CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS 1962

CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS 1962. The Cuban Missile Crisis stands as a seminal event.2 History offers no parallel to those thirteen
days of October ‘l 962, when the USA and the Soviet Union paused at the nuclear precipice
Never before had there been such a high probability that so many llves would end suddenly.
Had warcome, it could have meantthe death of I00 million Americans and morethan .l00 million Russians, and millions of Europeans as well. Other catastrophes and inhumanities of historywould havefaded into insignificance. Given the odds of disaster-which President Kennedy
estimated as’between one out of three and even’-our escape is staggering (Steel1969 22).
ln retrospect, this crisis proved a major watershed in the Cold War. For thirteen days, the
USA and the Soviet Union stood ‘eyeball to eyeball’, each with the power of mutual
CHAPTER 14 THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS
:estruction in hand. Having peered over the edge of the nuclear precipice, both nations
:dged backwards towards detente. Never again was the risk of war between them as great as
: was during the last two weeks of October 1962. Thus an understanding of this crisis is es-
.ential for every serious student of foreign affairs.