The Cuban Missile Crisis: For some it's just part of a history lesson, for those of us who have lived long enough to remember the crisis, it was very real.
The history books don't really convey the tension that took place in October 1962 when the U.S. faced the threat of a nuclear attack after a U2 spy plane discovered the Soviet-made nuclear missiles hidden on farmland on the southern shore of Cuba.
It was 13 days of tension between two of the world's superpowers, the U.S. lead by a young John F. Kennedy and Soviet Union's leader Nikita Khrushchev.
Only 90 miles separated south Florida and Cuba. Kennedy announced to the world the discovery of the missiles and imposed a naval blockade to stop further shipments to the island.
Tensions grew stronger. Faced with attacking or accepting the Soviet missiles in Cuba Kennedy rejected those options and gave Khrushchev a three pronged option.
- U.S. would agree publicly not to invade Cuba if the U.S.S.R. would withdraw its missiles.
- Privately the U.S. told the U.S.S.R. that it would attack Cuba within 24 hours if the offer was rejected.
- Secretly the U.S. promised to withdraw its missiles from Turkey within six months.
The tense 13-day standoff was averted at the last minute when Khrushchev backed off his threat and accepted Kennedy's options.
If our U.S. leaders were faced with a "Cuban Missile Crisis" today, what do you think the results would be?