One of the most significant American military dates in history, on October 22, 1962, President Kennedy spoke to the American public on national television at seven o’clock pm about the quarantine of Cuba. In his seven minute speech explaining why the United States was placing a quarantine on Cuba, according to A Chronology of Events by George Washington University, President Kennedy announced that there was “unmistakable evidence [of] the presence of Soviet MRBM and IRBM sites and nuclear capable bombers in Cuba” (“A Chronology of Events,” par. 53). Along with this President Kennedy cleared made his point that if the Soviet Union or Cuba were to launch any missiles anywhere, it would be considered an attack against the United States, requiring a full retaliatory response solely against the Soviet Union. At the conclusion of his short speech to the American public, President Kennedy also mentioned that he was raising the Defense Condition of the United States to level 3, or DEFCON 3, meaning that the United States was on high alert and rapidly approaching a full-scale war. In addition, President Kennedy also declared that the quarantine would be effective immediately on October 23, 1962 at seven o’clock pm and that all orders to attack would be given by his signal and no one else. While winding up his speech on the major broadcast networks, President Kennedy also hinted at attacking Soviet ships and using a large airstrike on Cuba if the Soviets failed to recognize the proposals made by the United States. It was clear that President Kennedy wanted to negotiate with the Soviets and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev in order to avoid a large conflict, but he was willing to go to war with the Soviets if they wanted to challenge the American military and his ideologies.
Blog Date: May 6, 2011
Historical Date: October 22, 1962