- Term Papers and Free Essays

Life During The Cold War

Essay by   •  December 9, 2010  •  955 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,335 Views

Essay Preview: Life During The Cold War

Report this essay
Page 1 of 4

Life During The Cold War

America in the 1960's

The relationships of the United States and the Soviet Union were driven by a complex interplay of ideological, political, and economic factors, which led to shifts between cautious cooperation and often bitter superpower rivalry over the years. The distinct differences in the political systems of the two countries often prevented them from reaching a mutual understanding on key policy issues and even, as in the case of the Cuban missile crisis, brought them to the brink of war.

The Cuban Missile Crisis-

According to Premier Nikita Khrushchev's memoirs, in May 1962 he conceived the idea of placing intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Cuba as a means of countering an emerging lead of the United States in developing and deploying strategic missiles. He also presented the scheme as a means of protecting Cuba from another United States-sponsored invasion, such as the failed attempt at the Bay of Pigs in 1961.

After obtaining Fidel Castro's approval, the Soviet Union worked quickly and secretly to build missile installations in Cuba. On October 16, President John Kennedy was shown reconnaissance photographs of Soviet missile installations under construction in Cuba. After seven days of guarded and intense debate in the United States administration, during which Soviet diplomats denied that installations for offensive missiles were being built in Cuba, President Kennedy, in a televised address on October 22, announced the discovery of the installations and proclaimed that any nuclear missile attack from Cuba would be regarded as an attack by the Soviet Union and would be responded to accordingly. He also imposed a naval quarantine on Cuba to prevent further Soviet shipments of offensive military weapons from arriving there.

This was the Cuba Missile Crisis, and this was the turning point of the Cold War. When Fidel Castro took power in Cuba by overthrowing the previous dictator, Fulgencio Batista, he was hailed as a liberator by the Cuban people themselves and became a hero to the American people as well. However, Castro soon took actions inimical to American interests and aligned his country publicly with the Soviet Union. The U.S. public and government were gravely concerned about the creation of a communist state and member of the Soviet Bloc only seventy miles from its southern shores; this problem became a major focus of the new Kennedy administration when it took office in January 1961.

So with Cuba being only seventy miles from the shores of the United States, the American people entered a state of paranoia. To the Americans, a communist was the ultimate threat to the American way of life. Like years before, when blacklisting was rabid in the U.S., finger pointing of American people as Communists or associated with communists plagued the United States.

The Cuban Missile Crisis, and the Bay of Pigs were the longest 14 days in Cold War history. During that time The Americans came within an inch of a nuclear war with the Soviets. It was a tense time, as the public was fearful and paranoid. The American people sought refuge in building bomb shelters in their back yard. Could you imagine living day by day, without knowing weather or not tomorrow would bring a nuclear holocaust? This was what it was like to have lived through the Cold War.

Poor communication contributed to the escalation of the Cuban Missile Crisis. In 1962, there was no direct and immediate link



Download as:   txt (5.7 Kb)   pdf (85.4 Kb)   docx (10.7 Kb)  
Continue for 3 more pages »
Only available on
Citation Generator

(2010, 12). Life During The Cold War. Retrieved 12, 2010, from

"Life During The Cold War" 12 2010. 2010. 12 2010 <>.

"Life During The Cold War.", 12 2010. Web. 12 2010. <>.

"Life During The Cold War." 12, 2010. Accessed 12, 2010.