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The closest the world has come to nuclear war was the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962 The Soviets had installed nuclear missiles in Cuba just 90 miles off the coast of the United States US armed forces were at their highest state of readiness Soviet field commanders in Cuba were authorized to use tactical nuclear weapons if invaded by the US The fate of millions literally hinged upon the ability of two men President John F Kennedy and Premier Nikita Khrushchev to reach a compromise In 1960 Soviet premier Nikita Krushchev launched plans to supply Cuba with ballistic missiles that would put the eastern United States within range of nuclear missile attack In 1962 US spy planes flying over Cuba spotted the first ballistic missile United States president John F Kennedy announced a naval blockade to prevent the arrival of more missiles He demanded that the USSR dismantle and remove the weapons and declared a quarantine zone around Cuba For several tense days Soviet vessels avoided the quarantine zone and Khrushchev and Kennedy communicated through diplomatic channels Khrushchev finally agreed to dismantle and remove the weapons from Cuba and offered the United States on-site inspection in return for a guarantee not to invade Cuba Kennedy accepted and halted the blockade However the question that is debated over the issue is whether or not JFK got lucky or if he was tactically smart and made the correct decision Many historians believe that President Kennedy played a dangerous game of brinksmanship in the Cuban Missile Crisis and we were just lucky that the Soviets shied down while others believe that the actions of the Soviets influenced and framed the Presidents decision However many others traditionally believe that JFK effectively defused the crisis by good diplomacy and executive decision making This last opinion on the matter is without question the correct viewpoint and is easily justifiable through substantial evidence Kennedy was a great leader and although
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