Timeline of the Cuban Missile Crisis Final Vers

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  Timeline of the Cuban Missile Crisis (October 1962) Based on a timeline provided by  Atomic additions introduced (8/0! ources #or additions: heldon M. tern$ The Week the World Stood Still   ( tan#ord$ C%: tan#ord &niversity 'ress$ 00)!Michael *obbs$ One Minute to Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and Castro on the Brink o !uclear War   (+ew ,or-: %l#red %. nop#$ 008! Monday, October 15 % & reconnaissance aircra#t reveals several  mediumran1e ballistic missile (MRBM! sites in Cuba. 2ach MRBM has a ma3imum ran1e o# 4400 miles and carries a 4me1aton nuclear warhead. %t this point$ there is no evidence o# warheads. (5n #act$ at the hei1ht o# the crisis$ Cuba was #illed with an assortment o# deadly weapons: about 60 4me1aton warheads #or the medium and intermediateran1e missiles$ 0 4-iloton warheads #or tactical cruise missiles$ 4 -iloton warheads #or 7una tactical roc-ets$ and a hand#ul o# 4-iloton atomic bombs$ as well as over 0$000 oviet troops#ar more than &. . intelli1ence estimated.!  Tuesday, October 16 Crisis be1ins: 'resident ennedy convenes his 23ecutive Committee o# the +ational ecurity Council (29CMM! to consider %merica;s options. +e1otiations with hrushchev and establishin1 a naval bloc-ade around Cuba (to stop any #uture missile shipments! are amon1 the options discussed. 5nitially$ there is #ull consensus #or swi#t military actionair stri-es to destroythe missile sites. %s the day pro1resses$ however$ the participants be1in to worry about how the oviets will respond. <= and his aides speculate that hrushchev may be deliberately provo-in1 the &. .$ hopin1 to use a &. . attac- on the Cuban missile bases as justi#ication #or sei>in1 ?est Berlin. @eneral Ma3well Aaylor$ Chairman o# the <oint Chie#s o# ta## (<C !$ warns <= that a sur1ical(limited! air stri-e may not destroy all o# the missiles be#ore they can be armed and #iredD he  pre#ers a 1eneral air stri-e that tar1ets air#ields$ oviet #i1hter aircra#t$ sur#acetoair ( %M! missile sites$ etc. But he admits that even a 1eneral air stri-e wonEt necessarily destroy all the missiles. 5nitially$ *e#ense ecretary Robert Mc+amara #avors a 1eneral air stri-e #ollowed by a #ull air and sea invasion within seven days. %s the discussion 1oes on$ however$ he be1ins to have doubts about the conseFuences o# both the air stri-es and the proposed invasion. Wednesday, October 1 %dlai tevenson$ &. . representative to the &nited +ations$ ur1es <= to remain open to ne1otiations and warns the president that many people around the world will see the oviet  2 missiles in Cuba as no more threatenin1 than the &. .Es <upiter missiles in Aur-ey (which tar1et the oviet &nion!.<= campai1ns #or *emocratic con1ressional candidates in Connecticut. 29CMM meets in hisabsence. Mc+amara repeats his doubts about the e##icacy o# air stri-es (no 1uarantee that all the missiles will be destroyed! and the possible conseFuences o# a #ullscale invasion. =ormer ecretary o# tate *ean %cheson attends the meetin1 and recommends immediate military action.Ahe <C prepare plans #or a 1eneral air stri-e$ with a possibility o# a #ollowup invasion.%n ) intermediateran1e ballistic missile (5RBM! site$ the #irst o# three to be identi#ied$ is detected in Cuba by a & #li1ht. 2ach 5RBM has a ma3imum ran1e o# more than 000 miles andcarries a 4me1aton nuclear warhead. 2very major %merican city with the e3ception o# eattle would be a potential tar1et.  