During fourteen days in October of 1962 the world was the closest it has even been to nuclear warfare. The Cuban Missile Crisis culminated following several years of change in Cuba and the Soviet Union. For one, in 1959 the Cuban Revolution initialized Fidel Castro as the leader of the island nation. Castro was discontented with the United States holdings in Cuba and immediately began removing any strong holds the U.S. had there, as well as raising hostilities towards the U.S. amongst the Cuban people.
After American embargos were imposed on Cuban exports, Castro was put in the position of aligning with the Soviet Union and their communist views. American attempts to overthrow Castro had all but failed and only increased Castro’s want for protection and separation from the states. The Soviets were able to both offer that protection by placing nuclear warheads on the island and keep their own interests of beating the United States in the arms race.
Although the missiles were moved to Cuba in secrecy, and their assembly was to remain unknown to the U.S., rumors had spread to the United States press that the missiles were being prepared for use. President Kennedy sent U-2 spy planes over Cuba and pictures confirmed the building of nuclear warheads on the island that was only 90 miles from the mainland of the United States. Kennedy immediately pulled together his closest advisors in order to quickly come up with a plan that could deter the imminent crisis. It took a week for the president to decipher the best plan of action, he decided not to attack Cuba and engage nuclear warfare but instead to set up a blockade around Cuba and force Soviet ships away from the island.
The blockade worked and Soviet ships began turning around and returning to the USSR. The crisis officially ended when an agreement was reached between the United States and The Soviet Union that the Soviets would remove their missiles from Cuba if the United States would remove their missiles...