In the early 1960s, while still in the Cold War Era, the Cuban Missile Crisis occurred. Not only was the USSR behind in the arm’s race with the United States, it became apparent that the missiles they did have were not capable of reaching the United States. They had only enough power to inflict damage in Europe. The United States, however, had the capability of striking any point in the USSR. By April of 1962, Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet Premier, came up with a plan to place some of the USSRs intermediate range missiles off the Southeastern shore of the United States in Cuba. Realization of this plan would provide additional security against a U.S. attack.
At that time, Fidel Castro of Cuba was seeking additional security for his country after the the Bay of Pigs invasion in April of 1961. Though unsuccessful, the attack placed Cuban on heightened alert as they felt another attack was imminent. As a result, Castro agreed to allow the USSR to place missiles on Cuba. Once this permission was granted, the Soviet Union worked fast and hard on missile installations. However, by October of 1962, photographs taken from a U.S. reconnaissance plane detected the construction of the USSR missiles.
President John F. Kennedy, once he was informed of this discovery, gathered twelve of his top advisors – which they formed as the EX-COMM group. Seven days of intense debate ensued, and a decision was finally reached to place a naval quarantine around the island of Cuba. When he announced this discovery and his plans to the American public, he also made it known that should any missiles be launched from Cuba, he would consider it an attack by the USSR. He demanded the Soviets dismantle and remove their offensive weapons from Cuba.
After heightened military status with the shooting down of a U-2 over Cuba, Khrushchev wrote the U.S. and agreed to return the arms to the Soviet Union if the U.S. agreed not to invade Cuba. Finally, on October 28, 1962, an agreement was reached between President Kennedy and Prime Minister Nikita Khrushchev and nuclear war was averted. Thanks to these two men, the incredibly tense Cuban Missile Crisis of the Cold War Era peacefully came to an end.