Veterans Corner: Cuban Missile Crisis Part II

Community Contributed

By Jesse Church

Aloha all my fellow veterans and residents of Molokai, old Jesse here with all the veterans news and upcoming events. Now it is time for the conclusion of the story that I started two weeks ago about the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. This is part of what JFK said to the American people in his speech on national TV that Monday night, Oct. 22, 1962. “The 1930s taught us a clear lesson: aggressive conduct, if allowed to grow unchecked and unchallenged, ultimately leads to war… our policy has been one of patience and restraint… but now further action is required — and it is underway, and these actions may only be the beginning. WE will not prematurely or unnecessarily risk the costs of worldwide nuclear war in which even the fruits of victory would be ashes in our mouth, but neither will we shrink from that risk at anytime, it must be faced.”

The President then outlined the U.S. actions for the Soviet Union, first to initiate a “strict quarantine” around Cuba, and only shipments of “offensive military equipment” would be turned back by U.S. naval forces. Second, he ordered a continued close surveillance of Cuba, and Kennedy warned, if U.S. intelligence found the Soviets continuing work on the missile sites, “further action will be justified.” His final point was the U.S. would regard any nuclear missile launched from Cuba against any nation in the Western Hemisphere as an attach by the Soviet Union on the U.S., requiring a full retaliatory response.

On Sunday, Oct. 27, Kennedy was handed a ticker tape of what was being read over Radio Moscow. It said Premier Khrushchev told President Kennedy he would withdraw offensive missiles from Cuba if the U.S. withdrew missiles from Turkey. The President realized he could not duck this offer and by Tuesday, Oct. 30, they had a tentative agreement to end the crisis, which was finalized on Nov. 20. A truly remarkable feat, as governments just do not act that quickly, and from the brink of nuclear war to a settlement in four weeks.

I believe the world was lucky that these two world leaders were not stupid men, they were very intelligent that got themselves into a crisis, and with the help of many advisors on both sides, got themselves out again. You cannot blame it on Kennedy beacuse the Eisenhower adminstration was responsible for putting U.S. missiles in Turkey at the Soviet Union’s doorstep. Khrushchev wanted to get even by putting missiles in Cuba at the U.S.’s doorstep. Castro anted Soviet missiles because he was sure Kennedy was going to invade Cuba and wanted to kill him. Thank our lucky stars for two men who saw there was nothing to gain from nuclear war.

John Candello will be at the Veterans Center on Friday, Nov. 20 from 9 to 11:30 a.m. and that afternoon will be at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

Please continue your support of our men and women in uniform. Remember to keep sending old Jesse information, and old Jesse loves everybody on Molokai from my heart. Until next week, aloha.

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