Why Kennedy decided to blockade Cuba Essay
President Kennedy decided to blockade Cuba for many reasons. One of the most influencing reasons was the Cold War, which started in 1945, and the resultant tension of it. The blockade of Cuba was made to be such an issue because of the Cold War and the effects it had on Russia and the USA’s relations. Tension also got worse between USA and Russia because of an USAF spy plane came down in Russia in May 1960. Khruschev later announced that the U-2 spy plane flown by Gary Powers was shot down. This put America in a very bad situation; what could they do and what could they say?
America denied spy flights over Russia and announced that a U-2 research plane for weather conditions was missing. Relations were worsened between Russia and the USA because of the construction of the Berlin Wall, the so-called “Iron Curtain” separating the capitalist west and communist east. From source B I notice that nearly all of the USA was in range of the missiles that could be fired from Cuba. Both the “long range” and “short range” missiles were capable of destroying major American cities that included large industrial based cities, such as Dallas and Chicago.
Effectively the economy and government of the USA were at threat from Cuba, along with the huge population. The Source shows that five Soviet missile sites are already established in the west of Cuba with more approaching soviet ships from the east; Kennedy obviously wants to stop this from happening. Source C shows me that “within a few minutes” of the missiles “being fired, 80,000,000 Americans would be dead. Photographic evidence was produced “that missiles were being directed at American Sites.
Kennedy would have been very concerned to protect the USA and its citizens: “The B52 bomber force was ordered into the air fully loaded with atomic weapons. ” An air strike seems to very dangerous and is also considered to be an act of war. Innocent people are also killed using this method which also incorporates “atomic weapons. ” A blockade, however is much safer and far less confrontational whilst giving a similar effect. Sources B and C also show that extreme threat to the USA was being displayed.
With the missiles in range of most of the USA and evidence of these being directed at American Sites Kennedy had to do something. Unfortunately there were not many options and the strongest considerations were an air strike or a blockade of Cuba. The danger and implications of using atomic weapons in an air strike was a major problem. Whilst a blockade takes longer, it is much safer, more dignified and still give an opportunity of relationship between Russia and the USA, after tension due to the Cold War and the shooting down of the spy plane over Russia.