Cuban Missile Crisis in Thirteen Days

In the movie “Thirteen Days” JFK learned about the Soviet Union building a missile site in Cuba aimed at the US. JFK formed a group comprised of his cabinet, top government and military officials, his brother RFK, and his special assistant Kenneth O’Donnell, to brief him and come up with a plan on what to do and how to handle this situation. They had to work fast and do something before the missile site was operational, the Soviet’s found out the US knew of the missiles, and before the press found out.

The committee was having a hard time coming up with one plan. Some supported a military strike others supported a blockade of US ships around Cuba. JFK liked the blockade because the military strike would inevitably end in nuclear strikes and the military strike would kill innocent civilians. A majority broke into supporting the blockade. JFK began second guessing himself and the committee broke into two sides for blockade or military strikes. JFK decided to go with a blockade but military actions as a backup incase the blockade does not work out.

They had designed specific procedure to follow for when Soviet ships approached and did not turn around. They could only allow certain ships through the blockade to Cuba. The Soviets continued the creation of the missile site and were not stopping because of the blockade. Military arrangements were made for the event that this leads to war. Then one night they received a personal letter from the Soviet leader Khrushchev saying that if the US removed the blockade and promised to not attack Cuba, they would in turn remove their missiles from Cuba. They thought the end was near to this with that letter. The next morning they received an official letter from Khrushchev with a deal they were much less interested in doing. They didn’t know if one of the letters were fake and if so, which one was real. The committee again could not come up with a response. They received word that one of the American spy planes was shot down killing the pilot over Cuba and some of the committee called for military action, but JFK refused. They started doubting JFK would make the right choice and would appease so Khrushchev because his father was part of the Munich conference that appeased to Hitler. Kennedy made a proposal to the committee to agree to the first personal letter from Khrushchev and ignore the second one and act like it never existed.

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