Cuban Missile Crisis
The Cuban Missile Crisis was a confrontation between the United States, the Soviet Union, and Cuba during the Cold War. In Russia (and most Europe), it is termed the "Caribbean Crisis," while in Cuba it is called the "October Crisis." The crisis ranks with the Berlin Blockade as one of the major confrontations of the Cold War, and is often regarded as the moment in which the Cold War came closest to a nuclear war.
The climax period of the crisis began on October 15, 1962, when United States reconnaissance photographs taken by an American U-2 spy plane revealed missile bases being built in Cuba, and ended two weeks later on October 28, 1962, when President of the United States John F. Kennedy and United Nations Secretary-General U Thant reached an agreement with the Soviets to dismantle the missiles in Cuba in exchange for a no invasion agreement and a secret removal of the Jupiter and Thor missiles in Turkey.
Kennedy, in his first public speech on the crisis, given on October 22, 1962, gave the key warning,
It shall be the policy of this nation to regard any nuclear missile launched from Cuba against any nation in the Western Hemisphere as an attack on the United States, requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union.
This speech included other key policy statements, beginning with:
To halt this offensive buildup, a strict quarantine on all offensive military equipment under shipment to Cuba is being initiated. All ships of any kind bound for Cuba from whatever nation and port will, if found to contain cargoes of offensive weapons, be turned back. This quarantine will be extended, if needed, to other types of cargo and carriers. We are not at this time, however, denying the necessities of life as the Soviets attempted to do in their Berlin blockade of 1948.
He ordered intensified surveillance, and cited cooperation from the foreign ministers of the Organization of American States (OAS). Kennedy "directed the Armed Forces to prepare for any eventualities; and I trust that in the interest of both the Cuban people and the Soviet technicians at the sites, the hazards to all concerned of continuing the threat will be recognized." He called for emergency meetings of the OAS and United Nations Security Council to deal with the matter.