Cuban Missile Crisis 1962

the closest we got to nuclear war
President Kennedy refused the Generals' advice to attack Cuba

related pages:

The 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis was the closest the world has gotten to nuclear war. Understanding how nuclear war was averted in October, 1962 is crucial for shifting the world away from permanent war.

A good introduction to the Cuban Missile Crisis is the film "Thirteen Days, " starring Kevin Costner. Part of the dialogue is based on secret taping of Oval Office conversations, including of the generals who wanted nuclear war instead of the compromise that Kennedy and Krushchev made to defuse the crisis.

An earlier film "The Missiles of October" was made for television in the 1970s. It had a much lower production budget than Thirteen Days and also did not have as much declassified information to base the film upon. Someone has uploaded it to YouTube but it's mostly just a curiosity, not as good as Thirteen Days.



On November 22, 1963, Cuban leader Fidel Castro met with French journalist Jean Daniel in his office in Havana. Daniel had just met with President Kennedy and was his emissary to discuss resumption of US Cuban diplomatic relations. When the news of Kennedy's assassination arrived, Castro said it changed everything and the potential opening between the two countries did not happen. Shortly afterwards, Castro gave a typically lengthy speech pointing out that the assassination had been done by the American right wing, a correct observation. No subsequent President dared suggest any rapprochement between the US and Cuba.

some references on the Cuban Missile Crisis


in these present days of strain, it is well to remember that no country's leader supported the U.S. more forcefully than did France. General de Gaulle said, "It is exactly what I would have done," adding that it was not necessary to see the photographs [of the missile sites in Cuba], as "a great government such as yours does not act without evidence."
-- Robert F. Kennedy
, "Thirteen Days: A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis," originally published 1968, reissued in Norton paperback 1999, pp. 40-41
(it's hard to imagine the same credibility for US government claims, a half century later)


The best introduction is James Douglass, "JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters"
an excerpt is posted at
PBS Video: Three Men Go To War
October 23, 2012
Thank you Vasili Arkhipov, the man who stopped nuclear war
Fifty years ago, Arkhipov, a senior officer on the Soviet B-59 submarine, refused permission to launch its nuclear torpedo
Edward Wilson, Saturday 27 October 2012
Secrets of the Dead: The Man Who Saved the World
"the person who prevented a nuclear war was a Russian submariner, Vasili Arkhipov."

National Archives exhibit (with online version)

To the Brink: JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
Eyeball to Eyeball: The Inside (Photographic) Story of the Cuban Missile Crisis
Presenter: Mr. Dino Brugioni (former senior official, National Photographic Interpretation Center)
Friday, October 19
7:30 pm, Eastern Daylight TIme (with live webcast)
Airbus IMAX Theater
Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA
Cuban Missile Crisis: the other, secret one
Cubans remember missile crisis "victory"