On the verge of self-destruction

Today, the Cuban crisis, as it is called in the United States, is assessed differently. Some consider the operation “Anadyr” to be a brilliant work of the Soviet special services and the organization of military supplies, as well as a risky but competent political move, while others label Khrushchev for his short-sightedness. To say that Nikita Sergeevich foresaw absolutely all the consequences of the decision to deploy nuclear warheads on the Isle of Freedom is not true. A cunning and experienced politician probably understood that the reaction from the United States would be decisive.


US Ambassador to the United Nations Edlay Stevenson at a meeting of the Security Council demonstrates photographs of Soviet missiles in Cuba

Photo submitted by Kennedy October 16

Photo taken during a low-altitude flight on October 27

In 1959 in Cuba the revolution finally won, and Fidel Castro stood at the head of the state. Cuba did not receive much support from the USSR during this period, since it was not considered as a stable participant in the socialist camp. However, in the 1960s, after the introduction of an economic blockade by the States, deliveries of Soviet oil to Cuba began. In addition, the Soviets become the main foreign trade partner of the young communist state. Thousands of specialists in the field of agriculture and industry were drawn into the country, and large investments began.


San Cristobal, November 1

Snapshot of missiles from an American reconnaissance aircraft. October 14, 1962

American helicopter flies over Soviet submarine near Cuba

The interests of the Union on the island were dictated by far from ideological convictions. The fact is that in 1960, the United States managed to deploy its medium-range nuclear missiles in Turkey, which caused extreme indignation in Moscow. A successful strategic position allowed the Americans to control the vast Soviet territories, including the capital, and the speed of launching and achieving the target of this weapon was minimal.


Lockheed U-2 ° F reconnaissance aircraft performs refueling in the sky

Map created by US intelligence and showing the activity of ground-to-air missiles in Cuba, September 5, 1962

Covering radius of missiles deployed in Cuba R-14 - a large radius, R-12 - an average radius

Cuba was located in close proximity to the borders of the United States, so the deployment of an offensive weapon system with a nuclear charge could in some way compensate for the preponderance in the confrontation. The idea of ​​deploying nuclear missile launchers on the island belonged directly to Nikita Sergeyevich, and was expressed to them on May 20, 1962 by Mikoyan, Malinovsky and Gromyko. After the idea was supported and developed.


President Kennedy meets in the Oval Office with General Curtis LeMay and the pilots who took pictures of the rockets over Cuba

Fidel Castro meets with Nikita Khrushchev in 1961

Nikita Khrushchev and John Kennedy

The intelligence activities of the Americans in this incident proved to be the worst. The information provided by the secret services to the president was far from the truth. For example, the number of the military contingent of the USSR, according to their information, in Cuba was no more than ten thousand people, while the real number exceeded forty thousand long ago. The Americans did not know that there were not only medium-range nuclear missiles on the island, but also short-range atomic weapons. The bombing, which the US military so insistently suggested, could not have been carried out, since the four launchers were ready by October 19. Washington was also within their reach. The landing also had catastrophic consequences, since the Soviet military was ready to launch a complex called the Moon.


Missile loading on November 1. Turbokhod “Physicist Kurchatov”, one of the ships of the Leninsky Komsomol type, in the port of Casilda. On the dock, you can see the shadow of RF-101 “Voodoo”, the reconnaissance aircraft that took the picture.

Missile dismantling November 1

The crisis became even more aggravated on October 27, when the Soviet leadership made an additional demand to dismantle American missiles in Turkey. Kennedy and his entourage suggested that there was a military coup in the USSR, as a result of which Khrushchev was dismissed. At this time, an American reconnaissance aircraft was shot down over Cuba. Some believe that this was a provocation on the part of the Comandante, who advocated a categorical refusal to withdraw weapons from the island, but most called the tragedy the unauthorized actions of the Soviet commanders. On October 27, the world closest in its history stood on the verge of self-destruction.

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