Gray, Laura

Aerial view of missile launch site at San Cristobal, Cuba.

Aerial view of missile launch site at San Cristobal, Cuba.

The leader of Russia, Nikita Khrushchev, combined forces with the leader of Cuba, Fidel Castro, agreeing to put Soviet missiles along the coast of Cuba to prevent American forces from attacking(1). Tensions between Russian and America had been high up to this point; the US had a strained relationship with Cuba as well, especially after the Bay of Pigs fiasco. After an advising, President Kennedy of the US decided to block off the missile ports, and sent a letter asking Khrushchev to remove the weapons(3). Khrushchev refused, locking the forces in a non-violent battle of time. Tensions rose further due to this, until finally Kennedy made the Soviets an offer. He promised that if the missiles were removed from Cuba, American missiles would be removed from Turkey secretly, and that a public announcement swearing not to invade Cuba would be made (2). To make sure he would get a quick response, the President also swore to attack the island if there was no word within 24 hours. Khrushchev finally agreed, and the missiles were removed, averting the crisis(3).

A more global kind of social change occurred after the situation was resolved. The US tried to lessen Russia’s embarrassment from ‘losing’ the war, while keeping a grip on its own success. Other world powers took notice of how the US handled the aftermath of the situation diplomatically, earning the US much respect (2). The USSR, although more powerful due to the secret deal made with the US, was still annoyed by what appeared to be their defeat; they felt as though they were the true victors. Even with the missiles gone from Turkey, the USSR remained on not the best of terms with America. The US set up an information hotline so the leaders ccould immediately get in touch with each other, to prevent any other miscommunications from happening; during the crisis, they had been using letters – a poor messaging system for obvious reasons(3). This slightly improved the relationship between the countries, but they were not on solid ground just yet. Citizens on both sides grew fearful during the war as it was the closest the nations have ever come to using nuclear weapons; laws were quickly set up between the countries to prevent that kind of war from actually breaking out (2). Other types of arms were also given restrictions (1). It managed to partially ease the people, but anti-America and anti-Soviet feelings rose on the respective sides. It seemed as though, despite the many new measures and changes made to improve relations, there was actually more of a strain between the two nations.