13.  The following fact was not very good news for American intelligence. By the time the USA intelligence learned that something was cooking in Cuba, all of the Soviet armed forces totaling around 51,000 people have already been transported to Cuba and took up their positions.

14.  The following fact – the US intelligence could see that something was happening, but was not yet suspecting nuclear weapons.

15.  John F. Kennedy harshly spoke out about the “offensive weapons” at his shores, but Kennedy did not know yet that in addition to conventional rockets the island was already packed with nuclear missiles.

16.  Only on October 16 the United States found out that nuclear missiles were located in Cuba. Thus, the Cuban missile crisis has reached its peak.

17.  On October 20 the blockade of Cuba began (act of war), and it was despite the fact that placing nuclear missiles in Cuba did not violate any international treaties.

18.  The United States during the entire conflict had no idea about the size of the Soviet troops (they thought it was much smaller), or the amount of their weapons, including tanks, bombers and fighters, air defense missile systems, submarines, tactical nuclear complexes “Luna”, or even that all nuclear medium-range and long-range missileswere already in Cuba, and that the blockade was meaningless.

resident Kennedy meets with Chairman Khrushchev at the U. S. Embassy residence, Vienna. U. S. Dept. of State photograph in the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library, Boston.

Photograph from the U. S. Department of State in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston

19.  All the time between October 20 and October 27, John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev were exchanging letters, but they were never able to reach at least some compromise, because no one wanted to give in.

20.    What Khrushchev wanted. Khrushchev did not want a war: it is one thing to “scare” and to “push”, and another – to get involved in a third world war. Khrushchev was ready to remove the missiles. But in exchange for a guarantee that the United States would not attack Cuba. In addition, Khrushchev to withdraw nuclear missiles from Turkey (10 minutes of flight time to Moscow).

21.  On October 27 an American reconnaissance aircraft U-2 was shot down over Cuba. It was the beginning of the “Black Saturday”. Military officers of the United States were pushing Kennedy to land. Tens of thousands of paratroopers were prepared, and 180 warships were placed around Cuba. If the United States made an attempt to attack the island, then even without using nuclear weapons, the Soviet 51-thousand grouping force would have probably defended Cuba.  But the Soviet military also had tactical nuclear weapons … Also, someone could get too anxious and launch dozens of medium-range and long-range nuclear missiles to the United States.

22.  On October 27 the commandment of the Soviet group in Cuba receives an order: to protect the island by any means, but not to use nuclear weapons.

23.  On October 27 every hour was important: the United States military put pressure on John F. Kennedy to start landing. And they got very close to their goal.

24.  During the Cuban missile crisis Robert Kennedy regularly visited the Russian embassy. He became a link between the President of the United States John F. Kennedy and the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. With the participation of Robert Kennedy an agreement was reached: USSR removes the missiles from Cuba, and the United States guarantee the safety of Cuba from invasion. The American missiles in Turkey were also to be removed, but this item will not appear in official documents, as this would have caused a real storm of criticism from the countries of Western Europe, which would feel as if they are being left without protection.

25.  On October 28 at a meeting in Moscow, the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev said that “in order to save the world, we need to back off.” On the same day USSR began dismantling its nuclear missiles in Cuba. United States guaranteed safety to Cuba, and then under the pretext of “aging arsenal” removed its missiles from Turkey which were not even 2 years old. The crisis has been averted.

26.  The crisis served as a turning point – the whole world started thinking about the dangers of a nuclear war.

The consequence of the crisis was the establishment of a direct telephone line between the President of the United States and the Soviet leader in case of such an emergency.

To discover Russia with Alexey Gureev

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