Cuban Missile Crisis - THE AFTERMATH

THE AFTERMATH (Illustration) American Presidents Famous Historical Events Government Social Studies The Kennedys Russian Studies Cold War Law and Politics American History

After Kennedy and Khrushchev mutually agreed on their missile-withdrawal terms, the Soviets began removing their materials from Cuba. This image, online via the National Security Archive at George Washington University, depicts the removal-process in action. The photo has this description: "November 6, 1962: Soviet personnel and six missile transporters loading onto ship transport at Casilda port. (Note shadow at lower right of RF-101 [American] reconnaissance jet taking the photograph.)" Click on the image for a better view.


The story of the Cuban Missile Crisis has always focused on the test of wills between the two superpowers. But the battle - had it been fought - would have started in Cuba. What did Cubans think about what they call the "October Crisis?" What did Castro think?

In 1968, Castro gave a 12-hour secret speech to his Central Committee. The section on the missile dispute has recently been released. His comments on how the crisis ended are interesting:

We were profoundly incensed.

Within days of Khrushchev's October 28 radio broadcast, Deputy Premier Mikoyan tried to calm the Cuban leader. Explaining there had been very little time to encrypt a message, and get it to Castro, Mikoyan did his best to minimize the situation.

Castro (whose sister was secretly helping the CIA) was unimpressed. On November 3, he told Mikoyan:

And suddenly came the report of the American agency UPI that "the Soviet premier has given orders to Soviet personnel to dismantle missile launchers and return them to the USSR." Our people could not believe that report. It caused deep confusion.

The next year, during a visit with Khrushchev, Castro learned the real terms of the deal. The Soviet leader let it slip that missiles in Cuba had been exchanged for missiles in Turkey.

Cuba's leader must have then realized a profound point (had he not suspected it earlier).  The Soviet Union was not willing to put its own security and people at risk to protect a distant Caribbean island (no matter how closely aligned their political persuasions).

Within days after the Crisis had passed, American reconnaissance flights confirmed a major turn of events. The missiles were being dismantled. The launch sites were no longer under construction. By November 15, the San Julian airfield was no longer a place to assemble MiG 17s, 19s and IL-28s.

Castro endured one more humiliation. The United States convinced the Soviet Union to take back all its IL-28 bombers. Castro thought those planes were essential for his defense.

Soviet ships that had once secretly transported missiles to Cuba now freely displayed their cargo. Moscow had called the missiles home. Cuba was on her own.

On schedule, America removed the Jupiter missiles from Turkey. And, as planned, the Polaris missiles replaced the obsolete technology. By mid-November, the quarantine was over ... but ... the embargo lingers on.

Historians say the Kennedy Administration had its most-shining moment during the Cuban Missile Crisis. One year later, it endured its most agonizing moment - the assassination of America’s popular President.

Rumors still persist about a possible connection: Did JFK’s death have something to do with Cuba? And ... decades after the Missile Crisis, people of good faith wonder: Will there ever come a day when the United States and Cuba restore diplomatic relations?

World events have a strange way of turning on themselves. The Cuban Missile Crisis is a good example.

Earlier in 1962 (on February 20), a top-secret Administration document discussed a plan called Operation Mongoose. The United States, referred to as "military help from nations outside," would work with Cuban dissidents, referred to as people "from within" to overthrow Castro. The plan

aims for a revolt which can take place in Cuba by October 1962.

  • How curious that "military help from nations outside" came not from the United States but from the Soviet Union.
  • How ironic that the help came not to Cuban dissidents but to the Cuban leader himself.
  • And ... how interesting that it all happened in the very month predicted.

The Mongoose memo puts a different twist on an old adage: Be careful what you ask for. It just might happen in a way you don’t expect.

0 Question or Comment?
click to read or comment
2 Questions 2 Ponder
click to read and respond
0 It's Awesome!
vote for your favorite

Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5189stories and lessons created

Original Release: Apr 01, 2002

Updated Last Revision: Jan 11, 2016

To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"THE AFTERMATH" AwesomeStories.com. Apr 01, 2002. Dec 09, 2019.
Awesome Stories Silver or Gold Membership Required
Awesome Stories Silver or Gold Membership Required
Show tooltips