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Cuba During Cold War History Essay

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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016

Structuring a rigid bipolar system, which did not fit the intermediate positions that aligned to two blocks of countries grouped around two imperial powers, the U.S. and the Soviet Union. The postwar world was prepared to contemplate the hegemony of the big three, but the exhaustion of the UK and the serious problems that led to its decolonization process, gradually forced it to discharge its international responsibilities in the U.S., which thus became gendarmes in Western versus Soviet bloc (Hanhimaki & Odd, 2003). The tension between the two poles, motivated by the search for strategic balance in a world profoundly changed by the Second World War and subjected to continuous changes in the postwar period. The need for permanent reaffirmation of the two superpowers, the forced alignment of other nations and the ongoing military buildup and ideology are the most important consequences of the search for balance, which is in the nuclear race its best.

A calculated risk policy intended at first to the containment of the progress of the opponent and then to deter any hostile act but avoiding a conflict of global nature. This policy led to the continued occurrence of hot spots. Korea, Berlin, Cuba, etc. – Where the blocks measured their forces, ready to rebuild “status quo” through negotiation, in terms of risk-taking is excessive for both (Hopkins, 2007). The uncertainty about the intentions and the resilience of the adversary forced a continuous increase in the offensive capability of the blocks since the last risk to take, always present in the plans of the General Staffs would be World War III.

Cuba in the Cold War

Years before the events and causes that precipitated Castro’s revolutionary movement, relations between US and Cuba were developed within the framework of foreign policy, which at the time U.S. applied to Central America and the Caribbean, i.e. the intervention and cooperation, where Cuba interested the hemispheric power since independence from Spanish rule in 1898. This practice continued till 1905, when the U.S. sends military contingent to the island to establish democratic order, which were established through American leaders until 1909. Later in 1917, the result of strong domestic opposition, the U.S. government again intervenes militarily in Cuba, where elections were called, the process is controlled and constitutional reforms were made.

From this we can establish that Cuba was a U.S. protectorate like many other nations of Central America and the Caribbean, and established commercial possessions of great importance, confirming their political and economic interests on the island. For decades, this pattern of relationships remained until the Pres. F. Delano Roosevelt makes a change in its foreign policy, which also affected the rest of the region known as “Good Neighbor”, which consisted of greater cooperation among States, non-intervention and military occupation, to which the U.S. government repeals Platt Amendment, which empowered the U.S. to intervene in Cuba to any internal circumstances that threatened their interests. Due to the above, Cuba for the first time since 1901, exercised sovereign rights as a nation-state, although U.S. economic possessions still held on the island (Blight, Allyn & Welch, 2002).

Cuba increased and increasingly strengthened its ties with the Soviet Union, through a strong military and economic support (Roberts, 2006). The presence of ​​Soviet influence in the region, more dangerously threatened the hemispheric security. Therefore, the overthrow of the fledgling Communist government in Cuba, could not go through military intervention as in the past, whereupon, USA supported Bay of Pigs adventure by the CIA. Castro with this fact strengthened its leadership and political imperialism. After this event, relations between Cuba and the US reached the highest degree of deterioration and crisis between the two countries and ultimately between the two superpowers had started with the installation of missiles on the island by the USSR (Faria, 2002).

In January 1961 the break in relations between the U.S. Cuba and the latter approach to the Soviet regime, and U.S. planned intervention in Cuba to try to end the regime, but puts the condition that no U.S. troops involved. A few months later, in April, the invasion of the Bay of Pigs, but this will be a big failure of U.S., so that the new president, Kennedy ordered to suspend operation, but it’s too late The damage is done, there will be a succession of international reactions, which will further cool relations between the two blocs. Moscow accused the U.S. and Washington accused the USSR, provoked criticism from the UN and no division of opinion within the American states.

Since then and during the next three decades, Cuba became U.S. major problem that should be considered on the agenda, for the conduct of its foreign policy toward Latin America and the Caribbean. Indeed, isolationism was subjected to Cuba by U.S. led a series of measures against the Castro government: export embargo, suspension of imports, economic, etc. However, although the President Carter tried to improve relations in 1977 and despite the measures imposed, Cuba became the main location of the Soviets, to promote the covertly Marxist-Leninist infiltration to the rest of Latin America.

Background of the Missile Crisis.

Without a doubt, the worst episode and the most dangerous moment of the Cold War took place in October 1962, when the Soviet government proceeded to install in Cuba missile launchers of short and medium range, capable of achieving objectives in all U.S. territory north and south to the Amazon, which included the Panama Canal. In the Soviet Union after Stalin’s death and the struggles that occurred to take place – especially between the Secretary General of the Communist Party of the USSR Nikita Khrushchev and the director of the secret service, the NKVD, Lavrenty Beria, who died mysteriously – Khruschev had managed to emerge in front of power and was appointed Chairman of the Presidium of the USSR.

 In 1960, the President of the U.S., was John F. Kennedy, a Democratic candidate, Catholic, who had begun one of the most significant periods of U.S. history. His strong personality, had captivated not only the Americans but the whole world, both aspects of domestic policy – focused on the fight against organized crime and racial discrimination – such as foreign policy guidelines, aimed at restoring the U.S. leadership. US concern against the progress of Soviets in the space race compelled it to put an American on the moon and returning him safely before the end of the 1960s (Divine, 1988).

