To What Extent Was the Cuban Missile Crisis the Point of Highest Tension During the Cold War and Who Benefitted the Most from the Aftermath?

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In this essay it will be argued that indeed the Cuban Missile Crisis was the point of highest tension during the Cold War and also that Kennedy benefited the most from the outcome as opposed to Khrushchev who was the leader of the USSR. Firstly the Cuban Missile Crisis began on the 16th October 1962 when an American U2 spy plane photographed Soviet missiles sites in Cuba. The fact that the USSR had responded to appeals for help from Cuba following the Bay of Pigs invasion was a large problem for the USA and straight away increased the tensions of the Cold War. It was an issue because Cuba was lead by Castro, a communist who had already overthrown the pro- American government in 1961 and so he was motivated to possibly harm the United States of America and working with Khrushchev gave him the means to do so. Furthermore Cuba was only 90 miles off the coast of America, which meant these missiles, particularly the long-ranged weapons could reach major American cities. This greatly worried the USA and suggests the Cuban Missile Crisis was the point of highest tension during the Cold War as the threat to America was now so physically close and for the first time Cuba and the USSR were working well as one. Moreover placing missiles in Cuba was a power move from Khrushchev as he looked to test the USA and get an upper hand in arms race, which in turn increased tensions as it provoked a quick response from Kennedy. Within four days of learning about the missiles, on the 20th October Kennedy decided on a blockade of Cuba. Khrushchev placed missiles in Cuba to see if Kennedy would back off or face up to aggression and the blockade was certainly an aggressive move. Directly blocking off Cuba, an ally of the USSR is clear evidence of high tensions and points towards the idea that the Cuban Missile crisis was the point of highest tension. This point is only further
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