Cuban Missile Crisis - U-2 Photo Evidence

Major Richard Heyser flew a U-2 mission over Cuba during October of 1962.  Returning to base, he turned-in his film for processing.

What photograph-analysis experts saw shocked them. The USSR was installing ballistic missiles, capable of launching nuclear warheads, on the island just ninety miles south of Florida.

When President Kennedy was told about the missiles, he summoned his national security advisors.  Known as "Ex Comm," the group advised JFK ... and ... he secretly taped their discussions.

While American policy-makers debated what to do, much that was completely unknown to them was happening elsewhere.  Four Soviet submarines, for example, were traveling as fast as they could to reach Cuba. They were under orders to build a submarine base on the island.

Then ... evidence gathered from another U-2 flight revealed even more disturbing information.  The types of missiles, being assembled on the Caribbean island, were so powerful they could decimate much of the contiguous United States.

Soviet diplomats, however, assured President Kennedy there were no missiles in Cuba.  JFK never let on, during their White House meeting, that he knew otherwise.

The documentary is based on a book, with the same title, by Norman Polmar and John D. Gresham.  Of the bookPublishers Weekly states the following: 

Veteran military analysts Polmar (Spyplane, etc.) and Gresham (Seapower, etc.) distinguish their examination of the 1962 Cuban missile crisis from scores of other books on the subject by detailing how military maneuvers undertaken months in advance led to the tense showdown. 

The book's title ... comes from the acronym for Defense Condition Two, the United States' highest state of military alert short of war. The only time America went to DEFCON-2 during the Cold War was on October 22, 1962, the day that President Kennedy publicly denounced the Soviet Union's construction of missile launching sites in Cuba.

The authors, who interviewed Russian, American and Cuban military men who had leading roles in the showdown, provide new logistical information on how the Soviet Union moved a small nuclear arsenal to Cuba. They deftly meld accounts of what happened in the sea and air with descriptions of the political and intelligence operations in Washington and Moscow. Thoroughly researched and suspenseful, their book is an excellent choice for fans of Cold War history.

Media Credits

Clip from DEFCON-2: Standing on the Brink of Nuclear War During the Cuban Missile Crisis, a Discovery-Channel documentary (hosted by Tom Clancy) including interviews, historical footage and recreated scenes, produced to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Missile Crisis.  Copyright, Discovery Communications, all rights reserved.  Clip provided here as fair use for educational purposes and to acquaint new viewers with the program.

The documentary is based on a book, with the same title, by Norman Polmar and John D. Gresham.


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"Cuban Missile Crisis - U-2 Photo Evidence" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Aug 16, 2018.
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