JFK refused to bomb Cuba, negotiated peaceful outcome to the Missile Crisis, was reopening US - Cuba diplomatic relations

Cuban Missile Crisis 1962

the closest we got to nuclear war
President Kennedy refused the Generals' advice to attack Cuba

The 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis was the closest the world has gotten to nuclear war. Understanding how nuclear war was averted in October, 1962 is crucial for shifting the world away from permanent war.

A good introduction to the Cuban Missile Crisis is the film "Thirteen Days, " starring Kevin Costner. Part of the dialogue is based on secret taping of Oval Office conversations, including of the generals who wanted nuclear war instead of the compromise that Kennedy and Krushchev made to defuse the crisis.

An earlier film "The Missiles of October" was made for television in the 1970s. It had a much lower production budget than Thirteen Days and also did not have as much declassified information to base the film upon.


in these present days of strain, it is well to remember that no country's leader supported the U.S. more forcefully than did France. General de Gaulle said, "It is exactly what I would have done," adding that it was not necessary to see the photographs [of the missile sites in Cuba], as "a great government such as yours does not act without evidence."
-- Robert F. Kennedy
, "Thirteen Days: A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis," originally published 1968, reissued in Norton paperback 1999, pp. 40-41
(it's hard to imagine the same credibility for US government claims, now)


How My Father And President Kennedy Saved The World
25 min read
The Cuban Missile Crisis as seen from the Kremlin
Sergei Khrushchev
October 2002


PBS Video: Three Men Go To War
October 23, 2012


Thank you Vasili Arkhipov, the man who stopped nuclear war
Fifty years ago, Arkhipov, a senior officer on the Soviet B-59 submarine, refused permission to launch its nuclear torpedo
Edward Wilson, Saturday 27 October 2012


Secrets of the Dead: The Man Who Saved the World

"the person who prevented a nuclear war was a Russian submariner, Vasili Arkhipov."





National Archives exhibit (with online version)

To the Brink: JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis


Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
Eyeball to Eyeball: The Inside (Photographic) Story of the Cuban Missile Crisis
Presenter: Mr. Dino Brugioni (former senior official, National Photographic Interpretation Center)
Friday, October 19
7:30 pm, Eastern Daylight TIme (with live webcast)
Airbus IMAX Theater
Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA






Cuban Missile Crisis: the other, secret one

Cubans remember missile crisis "victory"



SEP 01, 2017


William Perry: On the Cuban Missile Crisis, President Kennedy's view after the crisis was he believed there was one chance in three of that ending in a nuclear holocaust. Which, even with the nuclear weapons we had in those days, would have probably brought our civilization to an end. One chance in three–that's pretty bad odds for a result that catastrophic. And I think Kennedy was optimistic, because he didn't know when he made that statement that the Soviets already had nuclear weapons on tactical missiles in Cuba, with orders to use them against any attack. And he was being recommended to conduct a conventional attack against Cuba by a unanimous recommendation of his Joint Chiefs of Staff. Had he done that, our troops would have been decimated on the beach, and then the general nuclear war surely would have followed. We were that close to the end of civilization.

Robert Scheer: As another footnote, you were an advisor then, and I–

WP: I was an advisor, right.

RS: –I read in your writing that actually, had it not been for the fact that the head of the Soviet retaliatory force was on the submarine that was forced to rise, the commander of that sub had already decided–

WP: Yeah. That was another near miss that Kennedy didn't know about at the time. We only learned about that later. But the nuclear, the Soviets had a nuclear submarine shadowing the ships they were sending down there. And we had destroyers that were dropping depth charge on their submarine. And the commander of the submarine had decided he was going to sink that destroyer by firing a nuclear torpedo at him. Had he done that, he would have sunk our ship; and that, undoubtedly, again, would have led to a general nuclear war. He had other officers on the ship who persuaded him not to do that. The Soviet policy in those days for the use of that nuclear torpedo did not require the commander to go back to Moscow to get authorization, because the communication was so uncertain; but it did require that all three of the senior commanders agree to do that, and the other two did not agree. That's what saved us. It was two out of three on one side instead of two out of three on the other side.The other point I want to make is that at this time–and this is a term that Jerry Brown has used, I think it's very apt–that we're sleepwalking, we're sleepwalking into a nuclear war. And he used that analogy from World War I, where historians described how we were sleepwalking into World War I; nobody knew, understood what the consequences were going to be. And that seems to be what we face now. The analogy here to World War I is much more apt than the analogy to World War II; World War II, we had somebody consciously starting the war. I mean, Hitler had a plan and a set of actions, and that led to World War II; World War I, we just were sleepwalking into it. That's what the danger is today: we will sleepwalk, we will blunder, into a nuclear war, not because either leader, any of the leaders who have nuclear weapons are consciously planning a nuclear war. An India to Pakistan nuclear war would be a result of a blunder also, not because the two presidents want to start a war, but because something happens and it gets out of control. A minor military conflict could quickly escalate into a major war, the decisions being made by commanders in the field, not by the two presidents.

On November 22, 1963, Cuban leader Fidel Castro met with French journalist Jean Daniel in his office in Havana. Daniel had just met with President Kennedy and was his emissary to discuss resumption of US Cuban diplomatic relations. When the news of Kennedy's assassination arrived, Castro said it changed everything and the potential opening between the two countries did not happen. Shortly afterwards, Castro gave a typically lengthy speech pointing out that the assassination had been done by the American right wing, a correct observation.

President Obama finally normalized diplomatic relations with Cuba a half century after Kennedy's initiative, but media coverage of Obama's opening ignored the missed opportunity of 1963. Even the "alternative" liberal / left / progressive media did not discuss the planned normalization aborted by JFK's removal from office.



Castro's speech the day after President Kennedy's assassination, noting that Oswald looked like an intelligence agent, not a leftist


Concerning the Facts and Consequences
of the Tragic Death of
President John F. Kennedy
November 23rd, 1963

by Fidel Castro




When Castro Heard The News,” by Jean Daniel, New Republic (December 7, 1963), pp. 7-9, and “Unofficial Envoy: An Historic Report From Two Capitals, ” by Jean Daniel, New Republic (December 14, 1963), pp. 15-20.

The story of Kennedy’s quest to negotiate with Castro on a new U.S.-Cuban relationship is told by Cuba’s then-UN ambassador Carlos Lechuga in his book In the Eye of the Storm: Castro, Khrushchev, Kennedy, and the Missile Crisis (Ocean Press, 1995) and by U.S. diplomat William Attwood in The Reds and the Blacks; A Personal Adventure (Harper & Row, 1967) and The Twilight Struggle: Tales of the Cold War (Harper & Row, 1987).

See also: Document 367. Memorandum by William Attwood and Document 374. Memorandum From William Attwood to Gordon Chase of the National Security Council Staff, New York, November 8, 1963, from FRUS, 1961-1963, Volume XI, Cuban Missile Crisis and Aftermath, October 1962-December 1963 (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1997); “Kennedy Sought Dialogue with Cuba – Initiative With Castro Aborted by Assassination, Declassified Documents Show,” The National Security Archive, November 24, 2003.]


JFKMoon.org - JFKMLKRFK.com - by Mark Robinowitz - updated January 27, 2019