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Cuban Missile Crisis

  • Originally published 01/09/2018

    The Other Terrifying Lesson of the Cuban Missile Crisis

    George Perkovich

    Historians have focused on how John F. Kennedy’s wisdom narrowly averted a nuclear catastrophe. They’ve paid less attention to how little we knew about the Soviets’ true intentions.

  • Originally published 10/27/2017

    The Cuban Missile Crisis at 55

    James G. Blight and Janet M. Lang

    “The bullshitter…does not reject the authority of the truth, as the liar does, and oppose himself to it. He pays no attention to it at all. By virtue of this, bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are.” —Harry G. Frankfurt, "On Bullshit"

  • Originally published 10/16/2017

    U.S. Planned for Military Occupation of Cuba

    The U.S. military drew up plans to occupy Cuba and establish a temporary government headed by a U.S. “commander and military governor” during the 1962 missile crisis, new documents disclose.

  • Originally published 08/11/2017

    Forget Those Comparisons with the Cuban Missile Crisis

    Sheldon M. Stern

    This time, the top military figures in the administration may be forced to try to short-circuit an impulsive over-reaction by their commander-in-chief rather than the other way around.

  • Originally published 04/20/2016

    JFK. A Motorcade. A Rifle. But this Wasn’t Dallas.

    Stephen F. Knott

    Recently discovered evidence in the archives of the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston shows there was a serious breach of security in the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis that could have altered the course of history.

  • 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 07/09/2009

    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 11/04/2002

    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.

  • Originally published 03/26/2018

    Does MAD really work?

    (R)evolutionary Biology

    So far it has due to plain dumb luck.  But eventually, luck runs out. 

  • Originally published 03/13/2018

    Promise and Flaw in Organized Religion

    Steve Hochstadt

    Last year was the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 1517 proclamation of objections to Catholic Church practices. Luther masterfully used the new technology of printing to spread his ideas. But the religious community he wished to create was welcoming only for those who followed his lead. Luther condemned in the strongest terms anyone who refused to give up their religion for his.