The Cold War

The thirteen-day standoff in October 1962 between the U.S and the USSR saw the tensions of the Cold war rise to an all-time high since its start 1947. This naval confrontation between what was at the time, the world’s largest superpowers took place over the Caribbean Sea and was caused by a series of events, following the major changes that the new communist leader of Cuba; Fidel Castro made once he came into power. Castro took power in 1959, 12 years into a Cold war between the USSR and the U.S. At the time, The U.S had a culture of hysteria surrounding communism known as “Red scare”. Understanding this stigma surrounding communism is also fundamental in understanding U.S intervention in Cuba. Not only did Fidel Castro introduce changes that would be detrimental to the U. S’s economic ties in Cuba but he also brought what was perceived by the U.S as the “communist threat”, 1’518 miles from American soil, when he declared himself a Marxist Leninist on December 2, 1961. It will become evident that the naval standoff that brought mankind to the brink of nuclear war known as the Cuban missile crisis, is a result of U.S backlash to Fidel Castro’s anti-American policy along with his strong ties to the USSR, and communism.
 
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz became prime minister and assumed political and military power over Cuba after he overthrew the Batista government in 1959. In the following months, Castro secured his position as prime minister and leader of Cuba, by demonstrating his ability in directing government alongside his decisive changes in Cuba’s economic policy. The previous administration of Fulgencio Batista had granted many concessions to the U.S “in mining, public utilities enterprises, and sugar,” benefiting them considerably. however, all these concessions had been completely discontinued in the months following Castro’s rise to power. “It was reported more than $1 billion in direct U.S. investments in Cuba had been taken over by the Cuban government”. By nationalizing the economy and prominently American companies, Castro eliminated the strong economic foothold that the U.S had in Cuba, further providing them with an incentive to intervene. As a result, the U.S decides to end diplomatic ties with Cuba after all U.S businesses are nationalized absent of compensation. In March of 1960, after Castro signs a trade agreement with the USSR, President Dwight Eisenhower, as a reaction directed the CIA to conduct operations to see an end to Castro’s power in government, and Cuba’s trade with the USSR.

Eisendrath, Craig. “Cuban Missile Crisis.” In Encyclopedia of American Studies

Thomas M. Leonard. McFarland, “Nationalization Law of 1960.” In Encyclopedia of Cuban-United States

“Cuba.” In The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide,

In February 1961, the Kennedy administration maintaining the goal established by President Eisenhower authorized a plan to invade Bahía de Cochinos or the Bay of pigs on the south coast of Cuba using 1500 CIA trained Cuban exiles, with the intention of overthrowing the Castro regime. Despite the intended secrecy of the operation, Cuban intelligence had knowledge of the invasion and from April 17th-20th of 1961 Cuban military defeated the invaders leading to both the solidification of Cuba and Fidel Castro’s image, along with considerable embarrassment for the U.S and the Kennedy administration. Following the Bay of Pigs invasions came many other U.S attempts to topple the Castro regime by assassination or otherwise, such as “operation mongoose” which took place on November 30th, 1961. The U. S’s motive in this is not solely a product of Castro’s anti-American policy, regarding the economy but also his political views surrounding communism and his growing relationship with the USSR. In attempted to end the Castro regime, and failing, the U.S only prompts Fidel Castro to take action to maintain his regime and protect Cuba from another invasion, and on December 2, 1961, he does just that, by proclaiming himself a Marxist Leninist and declaring Cuba “a communist state whose economy would develop along Marxist-Leninist lines”. In doing this, Castro acquires a powerful ally in the east but also reveals himself as a much larger threat to the U.S then initially perceived.

“Bay of Pigs invasion.” In Britannica Concise Encyclopedia,

“Cuba.” In The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide,

Lagasse, Paul. “Bay of Pigs Invasion.” In The Columbia Encyclopedia,

With Cuba now officially declared a communist state, the USSR must offer aid to Cuba whenever needed, or would otherwise suffer a loss to their public image. Castro knew this and sought help from his allies in the east. In response, Soviet Russian premier; Nikita Khrushchev authorized and executed operation “Anadyr”, which was an operation to secretly aid Cuba and maintain the survival of the Castro regime. To guarantee its secrecy and ensure that U.S intelligence would have no knowledge of this operation the USSR would use Soviet military and counterintelligence tactic known as “Maskirovka”. This is a mix of many tactics, used to either deny, deceive, mislead or delay any type of collection of data. In the case of operation “Anadyr”, ships headed to Cuba were controlled by intelligence officers, the Soviet troops were told that they were being sent on a mission in the east of Soviet territory, and were handed winter coats, and were prohibited from being on the deck of ships during the day. In the summer of 1962, 40,000 Soviet troops and long ranged nuclear-tipped missiles arrived in Fidel Castro’s Cuba. At first, maintaining the secrecy of Soviet aid in Cuba was a success, but In October 1962 “American reconnaissance planes discovered that the Soviet Union was installing long-range ballistic missiles in Cuba”. In response to this discovery, President Kennedy made an announcement on nationwide television, ordering massed troops in Florida, and naval preparations. He also warned the Soviets that any missiles fired from Cuba at the United States would be “met by an instant all-out retaliation against the

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