Who Was to Blame More for the Cuban Missile Crisis? Introduction
The 1960-1962 Cuban Missile Crisis was one of the closest incidences the U.S. and the U.S.S.R almost initiated a nuclear warfare. It was an act whereby the Soviet Union placed nuclear missiles aiming at the U.S in Cuba. It is something that would have probably led to a full-scale fight between the Soviet Union and the United States. In this case, the U.S.S.R was allied to Fidel Castro’s new revolutionary administration primary because of Khrushchev’s support for revolutions aimed towards overthrowing the ‘oppressive’ capitalism regimes, as well as the aspect of strategically using Cuba against the U.S (James, 1990).
During the 1961’s Vienna summit that saw the meeting between Khrushchev and Kennedy, Khrushchev went an extra mile of defending the Castro’s legitimacy and the Cuban revolution at large (White, 1998). Khrushchev asserted that no single nation had full rights of being involved in the internal affairs of Cuba. The only condition was if Castro’s regime was inevitable, thereby necessitating for another revolution particularly pushed forth by the Cubans themselves due to their dissatisfaction. During this summit, the Soviet Union and the United states had already started disseminating some tensions inclined to the Cuban crisis. Cuba’s discussion established Khrushchev’s aims and goals for Cuba. It is here where he reaffirmed that Soviet policy was in full support of nationalist movements. This is the reason it was in total defense of Castro’s revolutionary frameworks in Cuba. Khrushchev also used Vienna summit to caution Kennedy to shun away from any intervention in the Cuban crisis (Fursenko & Naftali, 1997). On top of warning U.S from invading Cuba, he also went an extent of bringing into limelight the nuclear missiles launched by the U.S in Turkey. The point of focus in this paper is to try and dig out who held more responsibility on the Cuban crisis between the United States and the Soviet Union, or even Cuba itself.
Argument against the Soviet Union
The Soviet Union is seen to have played a bigger role in the Cuban crisis. This was depicted the moment USSR went ahead to secretly install bases within Cuba regardless of being conversant with the crisis that would result in case it was discovered by the U.S. It was the time the Soviet Union was a main threat especially to the U.S. due to the act of spreading communism and being in full cooperation with the Cuban government (Sanger, 2017). The entire occurrences were the source of great tensions between the two superpowers.
Argument for the Soviet Union
The main Russia’s defense was its hard winters and huge land-mass. Additionally, they had unlimited supplies of tanks, arms, natural resources, and planes (Fursenko& Naftali, 1997). As much as they were in a position of maintaining a reasonable technological level and an appropriate numerical advantage based on the nuclear weapons, the suitability of preventing ‘the West’ from war was clearly felt.
Argument against the U.S
President J.F Kennedy broke a political rule the moment he refused to accept the consequent Cuban revolution. The communist or the Marxist Cuba was not actually a real U.S threat. Due to the American people’s obsession that was suffered through Communism, however, led them to greatly reject Castro’s ideologies. Moreover, the United States became the first nation to begin establishing the missile sites within Turkey. Therefore, there was need for them to reflect on their missile acts before raising any concern for the Soviet Union’s launch of nuclear bases in Cuba (Gott, 2005).The Soviet Union had no other choice other than preparing themselves for war through installation of Cuban missiles due to the feeling of massive threat from the U.S.
Argument for the U.S
The USSR were responsible for several plans necessitating a full-scale invasion of America and Europe, and other numerous nuclear war scenarios. With Russia being a communist nation, invasion of the U.S means the enhancement of communism spread across the entire country (Hornberger, 2012). Therefore, to protect the United States from any form of ideological influence, it was mandated with the perspective of taking action by instilling direct threats to Russia that was rapidly and dangerously spreading communism in America.
Argument for Cuba
Cuba was hit with the fright regarding the high possibility of the US invasion. After coming to power in the year 1959, Castro was fully aware of various US attempts of ousting him. The first instance had been the failed 1961 invasion termed as the Bay of Pigs by the CIA-backed Cuban exiles. The second instance was the 1962’s U.S military exercise that saw the invasion of Caribbean islands (Gott, 2005).In addition, the U.S. was engaged in drafting an operation named ‘operation mongoose,’ devised in a manner aimed towards keeping Castro nervous. Castro was thus consequently convinced on the U.S. seriousness on invasion of Cuba.
Argument against Cuba
Castro himself was responsible for inviting the Soviet Union to launch missiles in the Cuban territory (Hornberger, 2012). He even went an extra mile of unsuccessfully lobbying for them to remain behind under the control of Cuban technicians.
After several decades of argument regarding who carried greater blame in the Cuban missile crisis, it is still deemed hard to point out a finger on a specific nation or personality. This is because the United States, the Soviet Union, and the Cuba itself seem to have equally been responsible in one way or the other. However, it can be affirmed that the Crisis began because every leader amongst the three intended to defend themselves from invasions from the other. It was primarily influenced by the ideological variations between the Soviet Union, the US, and Cuba. They were mutually afraid of the perceived influence and control from each other.
- Fursenko, A. and Naftali, T., 1997. The Secret History of the Cuban Missile Crisis.“One Hell of a Gamble.”.
- Gott, R., 2005. Cuba: A new history. Yale University Press.
- Hornberger J., 2012. The Natinal Security State is to Blame for the Cuban Missile Crisis. NEW YORK TIMES. Reyrieved from https://www.fff.org/2012/10/29/the-national-security-state-is-to-blame-for-the-cuban-missile-crisis/
- James, A., 1990. The Cuban Missile Crisis (1962). In Peacekeeping in International Politics (pp. 300-301). Palgrave Macmillan UK.
- Sanger D., 2017. Cuban Missile Crisis (1962). NEW YORK TIMES. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/topic/subject/cuban-missile-crisis-1962
- White, M.J., 1998. Missiles in Cuba: Kennedy, Khrushchev, Castro and the 1962 Crisis. Ivan R. Dee.