fall of 1962, the United States and the Soviet
Union came dangerously close to war after it was
learned that Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev had begun deploying medium and
intermediate range ballistic missiles in Cuba. U.S. President John F.
Kennedy imposed a naval
blockade on Cuba, and tensions escalated when an
American U-2 spy plane was shot down while on a
reconnaissance mission over Cuba. Fortunately,
neither Kennedy nor Khrushchev were committed to
starting what would likely have been a nuclear
war, and the crisis was ended diplomatically.
Timeline of Events
October 15 -- A U-2 reconnaissance
aircraft takes pictures of several possible SS-4
nuclear missiles in Cuba.
October 16 -- President Kennedy
convenes his Executive Committee to consider
October 17-19 -- Kennedy
informs Soviet Foreign Minister Andrie Gromyko
that the U.S. will not tolerate Soviet missiles
October 21 -- Kennedy and his advisors
determine that a naval blockade of Cuba is the
October 22 -- President Kennedy
publicly announces that the Soviet Union is
building missile bases in Cuba and that he has
imposed a "quarantine" on that island.
October 23 -- The Organization
of American States unanimously supports the U.S.
naval blockade of Cuba.
October 25 -- U.S. Ambassador
Adlai Stevenson confronts the Soviets at the
United Nations, but the Soviet representatives
refuse to respond. American military forces go to
DEFCON 2, the highest-ever alert status in U.S.
history to that time.
October 26 -- Khrushchev
informs Kennedy that he will remove Soviet
missiles from Cuba if Kennedy publicly guarantees
that the U.S. will not invade Cuba.
October 27 -- A U-2 spy plane
is shot down over Cuba. Khrushchev informs
Kennedy that, in addition to a promise to not
invade Cuba, Kennedy must also remove all U.S.
missiles from Turkey.
October 28 -- Premier
Khrushchev publicly announces that he will remove
all missiles from Cuba; he does not include any
reference to the U.S. removing its missiles from
Turkey in his speech.
John F. Kennedy
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