Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon. February 17, - Published on Amazon. Verified Purchase. After reading Hubbell's "Writing for Wally" which had a chapter on this, the untold story of the Cuban Missile Crisis, I had to read the full account. While schools do a great job teaching about the great job JFK did in managing the crisis, they don't talk about the mistakes we made that emboldened if not paved the way for the Soviets to move missiles to Cuba. Sadly, the parallels to today are not comforting. Go to Amazon. Discover the best of shopping and entertainment with Amazon Prime.
Prime members enjoy FREE Delivery on millions of eligible domestic and international items, in addition to exclusive access to movies, TV shows, and more. The whole operation was shrouded in secrecy. General Anatoly Gribkov, of the Soviet general staff, recalls: 'Missile ramps were camouflaged with wooden construction so as to resemble parts of the ship's superstructure.
The missiles themselves had to be carried on deck because of their size, but we covered them with tarpaulins and surrounded them with lead so as to prevent detection of radioactive emissions by the Americans. The first freighter, the Maria Ulianov, arrived in Cuba on 26 July, followed by nine others during the next four days. Weapons and equipment that looked like agricultural goods were unloaded around the clock.
Tanks, missiles and special military equipment were unloaded only at night. Soviet troops were sent to their designated areas wearing Cuban army uniforms and all commands were spoken in Spanish. But it was not possible to keep secret for ever an operation of this size.
Did the U.S. Military Plan a Nuclear First Strike for 1963?
The use of so many ships from the Soviet merchant fleet meant that there were not enough for normal trade, and the Soviet government had to go to the international charter market to make up the shortfall. In the close-knit shipping world this did not go unnoticed, but the connection with Cuba did not come until August. In that month Philippe de Vosjoli, the Washington station chief for the French intelligence service, visited Cuba.
It was obvious that there were a lot of Russian troops around: the CIA estimated 10,, but there were actually 43, Although they wore civilian clothing in public, most seemed to have chosen identical check shirts. De Vosjoli collected several reports of missiles being unloaded and transported and he passed on this information to the director of the CIA, John McCone. He concluded that Moscow was up to something new and different in Cuba. His senior officers scoffed at the idea: at worst, they said, the Soviets might be building Sam missile sites there.
McCone's response was, 'So what are the Sams meant to protect? Over the objections of his senior officers, he wrote to the Kennedy the same day, voicing his suspicions. Kennedy did not believe that Khrushchev would take such a risk, since the US had 5, ballistic missiles to the Soviet Union's But he ordered his defence chiefs to draw up a contingency plan to deal with a situation in which Soviet nuclear missiles were deployed in Cuba. Meanwhile in Cuba, all was not going well. Attempts to speed up the construction of the launch pads failed because the Soviet troops could not cope with the heat, humidity and mosquitoes.
Moscow then decided to send an eight-man delegation of senior officers from the Defence Ministry to supervise the work.
The deadline for the missiles to be operational was 27 October. When General Gribkov, who was to lead the delegation, went for his final briefing, Malinovsky repeated Khrushchev's orders about control of the missiles: 'We do not want to unleash an atomic war. That is not in our interests. The missile divisions must only be used with the personal approval of Khrushchev. But the tactical Luna missiles can be used by Pliyev Soviet commander in Cuba , using his own judgement, in the event of an attack by the US and an imminent landing of troops on the coast.
The delegation's trip to Cuba could be seen as an omen for the whole of Operation Anadyr. Over the Mediterranean one of the aircraft's engines fell off and the group had to start all over again. General Gribkov recalls: 'Over the Mediterranean again, the stewardess instructed us in the use of life-vests in the event of an emergency landing in the sea. But the vests were not under the seats.
Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis
When we asked the stewardess where they were, she said that they were in the cargo hold. When we landed we found our luggage had gone to London by mistake so we had to go into Havana with only the clothes we were wearing and our briefcases. Moscow, meanwhile, was putting out a barrage of lies to mislead the Americans.
