Sunday, May 8, 2011

Timeline for the Cuban Missile Crisis

- Mid-September 1962 - Congress approved Joint Resolution 230 which authorized the the use of force in Cuba if the U.S. were to be attacked.

-October 15, 1962 - U.S. President Kennedy received photographic evidence of nuclear missiles being constructed in San Cristobal, Cuba by the Soviets and the Cubans. He also unofficially assembles a fifteen man group of his most trusted advisors and U.S. military leaders.

-October 16, 1962 - President Kennedy's fifteen man group was officially named EX-COMM, and they initially discussed negotiating with the Soviets, ignoring them, and using nuclear weapons on the Cubans and Soviets.

-October 17, 1962 - In addition to meeting with EX-COMM, President Kennedy also met with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, or the JCS, and they urged President Kennedy to conduct a tactical airstrike on the missile bases in Cuba or to capture Fidel Castro, Cuba's president, and the nuclear warheads.

-October 18, 1962 - Both EX-COMM and the JCS agreed upon using multiple airstrikes on Cuba, but President Kennedy and his brother, Robert Kennedy, disliked the idea because it was "morally wrong."

-October 19, 1962 - U-2 spy planes had discovered four more missile construction sites in Cuba, and EX-COMM and the JCS proposed the new plan of blockading Cuba and then launching an airstrike on the missile sites. Once again, President Kennedy disagreed because he did not want to potentially start a World War III with Cuba and the Soviet Union.

-October 20, 1962 - Because President Kennedy wanted to avoid a nuclear war and did not know how missiles the Soviets had on Cuba, he chose to blockade, or quarantine, Cuba disallowing Soviet ships from bringing any more missile parts into Cuban harbors.

-October 21, 1962 - After attending Sunday morning Mass, President Kennedy met with the Commander of the Tactical Air Command, TAC, General Walter Sweeney, and he encouraged President Kennedy to use an airstrike. Although President Kennedy had already decided how to handle the issue, he told Sweeney to be ready in case of a Soviet attack.

-October 22, 1962 - Speaking to the American public on national television at seven o'clock, President Kennedy announced to quarantine Cuba, and the DEFCON level was raised to level 3.

-October 23, 1962 - In order to protect American troops, President Kennedy signed Proclamation 3504 which formally established the quarantine, and it would begin the following day at ten o'clock am.

-October 24, 1962 - The quarantine turned out to be a huge success for the United States as only one oil ship passed through the blockade. Because the Soviets had come into contact with American forces, the DEFCON level was raised to level 2, the highest it had ever been in U.S. history.

-October 25, 1962 - U.S. Ambassador Adlai Stevenson revealed to the world and Soviet Ambassador Valerian Zorin clear photographic evidence of nuclear missiles in Cuba. The American public responded by finding it necessary to invade Cuba and retrieve the weapons of mass destruction.

-October 26, 1962 - Along with the quarantine of Cuba, President Kennedy, who sought to avoid a nuclear holocaust, was willing to trade and remove the missiles in Turkey and Italy only if the Soviets removed the missiles in Cuba. Soviet Premier, Nikita Khrushchev did not immediately respond to this.

-October 27, 1962 - The conflict in Cuba escalated when President Kennedy, EX-COMM, and the JCS learned that an American U-2 plane had been shot down by the Soviets. Though President Kennedy was upset, he did not order the launch of missiles, but instead he contacted Khrushchev and organized an appointment in Washington D.C. the following day.

-October 28, 1962 - Known as the closest day the world was to nuclear war, American and Soviet ballistic missiles were aimed at one another and fully operation. However, President Kennedy and Khrushchev agreed upon peace terms as the missiles in Turkey and Italy were removed, and the warheads in Cuba were also removed. The Cuban Missile Crisis had concluded, and in America President Kennedy was praised, while Khrushchev was belittled by the Soviets.

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