One minute to midnight- The Cuban Missile Crisis


Goober
#1
One minute to midnight- The Cuban Missile Crisis

Cuban missile crisis | Foreign Policy

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962, the nerve-wracking peak of the Cold War. To commemorate this event, Foreign Policy is tweeting the Cuban missile crisis in real time, chronicling the days, hours, and minutes when the world stood on the brink of nuclear destruction. Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard once noted that history is "lived forward" but "understood backward." Join us as we retell the story of the Cuban missile crisis as it was actually experienced by John F. Kennedy, Nikita Khrushchev, and Fidel Castro -- forward rather than backward, in all its cliff-hanging excitement and unpredictability. Michael Dobbs, a Foreign Policy blogger and author of One Minute to Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War, will draw topical lessons from the gravest national security crisis of the Cold War. How much does a president know when he makes decisions that could affect the lives of millions? Does he control events, or do events control him? Could we be faced with an Iranian missile crisis in October 2012? Is there a way back from the brink?

What the president didn't know -- and when he didn't know it | On The Brink
What did the president know and when did he know it?" was the question made famous by Watergate. During the two years I spent researching the Cuban missile crisis, I came to feel that a more appropriate question about the man waiting for that 3 a.m. phone call in the White House would be: "What didn't the president know and when didn't he know it?"

Confronted with grave national security crises, we comfort ourselves with the image of a near-omniscient commander-in-chief able to draw on the vast resources of the world's most powerful military machine. The historical record suggests a more realistic -- and human -- picture of presidents stumbling about in the semi-darkness as they attempt to master the chaotic forces of history. With rare exceptions, it is difficult for them to bend history to their will: the most they can do is avoid the obvious pitfalls. As Abraham Lincoln remarked at the height of the Civil War, "I do not control events, events control me."

In my book One Minute to Midnight, I tried to integrate the debates in the White House with a minute-by-minute account of events in the rest of the world. The disconnect was often jarring. Information flowing into the ExComm (the committee of "wise men" established by John F. Kennedy to handle the crisis) was often incomplete, misleading, or simply wrong. The president often had only a vague idea of what was happening in Cuba and the Soviet Union. Neither he nor his opposite number in Moscow, Nikita Khrushchev, exercised full control over his own armies. And yet somehow, for all their mistakes and near-fatal miscalculations, they managed to avoid blowing up the world. (More, later, on how they accomplished this.)

What Was at Stake in 1962? - By Rachel Dobbs | Foreign Policy
 
B00Mer
+1
#2  Top Rated Post
I feel so old today Goober..

I was still daddy's little squirt during the bay of pigs, but shortly after this I was one of the million B00Mers born between 1946 and 1964.

Wow half a century.
 
Goober
#3
Quote: Originally Posted by B00MerView Post

I feel so old today Goober..

I was still daddy's little squirt during the bay of pigs, but shortly after this I was one of the million B00Mers born between 1946 and 1964.

Wow half a century.

I had always thought Boomers were 46 to 57- Checked. 46 to 65 - Some references state 46 to 64 - but found more- 46-65.

But is was nip and tuck back then- During the height of the crisis each country would be looking for missile launches- And guess what- The US AF tested a missile during the crisis. FFn Dumb.
 
B00Mer
#4


Thank God for cool heads. huh
 
Goober
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by B00MerView Post



Thank God for cool heads. huh

Are you familiar with the 2 different telegrams that Kennedy received from the Russians during the crisis? If not read about it.
 
WLDB
#6
Quote: Originally Posted by GooberView Post

I had always thought Boomers were 46 to 57- Checked. 46 to 65 - Some references state 46 to 64 - but found more- 46-65.

I never understood why they kept that 'generation' going for 19-20 years. I doubt anyone born in 64 or 65 had any common experience with someone born in 46. My parents were born in 65 and 67, technically two different generations. Strange how that works.

Quote: Originally Posted by GooberView Post

Are you familiar with the 2 different telegrams that Kennedy received from the Russians during the crisis? If not read about it.

I have. Things really must have been tense for them then.

Quote: Originally Posted by B00MerView Post



Thank God for cool heads. huh

I doubt Johnson or Nixon would have been as cool. Or Breshnev for that matter. Good thing it was these two.
 
GroundWater
#7
Probably JFK's finest moment.
 

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