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The Cuban Missile Crisis The Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962 is the closest the world has ever come to nuclear war The Soviets had installed nuclear missile silos in Cuba just 90 miles off the coast of the United States US armed forces were put at their highest state of readiness Soviet field commanders in Cuba were authorized to use nuclear weapons if invaded by the US The fate of millions literally hinged on the ability of two men John F Kennedy and Premier Nikita Khrushchev to reach a compromise In 1962 the Soviet Union was desperately behind the United States in the arms race Soviet missiles were only powerful enough to be launched against Europe but US missiles were capable of striking the entire Soviet Union In late April 1962 Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev conceived the idea of placing intermediate-range missiles in Cuba Missiles in Cuba would double the soviet strategic arsenal and discourage a potential US attack against the Soviet Union For the US the crisis began on October 15 1962 when our planes spotted Soviet missile silos under construction President Kennedy formed a group of key advisors called EX-COMM We quarantined Cuba to stop delivery of more missiles Never before this incident was photo recconaisance as important The Cubans and Soviets were denying having missiles in Cuba US airplanes with special cameras documented they did exist President Kennedy had the Armed Forces on alert On October 22 Kennedy addressed the nation He told them the details US aircraft continuously watched the Cubans Kennedy announced that an attack by Cuba would be considered an attack by the Soviet Union All missiles had to be removed Readiness level was raised to DEFCON 2 and the quarantine line was pulled back on October 25th Khrushchev proposed removing the Soviet missiles if the US promised not to
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