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Why did the United States almost blow up the world over Soviet missiles in Cuba No event during the Cold War has generated more popular and scholarly attention than the Cuban missile crisis October 1962 was a time when the actions of the United States the Soviet Union and Cuba brought the world to the brink of the unthinkable nuclear holocaust Until late last decade the crisis historiography was built around the memoirs of former Kennedy administration officials Since 1987 the availability of previously classified materials in conjunction with a series of retrospective conferences which between 1987 and 1992 brought together former policy makers and scholars from the United States the Soviet Union and Cuba to reconstruct the perilous events of 1962 and re-evaluate why they happened In light of this new information it is possible to see just how close the world really was to nuclear holocaust It also sets the facts straight on a number of issues including Khruschevs motives for placing the missiles on Cuba a previously highly debated topic and clarifies the final solution that was agreed upon by both sides For the United States the crisis began on October 15 1962 when a reconnaissance photograph revealed Soviet missiles under construction in Cuba Early the next day President John Kennedy was informed of the missile installations Kennedy immediately organized the EX-COMM Executive Committee a group of his twelve most important advisors to handle the crisis After seven days of guarded and intense debate within the upper echelons of government Kennedy decided to impose a naval quarantine around Cuba He wished to prevent the arrival of more Soviet offensive weapons on the island On October 22 Kennedy announced the discovery of the missile installations to the public and his decision to quarantine the island He also proclaimed that any nuclear missile launched from Cuba would be regarded as an attack on the United States by the Soviet Union
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