The Cuban Missile Crisis: An International History


The Cuban missile crisis occurred in the year 1962 and this brought about the Cold War whereby the United States and the Soviet Union, who were the world superpowers introduced the nuclear war. The war began when Fidel Castro nationalized the American assets in Cuba after a long period of dictatorial rule. Then the US imposed trade restrictions against Cuba and thus the Soviet Union came to Cuba’s rescue through a collaboration. Once the US learned of the alignment of Cuba towards the Soviet Union, President John Kennedy planned to remove Castro from power by use of Cuban rebels. However Castro’s soldiers were stronger than the Cuban rebels and defeated them proving to be purely Anti-America (Laffey, Mark, and Jutta Weldes, 2008, p.567). This is the time when the Soviet Union through permission from Cuba, set up nuclear missiles in Cuba to face the American troops. This led to massive deaths ad destruction of property something which has gone down the books of history. There are so many lessons that can be learned from the Cuban missile crisis ranging from the containment to the essence of a strong Navy among many more occurrences. All the events that happened during the Cuban missile crisis are linked to historical, ideological and cultural influences which led to particular decision making by US, Cuba and USSR. The aim of this essay is to determine the roles of culture, ideologues and history in Cuban missile crisis and facilitate the understanding of the decision making process during the Cold War.

The Cuban missile Crisis

The Cuban crisis can be described as being the closest that the whole world has ever come to nuclear war. In this case, the Soviet Union had put the missiles in Cuba, which is approximately ninety miles of the United States’ coast. Back then, the president of America was John Kennedy while the president of Soviet Union was Nikita Khruchchev. It was thus upon the two countries to reach a compromise, else the results of this crisis were going to be fatal (Perry, William, 2017, p.43). The development of the Cuban crisis had stemmed up from an ideology that the Soviet Union had developed towards the US. In this sense, during the Cold war, there is a time that the two presidents had met to make discussions concerning the progress of the East and West. However, nothing significant has been agreed in this meeting and the Soviet Union president left the meeting thinking that John Kennedy was a weak leader. Moreover, the high interest of the Soviet Union towards support for Cuba was in order to enhance their superiority position globally. In this case, the president of the Soviet Union wanted to strike a balance of the missile gap between the Soviet Union and US so as to prevent the US from further gaining access to Cuba especially after the guerilla war. Thus, the installation of missiles in Cuba would protect the Cuban pride by preventing the US invasion. Previously, the US had installed Jupiter and Thor missiles in Turkey which were thought to be immediate and close range missiles that pointed towards the Soviet Union. Thus the installation of missiles in Cuba was a revenge so that the Soviet Union would have a better bargaining power for missile trade.

While President John Kennedy had agreed to remove the Jupiter missiles from Turkey, there was an indication that the Soviet Union president had hidden motives. It is believed that the Soviet Union wanted to test the preparedness nature of US towards future wars. It would also indicate the superior nature of Soviet Union especially to the Chinese governments and increase the popularity of this president at home especially in the communist bloc. Therefore the US president in October 1962, made a formal announcement that Cuba had missiles ready to attack the US and that these missiles were sourced from Soviet Union (Frankel, Max, 2018, p.85). Having created a quarantine as a form of protection, the USSR ships were blocked from entering Cuba. The USSR ships ferrying weapons were warned to turn back but they failed to do so although they never broke the US quarantine. This is an indication that there was going to be a serious historical confrontation between the two superpowers. There then followed a series of letters between the two head of States and finally the Soviet Union president promised to remove missiles from Cuba if the US removed missiles from Turkey. President John Kennedy, in these letters was also asked to make a public announcement that there would be no attacks on Cuba (Jervis, Robert, 2015, p.22). The US thus removed the Jupiter missiles from Turkey secretly and Soviet Union agreed to remove missiles from Cuba under the close supervision of the United Nations and the two nations thus resolved their differences. Therefore, this is an indication that the Cuban crisis was purely fueled by historical issues that had existed between the three nations since the times of the Cold War.

Between the three heads of States, the United States should be blamed for having caused all this crisis. This is because the US had promised to punish Cuba for having fought for their independence, where the US was controlling the economy and resources in Cuba. It is traced back in history that the animosity between Cuba and the US developed when Castro using the guerilla warfare overthrew the Batista government which was supported by the US. This made the US to develop plots to overthrow the Castro government. Having defeated the trained Cuban exiles who were financed by the US, other tactics were developed by the US to punish Cuba. Thus if the US would have been neutral and allow Cuba to govern its own politics, then this crisis would not have occurred. At the same time the US government deserves most credit for having ended the Cuban missile crisis. This is because, they were the first to address the demands that were given by Soviet Union. In this case, the US agreed to promise never to attack Cuba and also to remove the Jupiter missiles from Turkey. Having done this, then Soviet Union agreed to remove their missiles from Cuba and better communication channels between the US and Soviet Union were developed.

Basically, the decision making processes during the Cuban missile crisis were governed by culture, ideology and history of the three nations, which in turn affected the decisions that were made until the end of this crisis. According to Adamsky, Dmitry (2018, p.35), a strategic culture is of great importance in determining the manner in which a nation plays its game and ranks preferences on the basis of the decisions by other players. Based on culture, the US views itself as being superior because it views conflicts as either being good or bad. As such, during, the Cold war, the Soviet Union who are communists were viewed to be bad and this led to so many conflicts including the Cuban Crisis to defeat such ideologies. Moreover, the communism communities were viewed to be threats to democratic deals and freedom. Therefore, to choose to do noting concerning the missiles was not a choice based on the United States’ culture. If the missiles would be allowed to be used by Cuba and Soviet Union, there would be adverse effects to the US’s ability to dominate these and other regions. Therefore, the decision making by the US during this crisis involved proper choice of noncompeting courses of actions. This led to the discovery of decision makers, goal, whose main goals were to avoid failures but achieve more success (Polletta, Francesca, 2015, p.202).


It is thus evident that the issues that were in existence before the Cuban missile crisis was the Cuban revolution. The Cuban crisis was fueled by the presence of hidden agendas as well as the increasing insecurity for Cuba by the US. As the crisis continued, so many letters were exchanged between the heads of the two super power States which brought about calmness. This lead to an improved communication and coexistence between the US and Soviet Union, although the nuclear competition is still on course up to date. It is therefore evident that all the activities before, during and after Cuban crisis were controlled by culture, ideology and history between the US, Soviet Union and Cuba, and in turn affected the decisions made by the leaders of the three nations.