout the crisis. "He was not panicking. He thought that one of the most important things was not allow to make the first shot,” Khrushchev said. “Because after the first shot, there will be no negotiation and everything would be in the hands of the military who behave in a very different way. And I think President Kennedy had the same idea, to avoid the first shot, because before this you can bargain, after that - you will die."

    Khrushchev said his father and President Kennedy were adversaries, but they negotiated with each other.

    While the naval quarantine of Cuba worked, tensions rose as Moscow continued to make operational the missiles already in Cuba.

    Differing Messages from Khrushchev

    On October 26th, 1962, `Kennedy received a message from Khrushchev, offering to withdraw the missiles from Cuba, in exchange for assurances that Washington would neither invade that country nor overthrow Fidel Castro.

    Before replying, President Kennedy received - the next day - another letter from Khrushchev. This time the offer was worse: the U.S. must withdraw its missiles from Turkey as a price for Moscow withdrawing its missiles from Cuba.

    Graham Allison said Kennedy and his staff decided to ignore the second letter and agreed to incorporate the contents of the first letter in a new proposal.

    U.S. Proposal

    “And the proposal consists of three components. One is a public deal - and the public deal is basically what the first letter proposed, which is you withdraw the missiles and I will guarantee that we will not invade Cuba or attack Cuba. There is a private ultimatum, and it says we need a response within the next 24 hours or else we are going to act,” said Allison. “And there is a third component - which I call a ‘secret sweetener’ - which says we are not prepared to do a deal with you for the missiles in Turkey. But I’ll just tell you as a fact, if the missiles are withdrawn from Cuba, within six months, there will not be any missiles in Turkey.”

    On October 28th, Nikita Khrushchev announced on Radio Moscow the Soviet Union had accepted the American offer and would withdraw its missiles from Cuba.

    Blow to Moscow's Prestige?

    Sergei Khrushchev said some people saw this as a blow to Moscow’s prestige. “In each bargaining, you have decisions that satisfied you as much as possible and in each case you have the people who will not be satisfied with the thing [decision],” said Khrushchev. “It was in the United States and it was in the Soviet Union too. Especially on our side, there were the Chinese who just hated this feeling, they told us you are scared, you surrendered to the Americans, you have to start the war. All the time, it is those people who are standing aside and they want the other people to start the war.”

    By mid-November 1962, all Soviet missiles were out of Cuba. And by next April - as per their secret deal - all U.S. missiles in Turkey were removed.
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    Default Re: Cuban Missile Crisis

    October Marks 50th Anniversary of Cuban Missile Crisis


    President John F. Kennedy reports to nation on Cuban missile crisis Nov. 2, 1962


    Andre de Nesnera
    October 09, 2012



    WASHINGTON — This month marks the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, a confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. Historians say there were several key events that led to the decision by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev to station nuclear missiles in Cuba in October 1962.

    In January 1961 John F. Kennedy assumed office as president of the United States. One of his major foreign policy dilemmas was how to deal with Fidel Castro, a Cuban nationalist who in 1959 overthrew General Fulgencio Batista, the country’s American-backed president. Castro ultimately allied himself with the Soviet Union.

    In April 1961, Mr. Kennedy launched the Bay of Pigs invasion, an unsuccessful attempt by a CIA-trained force of Cuban exiles to overthrow Mr. Castro.



    ​​
    Moscow helps Cuba

    Sergei Khrushchev, son of the former Soviet leader, said Moscow had to help Fidel Castro.

    “The Soviet Union, as a superpower, has the obligation to defend all their allies and their clients, even risking nuclear war,” he said. “Soviet intelligence gathered information that Americans planned to invade Cuba sometime in autumn, maybe in October. And so through that period, Cuba became for the Soviet Union the same as West Berlin for the United States - small, useless piece of land deep inside hostile territory,” Khrushchev said.

    Graham Allison, author of a book on the Cuban Missile Crisis, said at that time, the Soviet Union had a huge advantage over the United States in terms of conventional troops in Europe.

    “The U.S. was committed to and determined to defend (West) Berlin at all means,” he said. “Khrushchev had been trying to ‘solve the problem’ of (West) Berlin by which he meant absorb it into the Soviet sphere. And the U.S., both under Eisenhower and under Kennedy, were determined that this was not going to happen and were prepared to risk nuclear war over it. So the Berlin developments were, in effect, a kind of twin to the Cuban missile crisis,” Allison said.

    Cuban Crisis, missile range


    ​​Moscow must defend allies

    Sergei Khrushchev saw the same potential outlook, but from the Soviet and Cuban sides.

    “If you will not defend it, even risking nuclear war,” he said, “you will lose face and your other allies will not trust you. And you know that the United States had plans to use nuclear weapons if Soviets tried to take control of West Berlin. So it was a very similar situation on both sides,” said Khrushchev.

    In June 1961, President Kennedy and Soviet leader Khrushchev held a summit meeting in Vienna, Austria. The issue of West Berlin dominated the session, but no progress was made. Many experts said Khrushchev came away believing the U.S. President was inexperienced and weak, and that might have contributed to the Soviet leader’s decision to station missiles in Cuba.

    Finally, many analysts, including Graham Allison, said Moscow had another motivation to help Castro. “From the perspective of Khrushchev and the Soviet Union,” Allison said, “this was their success story in the Western hemisphere and they were committed to try and keep it alive.” An effort, said experts that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war.
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    Default Re: Cuban Missile Crisis

    Holy crap, I can't believe that was 50 years ago. One half a century, I feel old.
    "Still waitin on the Judgement Day"

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    Default Re: Cuban Missile Crisis

    Luke...


    You ARE old. Just like me.

    /chuckles
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    Default Re: Cuban Missile Crisis

    old hardly exists...it-s a step before eternal.

    canto XXV Dante

    from purgatory, the lustful... "open your breast to the truth which follows and know that as soon as the articulations in the brain are perfected in the embryo, the first Mover turns to it, happy...."
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    Default Re: Cuban Missile Crisis

    Oh crap Sami, you mean this doesn't end?
    "Still waitin on the Judgement Day"

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    Default Re: Cuban Missile Crisis

    Quote Originally Posted by Luke View Post
    Oh crap Sami, you mean this doesn't end?

    Oh it ends, you just won't be there to see it.
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
    -- Theodore Roosevelt


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