Thursday, October 1! ?ith <= present$ 29CMM continues to debate the various alternatives: air stri-es$ air stri-es  plus invasion$ bloc-ade$ ne1otiations with the oviets. Mc+amara seems to be leanin1 toward the bloc-ade as the best #irst step. <= mentions the possibility o# tradin1 the &. . missiles in Aur-ey #or the oviet missiles in Cuba. Ge ar1ues that our 2uropean allies would be very upset i# we lost ?est Berlin because o# our obsession with Cuba. (%#ter all$ the 2uropean allies have lived #or years with the oviet &nion nearby and the reality o# oviet medium and intermediateran1e missiles pointed at them. o what i# there are oviet missiles 0 miles #rom %merican shoresH! Gowever$ he also admits (and his aides a1ree! that i# the &. . does nothin1 about the missiles in Cuba$ the 2uropean allies would doubt our commitment to their security.<= su11ests that i# we do carry out an air stri-e$ we should warn the oviets #irst$ to avoid the appearance o# doin1 what the <apanese did at 'earl Garbor. %ttorney @eneral Robert =. ennedy$who up to this point had been one o# <=Es most belli1erent advisors$ #orce#ully a1rees with this idea.'resident ennedy meets with oviet =orei1n Minister %ndrei @romy-o and advises him that %merica will not tolerate oviet o##ensive missiles in Cuba. (<= does not tell @romy-o that the &. . has evidence o# o##ensive missiles.! @romy-o denies the presence o# any oviet weaponry in Cuba.  riday, October 19 'resident ennedy meets with the ecretary o# *e#ense$ Robert Mc+amara$ and the members o# the <oint Chie#s o# ta## (<C !. Ahe <C $ and especially %ir =orce Chie# o# ta## Curtis 7eMay$ are clearly impatient with what they re1ard as civilian ditherin1D 7eMay$ who treats <= with  barely dis1uised contempt$ ar1ues that a bloc-ade is almost as bad as the appeasement at Munich. <= ar1ues that the missiles are more o# a diplomatic and political problem than a dire military threat$ since the oviets already have intercontinental ballistic missiles (5CBMs! based inthe & R pointed at &. . cities. %lso$ he emphasi>es that attac-in1 Cuba poses the ris- o# escalation into a #ullscale nuclear war$ pointin1 out that oviet 5CBMs$ launched #rom the oviet&nion$ could -ill or seriously injure 80400 million %mericans. <= leaves #or hio and 5llinois to campai1n #or *emocratic con1ressional candidates. 5n his absence$ Robert ennedy and Aed orenson$ pecial Counsel to the 'resident$ try to #or1e a consensus on how the &. . should respond. R= and Mc+amara ar1ue in #avor o# be1innin1  3 with a bloc-ade$ while Mc@eor1e Bundy ( pecial %ssistant #or +ational ecurity!$ <C ChairmanMa3well Aaylor$ *ean %cheson$ and several others insist that the &. . should carry out an air stri-e immediately. =rustrated by the impasse$ R= persuades the president to return to ?ashin1ton early$ in order brea- the deadloc-.  #aturday, October 2$ 'resident ennedy returns to ?ashin1ton early in the mornin1. %#ter more discussion$ <= ma-es it clear that he pre#ers to start with the bloc-ade$ with the option o# carryin1 out air stri-es i# the oviets #ail to dismantle the missiles. <= also notes that we may have to be willin1 to ta-eour <upiter missiles out o# Aur-ey and 5taly$ i# the oviets raise the issue. Ge orders that military  personal in Aur-ey be in#ormed that they must not #ire their <upiter missiles$ even i# attac-ed$ without a direct presidential order. +ew intelli1ence reveals that 46 MRBM launchers in Cuba would be ready to #ire missiles in lessthan ei1ht hours. %lso$ #or the #irst time$ the C5% #inds visual evidence o# a stora1e bun-er #or nuclear warheads.<= directs Aed orenson to be1in wor- on a speech to the nation in#ormin1 the %merican people o# the e3istence o# the missiles and outlinin1 our course o# action. #unday, October 21 'resident ennedy o##icially decides on a naval bloc-ade o# Cuba. (Ahe administration decides to call the bloc-ade a Fuarantine$ because institutin1 a bloc-ade would be considered an act o# war.! Ahe tate *epartment be1ins in#ormin1 #orei1n leaders o# the &. . policy. Monday, October 22 29CMM meets to discuss the dra#tin1 o# the presidentEs speech and to be1in preparin1 #or a  proposed resolution in the &nited +ations.'reparations #or a massive air stri-e and a possible #ollowup invasion move #orward. Ahe &. . military alert is set at *2=C+ I (*2=C+ ) is routine readiness and *2=C+ 4 is nuclear war!. C5% chie# <ohn McCone reveals that #our oviet submarines have been located in the western %tlantic. (Ahe &. . had been trac-in1 them via electronic eavesdroppin1 ever since they le#t port on ctober 4 st .!