Cuban Missile Crisis

Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962, major cold war confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union. In response to the Bay of Pigs Invasion and other American actions against Cuba as well as to President Kennedy's build-up in Italy and Turkey of U.S. strategic nuclear forces with first-strike capability aimed at the Soviet Union, the USSR increased its support of Fidel Castro's Cuban regime. In the summer of 1962, Nikita Khrushchev secretly decided to install nuclear-armed ballistic missiles in Cuba. When U.S. reconnaissance flights revealed the clandestine construction of missile launching sites, President Kennedy publicly denounced (Oct. 22, 1962) the Soviet actions. He imposed a naval blockade on Cuba and declared that any missile launched from Cuba would warrant a full-scale retaliatory attack by the United States against the Soviet Union. On Oct. 24, Russian ships carrying missiles to Cuba turned back, and when Khrushchev agreed (Oct. 28) to withdraw the missiles and dismantle the missile sites, the crisis ended as suddenly as it had begun. The United States ended its blockade on Nov. 20, and by the end of the year the missiles and bombers were removed from Cuba. The United States, in return, pledged not to invade Cuba, and subsequently, in fulfillment of a secret agreement with Khrushchev, removed the ballistic missiles placed in Turkey.

See R. F. Kennedy, Thirteen Days (1969, repr. 1971); A. Chayes, The Cuban Missile Crisis (1974); R. Garthoff, Reflections on the Cuban Missile Crisis (1989); A. Fursenko and T. Naftali, One Hell of a Gamble (1997); E. R. May and P. D. Zelikow, ed., The Kennedy Tapes (1997); M. Frankel, High Noon in the Cold War (2004); M. Dobbs, One Minute to Midnight (2008); S. M. Stern, The Cuban Missile Crisis in American Memory (2012).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

The Cuban Missile Crisis: The Struggle over Policy
Roger Hilsman.
Praeger, 1996
Reflections on the Cuban Missile Crisis
Raymond L. Garthoff.
Brookings Institution, 1989 (Revised edition)
Constructing National Interests: The United States and the Cuban Missile Crisis
Jutta Weldes.
University of Minnesota Press, 1999
October Fury
Peter A. Huchthausen.
John Wiley & Sons, 2002
Talk at the Brink: Deliberation and Decision during the Cuban Missile Crisis
David R. Gibson.
Princeton University Press, 2012
The Cuban Crisis of 1962: Selected Documents and Chronology
David L. Larson.
Houghton Mifflin, 1963
After the Missiles of October: John F. Kennedy and Cuba, November 1962 to November 1963
Rabe, Stephen G.
Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 30, No. 4, December 2000
Kennedy's Wars: Berlin, Cuba, Laos, and Vietnam
Lawrence Freedman.
Oxford University Press, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Part III "Cuba"
We All Lost the Cold War
Richard Ned Lebow; Janice Gross Stein.
Princeton University Press, 1994
Librarian’s tip: Part One "The Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962"
What If They Gave a Crisis and Nobody Came? Interpreting International Crises
Ron Hirschbein.
Praeger Publishers, 1997
One Hell of a Gamble: Khrushchev, Castro, and Kennedy, 1958-1964
Aleksandr Fursenko; Timothy Naftali.
W. W. Norton, 1997
The Other Missiles of October: Eisenhower, Kennedy, and the Jupiters, 1957-1963
Philip Nash.
University of North Carolina Press, 1997
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 5 "Goddamn Dangerous: The Cuban Missile Crisis, October 1962" and Chap. 6 "A Very Tidy Job: Taking Them Out, 1962-1963"
Source Material: The 1997 Published Transcripts of the JFK Cuban Missile Crisis Tapes: Too Good to Be True?
Stern, Sheldon M.
Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 30, No. 3, September 2000
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