It is quite clear that the Soviet Union played a great role in the outcome of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and as a result of their participation the overall relationship of the United States and the Soviet Union was greatly impacted. Major events that had occurred during this crisis included the Soviets attempt to break the U.S. blockade as they were bound to Cuba. In addition, both sides came to a compromise which consisted of the Soviet Union removing the Cuban missiles, exchange for a promise by the U.S, that they would not invade Cuba. Finally, the major event concluding the quarantine, contained the Soviet Union agreeing to remove there IL-28 bomber from Cuba. Events such as these were very significant in the outcome of the Cuban Missile Crisis and the conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union leading to a shift in the United States and the Soviet Union’s relationship, especially involving their nuclear warfare agreement in preventing future conflicts and their association with each other.
Blockade of Cuba – increased tensions due to lack of communication
A crucial moment in the unfolding of this crisis occured on October 24, when Soviet ships heading to Cuba had set up a blockade near the United States line. Kennedy had ordered a blockade of Cuba as a result of the discovery that the Soviet Union had planted missiles on the island. An attempt by the Soviets to break the blockade would likely have sparked a military confrontation that could have quickly turned into a nuclear exchange. But the Soviet ships stopped short of the blockade. This event was a very significant moment which impacted the Soviet Union as well as the U.S. due to the damage that was barely avoided. It is clear that the number of nuclear weapons that were targeted at soviets from sites in Western Europe and Turkey caused the soviet Union to feel uneasy and live in fear. They felt that the deployment of missiles in Cuba would be a way to level the playing field.
Another key factor in the Soviet missile calamity was the hostile relationship between the U.S. and Cuba. The Kennedy administration had already launched one attack on the island, as well as the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961. In addition to this, Castro and Khrushchev viewed that launching the missiles was a affective method to avoid further U.S. aggression. Although the events that had occured at sea provided a positive sign that war could be avoided, they did nothing to address the problem of the missiles already in Cuba. Kennedy’s brother, Robert wrote that “Someone once said that World War Three would be fought with atomic weapons and the next war with sticks and stones.” (Thirteen days) Roberts beliefs and interpretations shows how he believes that war should not occur and instead should be dealt with words, however he realizes that countries are always fighting and therefore use their words to hurt, but in reality causes physical actions that cause pain.
Tensions had risen between the countries, continuing through the week due to the tie. As a message, an American military plane was shot down over Cuba, and in Florida a U.S. invasion force was prepared. This event had caused “A similar sense of doom (which) was felt by other key players on both sides” (Martin Walker). The fear of the unknown was deterring both sides of this crisis from developing a safe plan. As a result, this moment in history had impacted both sides significantly and caused “Kennedy (to fear) that the Soviets would view this as the first step in a preemptive strike and … most members of Excom believed that a nuclear exchange was imminent” (Tuttle). It is clear that due to these events both sides of this meaningless war were impacted significantly due to the conflict and lack of communication which was yet to be solved.
Quarantine – increased controversy due to different perceptions on the Crisis
Another major event during the crisis involving the Soviet Union resulting in greatly impacting their relationship with the united states was toward the end of the quarantine when the Soviet Union finally agreed to remove their IL-28 bombers which the placed in Cuba. The United States uncovered the Soviet plan during routine surveillance flights in September of 1962, leading to President Kennedy issuing a public warning against the offensive weapons in Cuba. Despite the warning, the United States continued to servail Cuba, capturing pictures of highly advanced nuclear missiles under construction. Due to the United States unknown observance of Cuba, Cuba had developed a higher amount of mistrust with America creating more tensions between the two countries. As a result of America’s founding of the nuclear missiles, the United States president, Kennedy decided he would not allow any dangerous or offensive weapons to be delivered to Cuba.
As well as demanding that the Soviets stop any construction they were doing on the missile and dismantle any finished missiles, as well as returning all dangerous weapons to the U.S.S.R. Soon after this message was received by the Soviets, the United states decided to check on the cubans missile termination progress. The U.S. was angered to see that they were still continuing their missiles and had not listened to their orders. America felt that the only option now was to attack Cuba and take down their missiles themselves. This led to much controversy between the United States and the Soviets because the topic of whether to stop or continue their nuclear missiles was argued. In the end, the Soviets decided to take down their missiles in Cuba, in return for the promise that the United states would not invade Cuba. The lack of communications between the soviets and the United States allowed much controversy argument.
Compromise between the U.S and the Soviets – tensions decreased
The important events that had occured between the U.S. and the Soviets lead to a decision that had occured due to the Soviet Union’s actions which impacted Cuba greatly was the compromise between the U.S. and the Soviet Union which resulted in the Soviets removing cuban missiles, in exchange for the America’s promise not to invade Cuba. Despite the enormous tension, Soviet and American leaders found a way out of the impasse. During the crisis, the Americans and Soviets had exchanged letters and other communications, and on October 26, Khrushchev, who led the Soviet Union during the Cold War sent a message to Kennedy in which he offered to remove the Cuban missiles in exchange for a promise by U.S. leaders not to invade Cuba. According to the Proxy Proquest of Anna Nelson, President Kennedy “seemed very doubtful about the political wisdom of suggestions to release his new letter to Khrushchev”.
The following day, the Soviet leader sent a letter proposing that the USSR would dismantle its missiles in Cuba if the Americans removed their missile installations in Turkey. If this compromise did not occur, it is certain that nuclear war would have occured. Luckily for Cuba, this event had saved them from war and destruction allowing them to continue their lives, however they were still stuck in the middle of the Soviets and the U.S. Leader of Cuba during the time, Fidel Castro. He had already resisted the Bay of Pigs Invasion in 1961 and President Kennedy made little effort to conceal his continued desire to see Castro overthrown. Cuba was able to discover documents dating to April 1962 that described a plan to invade Cuba and overthrow Castro through “Operation Mongoose”, scheduled for October 1962. As a result, Khrushchev proposed that the Soviet Union install missiles in Cuba aimed at the U.S which Castro agreed with. This had increases the tensions between the soviet union and the united states. Luckily, the missiles were terminated resulting in both countries reaching a realization of the dangers they had escaped, and therefore the leaders of both countries desired to avoid future confrontations. As a way to do so, a hot line was developed between Moscow and Washington to decrease the possibility of accidental wars such as this one.
The two also began to work toward the creation and signing of nuclear test ban treaties and agreements to limit arms sales to Third World countries whose rivalries might create conflict between the two. Most important, a method involving proxy wars was reached. It was understood that in any future conflict directly involving either U.S. or Soviet troops, the other superpower would use only local forces to fight them by proxy. The policy, followed in both Vietnam and Afghanistan, outlived both the Kennedy and Khrushchev administrations, proving that it had a lasting effect on both countries. Also showing how this had impacted the relationship between the two countries positively rather than negatively.
In conclusion, the Soviet Union played a great role in the outcome of the Cuban Missile Crisis and was a major event and impact on the relationship between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. The Soviets had impacted the crisis by attempting to break that U.S. blockade of Cuba in order to make it there. The Soviets were also involved in a compromise with the United States in order to prevent nuclear war from breaking out. This was important in developing an agreement in order to keep the future of both nations safe from war, as well as to keep conflict away in order to work without war. This is important because the Soviet Union also impacted Cuba by agreeing to remove their IL-28 bombers from Cuba. These events and occurrences had affected the relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union by preventing the biggest nuclear war, and also by allowing issues to be resolved such as the nuclear compromise, although tensions and resentment still run the surface between the United states and the Soviet union, the Cuban Missile crisis has influenced this control and change.