Crisi missilistica a Cuba nella Guerra fredda



1.5 (2)
Numero di pagine:5
Formato di file:.doc (Microsoft Word)
Download   Anteprima (Dimensione: 5.91 Kb)
trucheck.it_crisi-missilistica-a-cuba-nella-guerra-fredda.doc     27 Kb
readme.txt     59 Bytes


Francesca Cricelli
Pr. 8 Cold War

“The build up of missiles in Cuba in 1962 was a deliberate, provocative and unjustified action”. To what extent do you agree with this statement?

The Cuban missile crisis presented the most direct and acute Soviet -American confrontation; it portrayed the occasion on which the two sides have come closest to the brink of nuclear war. The build up of the armaments in Cuba in 1962 was carefully thought out in advance, an intentional Soviet plan. According to the American Orthodox point of view, it was extremely provocative and bellicose. For the first time the USA found not only a communist Island in their backyard, but one armed with nuclear weapons. The situation presented a threat to national security. At first, the problem wasn’t taken too seriously, the EX Comm members thought they were in full knowledge of the Soviet nuclear potentials. Both J.F.K. and Robert MacNamara (his secretary of defense) thought the missiles as much a political problem as a military thread. As the crisis developed and became public, panic took hold across the USA. In the revisionist Soviet retrospective the placement of missiles was to avoid a potential confrontation not to cause one. " When we put our ballistic missiles in Cuba, we had no desire to start a war, no the contrary, our principal aim was to deter America from starting a war”1. To a vast extent the Soviet reasons for the build up in Cuba were justified.
The Soviet Union had just begun to embrace relations with Cuba, a Communist state in Latin America would have served as an example to the other countries whose economy was on the way to prosperity but was still fully controlled by American imperialism. Even though Cuba was stationed 11,000 km away from Russia, Khrushchev knew he could not lose Cuba. He feared that by ignoring the uprising of Marxism-Leninism in Cuba, the Soviet image would have suffered a grave diminish throughout the world, but especially in Latin America. “ If Cuba fell, other Latin American countries would reject us”2. Khrushchev continued to consider a deliberate way to intervene with the American influence in Cuba. “We had to think up some way of confronting America with more than words. We had to establish a tangible and effective deterrent to American interference in the Caribbean”3. The Soviet main justification for placing missiles in Cuba was of defensive nature, the United States had already surrounded their country with bases and missiles. American missiles were aimed against the Soviet Union and placed in Turkey, Italy and U.K. Khrushchev acted deliberately, he had been planning on the build up since his visit to Bulgaria, he aimed to place the missiles in secret from the United States, for it to be discovered when it would be too “late to do anything about them”4. Khrushchev’s mistake was his grave miscalculation about J. F. Kennedy. The Soviet leader had disregarded the American ability of imposing their military superiority when challenged. “… He hoped to use his opponent’s weakness of character to change the balance of power”5. Kennedy’s lenient behavior at the Bay of Pigs, in Vienna and in response to the Berlin wall seemed to have pointed out certain feebleness, which to Khrushchev’s eyes was a sign of submission.
The Soviet Union wasn’t committing an illegal act by placing nuclear weapons in foreign ground. As much as the missiles caused an affront to the United States, they were in no sense illegal. The Americans themselves had surrounded Russia with nuclear bases on allied territory in Britain, Italy and Turkey. The Soviets were after “the balance of power”; they wanted an equalized amount of nuclear weapons distributed in strategic places around the world, including foreign ground. Khrushchev referred to the decision as “ doing nothing more than giving them a little of their own medicine”6, concluding that America would learn “what it fells like to have enemy missiles pointing at them”7. The first American reaction was to find the stationing of missiles discordant with the Soviet foreign policy, for Russia had never before placed nuclear missiles outside their own boarders; and overall suspicious. The Soviet nuclear possession was reasonably inferior to the Western one, however, by placing the ICBMs she owned in Cuba she would have created a profitable military leap, partially achieving the desired parity. The American response, maybe overreacted, was in a way justified. For the first time they were in a situation that if a war erupted, it would occur in their backyard. They were tangled in serious threat to national security.
Kennedy was left with five options: to do nothing , for America still had a greater nuclear power than the Soviet Union, but it would have portrayed too much weakness and recklessness. To proceed in an “Surgical air attack” , which would have been too much of a risk-taking and wouldn’t have guaranteed the complete destruction of the missiles sites. Thirdly to continue with diplomatic pressure, which would have been of no advantage, it could only supply the Soviets with more time to set up their missiles. Fourthly to invade by air and sea, but this plan would certainly provoke the Soviets to reattribute with an equally aggressive reaction maybe not in Cuba but in Berlin. The last option, the one that was put to practice was the “Quarantine”, a naval block aid designed by MacNamara in order to ban the Soviets on bringing any further military supply to Cuba. The American policy presented an offensive situation, it “violated every canon of international law and civilized bilateral behavior”8 by placing the block aid first at 800 mi. from Cuban shores and later at 500 mi. attempting to control any shipments originating from the Soviet Union. Kennedy was also under a great deal of pressure from the military whose main objective was to proceed with aggressive measures. Khrushchev saw the situation as if “ the Americans were trying to frighten us, but they were not less scared than we were of atomic war.”9 The crisis finally reached its peak on October 27th, the black Saturday, Khrushchev agreed on removing the weaponry under the circumstances that the U.S. would also remove the analogous weapons placed in Turkey.
In conclusion, the Soviet placement of the nuclear missiles in Cuba in 1962 was definitely deliberate, Khrushchev had planned ahead on attempting to create a certain parity of powers and had concluded that missiles in foreign ground was the best way to achieve it. It was provocative from an American perspective, Soviet control over Cuba had gone beyond influencing the Island and furthermore other nations, it had now become a site of enemy weaponry deposit. On the other hand, from a Soviet perspective, they weren’t acting any form illegally by placing nuclear weapons in Cuba, their action was well justified since the United States had nuclear bases in surrounding Russia. The crisis was to a certain extent provocative, having nuclear weapons placed in a neighboring country by an enemy power certainly created a threat to American security. Reaching the brink of nuclear war, the two most powerful nations of the world had been squared off against each other “each with its finger on the button”10. However in the aftermath both sides showed that the desire to avoid nuclear confrontation was stronger, and even under the heaviest pressure both sides arrived at a common compromise.

1 N.S. Krushchev, Krushchev Remembers
2 ibid. 493
3 ibid. 493
4 ibid. 493
5 Donald Kagan, The Causes of the Crisis (1995)
6 N.S. Krushchev, Krushchev Remembers, 495.
7 Ibid. 495
8 Ralph B. Levering The Cold War 89.
9 N.S. Krushchev, Krushchev Remembers, 496.
10 Ibid. 500.