Cold War: Cuban Missile Crisis, Part 4

Walter Cronkrite recalls tension in the CBS newsroom during the height of the "missile crisis."  Terrified Americans went on grocery-store buying sprees.  Soviet citizens were likewise worried about a nuclear war.

Although Soviet ships were seemingly slowing down, it was too early to celebrate.  Then ... the President received a letter from the Soviet leader.  He had rejected all of JFK's proposals.

For the first time in its history, America's strategic air command moved to Defense Condition (DEFCON) 2.  The highest level - DEFCON 1 - would be war. 

On the 25th of October, 1962, the President ordered the Navy to intercept an oil-carrying Soviet ship.  Later that day, Adlai Stevenson confronted the Soviet ambassador in the United Nations, creating quite a scene.

Castro recalls that most of the nuclear missiles "were ready" by October 26th. 

Then President Kennedy received a telegram from the Soviet leader.  It looked like things were improving ... until the next day. 

On the 27th, Khrushchev wrote again:  The Soviets would only remove their missiles from Cuba if America would remove its missiles from Turkey.

Meanwhile ... an American U-2 plane, flying over Cuba, was hit by a surface-to-air (SAM) missile.  "The target was liquidated," and an American pilot was dead. 

"A war," says Castro, "appeared imminent." 

And ... if war broke out ... what then?  "We [that is, Cuba] will disappear from the map." 

In the event of an American first-strike against its island neighbor, Castro urged Khrushchev to respond with an "annihilating strike."

When the situation seemed most dire, Bobby Kennedy had "a brilliant idea."  He suggested that the President's advisors pick-out the parts of Khrushchev's cable with which they could agree ... and simply ignore the rest.

See, also:

Cold War: Cuban Missile Crisis, Part 1

Cold War: Cuban Missile Crisis, Part 2

Cold War: Cuban Missile Crisis, Part 3

Cold War: Cuban Missile Crisis, Part 5

Media Credits

From "Cold War," a 1998 TV series collaboratively created by the Turner Broadcasting System and the BBC, produced by Jeremy Isaacs.  The series originally aired on CNN (in America) and on BBC Two (in the U.K.).

This clip, about the Cuban Missile Crisis,  is from Episode 10, entitled "Cuba (1959–1962)."

Amazon.com describes "Cold War," as follows:

...This 8-volume, 24-episode series, narrated by Kenneth Branagh, is a comprehensive history that examines the key events of the arc of the Soviet Union, from its birth to its fall, and provides a thorough analysis of what was going on behind closed doors.

Informed by the stories of 500 eyewitnesses - from citizens and soldiers to historians and statesmen - and strengthened by painstaking reconstruction of archival historical film footage, CNN's Cold War is a heroic undertaking and a sweeping chronicle of the world's most fragile decades.


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"Cold War: Cuban Missile Crisis, Part 4" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Sep 22, 2018.
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