In the aftermath of World War II, global politics came to be dominated by a struggle between two great powers: The United States and the Soviet Union. These two nations defined the course of history in the second half of the 20th century, and the legacy of their Cold War continues to the present day.
Major Events of the Cuban Missile Crisis - Have students create a timeline to chronologically show what led to the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 under president John F. Kennedy. Students will be able to outline and define the events that led to both the U.S. and U.S.S.R. being on the brink of nuclear war. Furthermore, it will highlight major global policies and negotiations that took place to avoid conflict and nuclear destruction. In addition, this will help summarize the growing tensions that existed between the U.S. and U.S.S.R. by Kennedy’s presidency, and give understanding as to just how the Cold War was a continuous ideological war.
FIDEL CASTRO ASSUMES POWER IN CUBA
TIMELINE: THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS
After the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro and his forces rise to power. Castro pledges not to have Cuba become a communist state. However, he will break this pledge.
U.S. ENDS DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS WITH CUBA
CUBA ALIGNS WITH SOVIET UNION
In response to Cuba's open declaration of aligning with communist ideals and the Soviet Union, the U.S. breaks all diplomatic ties with Cuba. They also close their embassy there.
Almost two years removed from their revolution, Castro and Cuba openly align themselves with the Soviet Union, as well as their communist policies.
BAY OF PIGS INVASION
Under President John F. Kennedy, a group of Cuban exiles and U.S. military personnel aim to launch an invasion at the Bay of Pigs to trigger a anti-Castro rebellion. It fails, reflecting poorly on Kennedy.
KHRUSHCHEV AND KENNEDY MEET
Khrushchev and Kennedy meet in Vienna to try and negotiate terms concerning the growing Cuban crisis. The meeting, however, does not go well, and Khrushchev leaves with a poor impression of Kennedy.
MISSILE SITES PHOTOGRAPHED
CRISIS FINALLY ENDS
U.S. military planes photograph what appear to be constructed missile bases in Cuba. The U.S. enters DEFCON 3 as a precaution, preparing for the worst. It is, to many, clear-cut evidence of Soviet nuclear aggression.
Finally, after an extremely tense October, the U.S. and Soviet Union come to terms. The U.S. agrees to remove missile bases in Turkey, while the Soviets agree to withdraw missiles from Cuba. The crisis is averted.