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The Cuban Missle Crisis According to Nikita Khrushchevs memoirs in May 1962 he conceived the idea of placing intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Cuba as a means of countering an emerging lead of the United States in developing and deploying strategic 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 After obtaining Fidel Castros approval the Soviet Union worked quickly and secretly to build missile installations in Cuba On October 16 President John Kennedy was shown reconnaissance photographs of Soviet missile installations under construction President Kennedy reviewed aerial photographs showing the Soviets were installing offensive missiles in Cuba Ordering daily reconnaissance flights over the island the President and his advisors met regularly to consider military options while he mustered diplomatic support around the world After seven days of guarded and intense debate in the United States administration during which Soviet diplomats denied that installations for offensive missiles were being built in Cuba President Kennedy in a televised address on October 22 announced the discovery of the installations and proclaimed that any nuclear missile attack from Cuba would be regarded as an attack by the Soviet Union and would be responded to accordingly He also imposed a naval quarantine on Cuba to prevent further Soviet shipments of offensive military weapons from arriving there During the crisis the two sides exchanged many letters and other communications both formal and back channel Khrushchev sent letters to Kennedy on October 23 and 24 indicating the deterrent nature of the missiles in Cuba and the peaceful intentions of the Soviet Union The Soviet government considers the violation of the freedom of navigation in international waters and air space to constitute an act of aggression propelling humankind into the abyss of a world nuclear-missile war Therefore the Soviet government cannot instruct captains of Soviet ships bound
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