The Cuban Crisis of 1962: Selected Documents and Chronology

The Cuban Crisis of 1962: Selected Documents and Chronology

The Cuban Crisis of 1962: Selected Documents and Chronology

The Cuban Crisis of 1962: Selected Documents and Chronology

Excerpt

The Cuban Crisis of 1962 is but one in a long series of crises which has involved the United States and Cuba from the time of George Washington down to John Kennedy. These various Cuban crises manifest one or more of four recurrent and interdependent themes in the foreign policy of the United States throughout this long period. The first theme was the hegemony of the United States in the Western Hemisphere and was evidenced most popularly in the Monroe Doctrine. The second theme was the physical expansion of the country from ocean to ocean and bay to bay, which was rationalized in the messianic phrase of Manifest Destiny. A third theme of U.S. foreign policy was the acquisition and/or control of Cuba which reached its height in the Ostend Manifesto of 1854. The fourth theme of Yankee hemispheric policy was the construction and protection of an inter-oceanic canal, and was characterized by Teddy Roosevelt's overt declaration in 1911: "I took Panama."

The chronic crises between the United States and Spain over Cuba in the nineteenth century became known as the Cuban Question. The Cuban Question and the gradual dissolution of the Spanish Empire was to the Western Hemisphere what the Eastern Question and the slow disintegration of the Ottoman Empire was to the Eastern Hemisphere. As these two formerly great empires began to contract, they attracted the Great Powers of Europe which began to maneuver for position, power and prestige. Hcwever, here the analogy begins to break down, for if the Eastern Question acted like a "vortex pulling all the Great Powers in," the Cuban Question aroused inter-American aspirations for independence and U.S. foreign policy acted more like a centrifuge throwing the Great Powers out.

One of the first indications of this centrifugal force in American politics was George Washington Farewell Address in 1796. Although this statement has been variously construed, it is relatively clear that the spirit and intent of this message was to keep the United States disengaged from "permanent alliances" and European politics. Thomas Jefferson furthered this separateness through his Louisiana Purchase and his "non-transfer" principle of a colony in the Western Hemisphere from one European power to another. This general policy of the disengagement of American from European politics gradually grew and finally crystallized in the Monroe Doctrine.

The Monroe Doctrine was included in several passages of James Monroe . . .

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.