<=$ alon1 with Mc+amara$ ecretary o# tate *ean Rus-$ and several other aides$ have a very contentious meetin1 with the bipartisan leaders o# Con1ress$ several o# whom call #or an immediate air stri-e and condemn the bloc-ade as insu##iciently a11ressive. %t J pm 2 A$ 'resident ennedy addresses the %merican public on television and announces his  plan to implement a naval bloc-ade o# Cuba. ( oviet %mbassador to the &. . %natoly *obrynin had received a copy o# the speech about an hour earlier.! Ahere are scattered shorta1es o# #ood and emer1ency supplies$ as some %mericans en1a1e in panic buyin1. +ationwide$ about 40 million citi>ens choose to leave their cities in search o# sa#ety.  4 Castro mobili>es all o# Cuba;s military #orces. 5n public$ hrushchev responds an1rily to ennedyEs speech$ orderin1 oviet ships to i1nore the bloc-adeD but he secretly orders all ships containin1 missilerelated car1oes to return to the oviet &nion immediately. (%t this point$ hrushchev considered allowin1 oviet troops to use tactical nuclear weapons in the case o# a &. . invasion o# Cuba$ but instead he decides to prohibit their use without his e3plicit authori>ation.! Tuesday, October 2% Mc+amara and Bundy persuade <= that it would be a 1ood idea to order lowlevel reconnaissance #li1hts$ so that %dlai tevenson$ the &. . ambassador to the &nited +ations$ will have visual proo# when he con#ronts the oviets. Ahe % (r1ani>ation o# %merican tates! votes unanimously to support the decision to Fuarantine Cuba. <=$ Mc+amara$ Rus-$ and Aaylor discuss the details o# how to en#orce the Fuarantine without startin1 a warwhat to do i# a ship i1nores the bloc-ade$ how to respond i# a ship stops but re#uses to be boarded$ etc. <= is brie#ed on how poorly prepared the &. . population is #or nuclear war. Wednesday, October 2& Ahe Fuarantine 1oes into e##ect at 40 am 2 A. 7owlevel reconnaissance #li1hts over Cuba be1in.Mc+amara approves a #irstever reFuest by the <C to raise trate1ic %ir Command bombers to *2=C+ .Mc+amara shares new intelli1ence indicatin1 that there is at least one oviet submarine near the Fuarantine area$ which will ma-e the situation at the Fuarantine line e3tremely dan1erous. (Ahe &. . doesnEt -now it$ but the #our oviet submarines in the western %tlantic are carryin1 nucleartipped torpedoes that could easily destroy an aircra#t carrier.! Mc+amara e3plains that the +avy will use practice depth char1es to #orce the submarine to the sur#ace be#ore interceptin1 the car1o ships. <= is e3tremely alarmed by this scenario$ but he reluctantly 1ives his approval.%s 29CMM is discussin1 possible military contin1encies (includin1 con#rontations with ovietsubmarines!$ C5% chie# <ohn McCone reports somethin1 startlin1: that the si3 ships that were approachin1 the Fuarantine line have either stopped or reversed direction. (Ahis is the moment when ecretary o# tate *ean Rus- apparently whispered$ ?e are eyeball to eyeball$ and 5 thin- the other #ellow just blin-ed. 5n #act$ the oviets had already blin-ed on Monday ni1ht$ when hrushchev issued orders statin1 that all missilerelated car1o vessels should immediately return to the oviet &nion. Ahe &. . did not reali>e that the ships had turned around until ?ednesday mornin1.! 2ncoura1ed by the oviet response$ <= orders the +avy not to stop or board any ships on the Fuarantine line. &nbe-nownst to the &. . 1overnment$ hrushchev has decided that he will o##er to remove the missiles in return #or a &. . pled1e not to invade Cuba.
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