A crucial moment in the unfolding of this crisis occured on October 24, when Soviet ships heading to Cuba had set up a blockade near the United States line. Kennedy had ordered a blockade of Cuba as a result of the discovery that the Soviet Union had planted missiles on the island. An attempt by the Soviets to break the blockade would likely have sparked a military confrontation that could have quickly turned into a nuclear exchange. But the Soviet ships stopped short of the blockade.
This event was a very significant moment which impacted the Soviet Union as well as the U.S. due to the damage that was barely avoided. It is clear that the number of nuclear weapons that were targeted at soviets from sites in Western Europe and Turkey caused the soviet Union to feel uneasy and live in fear. They felt that the deployment of missiles in Cuba would be a way to level the playing field. Another key factor in the Soviet missile calamity was the hostile relationship between the U.S. and Cuba. The Kennedy administration had already launched one attack on the island, as well as the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961. In addition to this, Castro and Khrushchev viewed that launching the missiles was a affective method to avoid further U.S. aggression. Although the events that had occured at sea provided a positive sign that war could be avoided, they did nothing to address the problem of the missiles already in Cuba. Kennedy’s brother, Robert wrote that “Someone once said that World War Three would be fought with atomic weapons and the next war with sticks and stones.” (Thirteen days) Roberts beliefs and interpretations shows how he believes that war should not occur and instead should be dealt with words, however he realizes that countries are always fighting and therefore use their words to hurt, but in reality causes physical actions that cause pain. Tensions had risen between the countries, continuing through the week due to the tie. As a message, an American military plane was shot down over Cuba, and in Florida a U.S. invasion force was prepared. This event had caused “A similar sense of doom (which) was felt by other key players on both sides” (Martin Walker).
The fear of the unknown was deterring both sides of this crisis from developing a safe plan. As a result, this moment in history had impacted both sides significantly and caused “Kennedy (to fear) that the Soviets would view this as the first step in a preemptive strike and … most members of Excom believed that a nuclear exchange was imminent” (Tuttle). It is clear that due to these events both sides of this meaningless war were impacted significantly due to the conflict and lack of communication which was yet to be solved.
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