On 4 September, the Soviet ambassador in Washington, Dobrynin, who knew nothing about the missiles, told Robert Kennedy that Khrushchev had asked him to assure the president that he would not place any offensive missiles in Cuba. Dobrynin repeated this promise to Theodore Sorensen, the president's speech writer, at lunch two days later. In response to these false assurances, Kennedy now made two major mistakes. First, he stepped up plans for an invasion of Cuba.
New orders for the pre-positioning of troops, aircraft, ships, and other equipment and supplies were brought to a state of readiness. These were only contingency plans, and Kennedy later insisted he had no intention of implementing them. But he failed to consider how these preparations would appear to Castro. When the Cuban leader learnt of them from his intelligence service, he naturally concluded that an American invasion was imminent.
Next, at the urging of his brother, Robert, and mainly for domestic political purposes, Kennedy issued a public warning to Khrushchev that if the US ever found 'offensive ground-to-ground missiles' in Cuba then 'the gravest issues would arise': a statement so precise that it was to leave him with no alternative but a full confrontation with the Soviet Union. On Sunday 14 October the weather was clear enough to allow a U-2 flight over western Cuba. The film was flown to Washington, and on the morning of Monday 15 October a team of CIA experts in a National Photographic Interpretation Centre laboratory, hidden over a car dealer's showroom not far from Capitol Hill, began to examine it.
It was late evening when one of the technicians, hunched over a light-box, called his supervisor to look at a photograph of San Cristobal, miles west of Havana. To a non-expert, the photograph appeared to reveal little of significance Kennedy said later he wondered why the U-2 had taken photographs of a football pitch. But to an expert, the photograph was a revelation. One of the intelligence prizes which the Soviet defector Oleg Penkovsky had brought to the West was a Soviet military manual dealing with the construction of missile sites.
Like all military machines, the Soviet one did things strictly according to the manual. By comparing pictures of known intercontinental ballistic missile sites in the Soviet Union with Penkovsky's manual, the CIA had been able to identify what its experts called 'the foot-print' for each type of missile site. The supervisor looked at the San Cristobal photograph and saw the footprint of a medium-range nuclear missile site, probably an SS He said, 'Don't leave this room.
We might be sitting on the biggest story of our time. Kennedy was furious. He told Bundy that Khrushchev 'can't do this to me. At Those present, the civilian and military leaders of the US, were to become 'ExComm', the executive committee of the National Security Council. They were to meet - mostly in a windowless conference room at the State Department - almost continuously throughout the crisis. The dominant feeling at the meeting was shocked surprise. Robert Kennedy later recalled: 'We had been deceived by Khrushchev, but we had also fooled ourselves.
The intelligence community, in its national estimate of the future course of events, had advised the president on four occasions that the Russians would not make offensive weapons available to Cuba. The last estimate was dated 19 September and it advised him that, without reservation, the United States Intelligence Board had concluded that the Soviet Union 'would not make Cuba a strategic base'. The feeling of the meeting was that some form of action was required and that a surprise air strike against the missiles would be the only course. Listening to the military explain how this could be done, Robert Kennedy passed his brother a note: 'I now know how Tojo felt when he was planning Pearl Harbor.
You can find our Community Guidelines in full here. Want to discuss real-world problems, be involved in the most engaging discussions and hear from the journalists?
- Europe in the Sixteenth Century (A General History of Europe)!
- Settle for More.
- No customer reviews.
Try Independent Premium free for 1 month. Independent Premium Comments can be posted by members of our membership scheme, Independent Premium. It allows our most engaged readers to debate the big issues, share their own experiences, discuss real-world solutions, and more. Our journalists will try to respond by joining the threads when they can to create a true meeting of independent Premium.
The most insightful comments on all subjects will be published daily in dedicated articles. Past Exhibits. April - December How to Visit Become a Member. Identifier Accession.
- Strike In The West The Complete Story Of The Cuban Crisis?
- Cuban Crisis: A Step-by-Step Review.
- The Cold War for Kids: Cuban Missile Crisis.
Rights Access Status. Relation Is Part Of Desc. Subject Geog. Type Category. Format Medium. Format Media Type. Creator Maker. Language ISO Type ARC. Title Folder. Rights Copyright Status. Relation Container Digid. Rights Access Restrictions.