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Cuban Missile Crisis

  • Originally published 02/24/2015

    Ukraine: The Cuban Missile Crisis in Reverse

    William R. Polk

    How the process of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis and what we face today over the Ukraine compare.  It's not reassuring. But there's a way out. 

  • Originally published 10/18/2012

    Noam Chomsky and the Cuban Missile Crisis

    Sheldon M. Stern

    President John F. Kennedy and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara in an ExComm meeting during the Cuban Missile Crisis, October 1962. Credit: White House.Noam Chomsky’s October 15 TomDispatch article (cross-posted on HNN) on the Cuban missile crisis quotes extensively from my work. Unfortunately, he also distorts the historical record and decontextualizes my conclusions. His insistence that the crisis was actually about U.S. “ownership of the world” tell us little or nothing about how real people behaved in real circumstances in October 1962.Several of Chomsky’s key contentions require additional discussion:

  • Originally published 10/10/2012

    What If Nixon Had Been President During the Cuban Missile Crisis?

    Harvey Simon

    Credit: Flickr/Wikimedia Commons/HNN.Fifty years ago this month, the world got lucky. With a show of force and a secret trade, President John F. Kennedy persuaded Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev to dismantle a clandestine nuclear missile base the U.S. had discovered in Cuba without a single shot -- or missile -- being fired.Ever since, scholars, statesmen and academics have plumbed the Cuban Missile Crisis for lessons about leadership, nuclear weapons and international relations, focusing on the possible miscalculations or accidents that could have sparked World War III during those tense thirteen days in 1962.But these what-if scenarios leave out the most revealing counterfactual of all: Would there have been war without Kennedy as president?

  • Originally published 06/13/2012

    Robert Caro and the Mythical Cuban Missile Crisis

    Sheldon M. Stern

    The editor-in-chief of HNN, Rick Shenkman, asked me recently if I would write a critique of the account of the Cuban missile crisis in Robert Caro’s The Passage of Power, Volume 4 of his authoritative biography of Lyndon B. Johnson. Shenkman felt that Caro had utilized “myths that you debunked years ago on HNN” -- and, unfortunately, he was right.

  • Originally published 07/10/2009

    The Trollope Ploy Myth Lives On: Robert McNamara and the Cuban Missile Crisis

    Sheldon M. Stern

    The death of Robert S. McNamara severs one of the last profoundly personal links to some of the most contentious events of the 1960s. McNamara, of course, is principally remembered for his role in the escalation of the American phase of the war in Vietnam. Not surprisingly, most people who viewed Errol Morris’s Academy Award winning (2003) documentary film, “The Fog of War,” have been principally interested in McNamara’s agonizing memories about Vietnam. However, McNamara’s account of his role in the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, an event which was far more likely than Vietnam to lead to an all-out nuclear war, has received far less attention.

  • Originally published 07/27/2008

    The Reflections of JFK’s Closest Advisor, Ted Sorensen (Interview)

    Robin Lindley

    For the past four decades, Ted Sorensen has led a distinguished career in international law.  Despite his many achievements as an attorney, however, he is best known as the closest advisor to Pres. John F. Kennedy—and is seen by many commentators as the greatest American presidential speechwriter. 

  • Originally published 11/05/2002

    Cuban Missile Crisis: Kennedy's Mistakes

    Peter Schweizer

    Forty years ago, President John F. Kennedy was locked in a test of wills with Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev over missiles in Cuba.