The design of military policy focused on the strengthening of conventional armaments; somehow leaving aside the tendency to focus all U.S. power supremacy in nuclear weapons. The relative loss of nuclear monopoly – then the Soviets had atomic bombs achieved largely thanks to the Rosenberg espionage and, as it turned out, some American atomic program experts themselves – only left them the advantage in terms of vectors capable of carrying long distances warheads (the ICMB – Intercontinental Balistic Missiles). However, Kennedy was firmly determined to stop the spread of communism worldwide, which had manifested itself in a special way during his visit to Berlin, where he had built the famous wall, against which he, in the midst of applause closed his famous proclamation: “Ich bein ein Berliner” (I am a Berliner).

 In Cuba, Fidel Castro, had taken office on 1 January 1959, and implemented in Cuba a tyrannical regime replacing the previous tyrannical regime of Sgt. Fulgencio Batista. Fidel Castro led a small group of guerrillas, in July 26, 1953 was unsuccessfully attacked a barracks in the town of Cuban Moncada, an action that gave him some notoriety (Allison & Zelikow, 1999). Exiled in Mexico, returned to Cuba by installing a guerrilla camp in the Sierra Maestra, where he made frequent raids on farms and villages, seeking to attract support from the residents, unhappy with the Batista regime. When, finally, after a quick campaign – based on support of the opposition to Batista and his National Guard – Fidel Castro and his guerrillas occupied Havana, were presented to world as a democrats group, who had overthrown an illegitimate government. Fidel Castro traveled to the U.S. where Richard Nixon told President Eisenhower, that Castro was a sincere supporter of democracy. However, upon completion of the first year of his administration, it had become evident that he had no intention to hold free elections to establish a democratic government in Cuba, but to implement various policies of dye-labeled Marxist , denoted Castro increasingly challenging directly oriented towards the U.S.

Castro’s approach, at first, the United States had doubts about the real intentions of the revolution headed. In the hostile attitude of the American administration towards Castro’s Cuba, which soon began nationalization, has sought the origin of the approach to the communist bloc. This hostility was openly again with the new American president John F. Kennedy (1961). Although not approved the invasion of the island by the army, consented prepared by the CIAL operations: a landing anti-Castro Cuban exiles in Bay of Pigs (April 1961) which was a complete failure. In October 1962, the White House knew the existence in Cuba of launchers aimed at medium-range missiles, capable of carrying nuclear warheads (Diez, 2002).

The alternatives that were considered were: the bombing of the landing bases or naval blockade. Prevailed this option became effective on October 22. On 26, the Soviet Union admitted the existence of nuclear missiles in Cuba, qualifying its defensive and direct control. The situation was tense and the world immediately feared the outbreak of nuclear war.

Soviet ships approached the blockade, Moscow received orders back bow. On 28, the foundation had been dismantled, the day after the American ships withdrew. Decisions of Khrushchev had the full backing of the Soviet Supreme Council. Kennedy tried to soften this Soviet defeat in the eyes of the world, pledging to remove nuclear weapons from bases in Turkey. Actually the measure lacked strategic importance as nuclear-power operating Polaris rockets-was carried by nuclear submarines Nautilus type.

The balance of terror with the constant threat of nuclear war cemented what is called Nuclear Peace, a new phase, the last, in the context of the Cold War, it would have happened to the suspension of nuclear tests in 1963, as interpreted by Mao ideological betrayal of the Soviet Union, a significant step in the Chinese distancing Moscow. Fidel Castro, totally enraged, broke the most of the resulting situation. Made an express recognition that Marxism-Leninism was and always had been, and initiated a rapprochement with the USSR open military for support, citing the possibility that the U.S. finally directly invade Cuba decided to remove him and terminating his Marxist regime. Nothing was more appropriate to the Soviet policy of “warming” of the Cold War, at the time.

In May 1961,created at the initiative of America’s “Alliance for Progress”, which seeks to avoid contagion to other communist countries in South America. In June of that year there was a new meeting between the two blocks, Kennedy and Khrushchev met in Vienna where they talked about topics of mutual interest. In this meeting they concluded that the U.S. has abandoned the policy of appeasement, to advance to the assault, and decided not to meet unless more are to reach concrete agreements. The situation did not improve, but on the contrary, the situation was becoming more tense. USA, with its desire to protect the other American countries, in January 1962 expelled Cuba from the Organization of American States (Frankel, 2004).

Tension continued to grow to its peak is in July-August 1962, when the U.S. detected Soviet ships going to Cuba, in theory bring food, but there was great distrust, so Kennedy ordered to fly spy. On these flights they discovered weapons that had the mission to protect missile bases. In September of they reached an agreement to send arms to Cuba, plus some military experts. The situation worsened, USA calls on the international community, of its block, having tough on Cuba, while the USSR threat of an attack on the island was the trigger for a new war.

A month later, on October 14, on a flight of a U.S. spy-2 showed the construction of missile launchers in Cuba. U.S. did not know how to react, three possibilities arise, contact Castro and Moscow to bomb or block the island. The first two options are not convincing, so opt for the third. The NATO countries observed this, felt the danger, so they began to help the U.S.

Day 24 began at 800 kilometers blockade around the island, and men in Florida were preparing to invade Cuba. Starting a war was something that everyone started to assume.

U.S. and USSR began to exchange messages, send letters, but nothing and no one was able to decreased the tension. Cuba made the situation worse as it started shooting at U.S. ships and shot down U-2. Finally on October 28 began to see the end of the crisis, when Khrushchev agreed to withdraw the missiles in Cuba, Kennedy provided lift the blockade against the island.

The missile crisis began slowly and thanks to the great moral ascendancy of Pope John Paul II and President Ronald Reagan’s determination to establish the space missile shield (the project called “Star Wars”) – led to the ostensible made that the national interests of Russia and its neighbors were not consistent with the claim to establish communism in the world. And finally, there was the defeat of the U.R.S.S. and the global hegemonic project of Marxism.


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