Often recognized as the first official day of the Cuban Missile Crisis, many important decisions were made on October 18. Out of the many choices made on this date and according to a document named “A Chronology of Events” by George Washington University, the consensus decision made by both EX-COMM and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, or the JCS, was that “President Kennedy order an airstrike on the missiles and other key Cuban military installations” (“A Chronology of Events,” par. 21). Though Kennedy’s cabinets felt that this decision was ingenious, both President Kennedy and his brother, Robert Kennedy, felt that this decision was morally wrong, and Robert Kennedy went on to say that the bombing was “Pearl Harbor in reverse” (“A Chronology of Events,” par. 22). In fact, the question of commencing an airstrike against Cuba was easily the most debated question of the early days of the crisis, and it caused tensions to rise between members of EX-COMM and the JCS. Though President Kennedy did not make his decision on this day, he and EX-COMM met privately with Soviet Foreign Minister, Andrei Gromyko in the Oval Office. While explaining the Soviet Union’s decision to place ballistic missiles in Cuba, Foreign Minister Gromyko soothed the fears of the Americans and explained that it was solely for defensive purposes. Even though this effort attempted to appease the emotions of the U.S. officials, it did not work, and President Kennedy knew that severe actions must be taken against Cuba in order to ensure protection for the United States.
Actual Blog Date: May 3, 2011
Historical Date: October 18, 1962