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Annotated Bibliography

Primary Sources


Kennedy, Robert F. Thirteen Days: A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis. New York:
W.W. Norton, 1969. Print.

Thirteen Days is a book written by Robert F. Kennedy, brother and advisor of President John F.
Kennedy. He served as Attorney General of the US and was a chief advisor to Kennedy during
the Missile Crisis. He details his experience of the decision-making process of EXCOMM during
Cuban Missile Crisis and the result of Kennedys decision. This was an incredible primary
source as it gave a firsthand account of the US Government during the Cuban Missile Crisis.


Castro, Fidel. "Prime Minister Fidel Castros Letter to Premier Khrushchev." Letter to Nikita
Khrushchev. 26 Oct. 1962. MS. Havana, Cuba.

This was a letter written to Nikita Khrushchev by Fidel Castro, revealing the Cuban and Soviet
perspective of the crisis and their predictions of how the US would retaliate. Their predictions of
the surgical airstrike option and the invasion were very accurate, as EXCOMM was debating on
doing this. We wanted to look at documents and sources from the opposing side, as learning
about this perspective will help us understand more about the crisis as a whole.

Kennedy, John F. "President Kennedy's Letter to Premier Khrushchev." Letter to Nikita

Khrushchev. 6 Nov. 1962. The Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962: The Documents.
National Security Archive, n.d. Web. 7 Jan. 2017.

This was a letter written to Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev from US President John F.
Kennedy. In this letter, Kennedy asserts his position and the position of the United States after
the discovery of the missile sites in Cuba and states that the only way to defuse the situation is
for the USSR to remove their missiles from Cuba. He also states how nuclear power across the
globe should be monitored and controlled, setting a precedent for nuclear relations in the future.

Legal and Practical Consequences of a Blockade of Cuba. N.p.: Federation of American

Scientists, 19 Oct. 1962. PDF.
A blockade is a vague term - what does it really mean? This document allowed us to learn
what the blockade ordered by John F. Kennedy really meant and if Kennedy even could legally
order it. We learned that a blockade is legally and officially an act of war, further cementing the
fact that Kennedy was taking a risky stand by ordering it, as the Soviets could choose to retaliate
by force.

Major Consequences of Certain US Courses of Action in Cuba. Langley:

Central Intelligence Agency, 20 Oct. 1962. PDF.

This was an analysis done by the CIA to evaluate the consequences of different courses of action
by the US in response to the discovery of Soviet missiles in Cuba. This document evaluated the 4
possible courses of action the US could take: acquiescence, military action, confronting the
USSR, and a blockade. This was an invaluable resource to us as it allowed us to see the immense
risk in the decision-making process and see the consequence analysis that led to the decision and
stand that Kennedy took against the USSR.

Malinovsky, Radion Yakovlevich. Telegrams from Malinovsky to Pliyev. Washington D.C.:

George Washington University, n.d. PDF.

This was an order sent by Soviet Military Commander Rodion Malinovsky to a Soviet leader
Pliyev that told troops on the Cuban mainland and missile sites to prepare and stockpile in case
of a possible US airstrike or invasion. This showed how the enemy was prepared and took
counter measures to the actions discussed among EXCOMM. This would have made these
actions less effective and furthers our argument that the stand Kennedy took with the blockade
was wise and the correct choice.

McNamara, Robert S. Notes on October 21, 1962 Meeting with the President. Washington D.C:
National Security Archive, n.d. PDF.

These were notes taken by Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara on a military briefing
during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The President is in the company of many of his generals and
military leaders and they provide him with an assessment of the effectiveness of different
military approaches. It was clearly stated that out of all the missiles on Cuba, the US probably
only knew of about 60% and a surgical military airstrike was not even guaranteed to take out all
of the known missiles. We used this in our rebuttal to the counter argument that military action,
instead of a blockade, was a bold and decisive move. However, due to the ineffectiveness of the
airstrike, it would have been a foolish one.

Schlesinger, Arthur, Jr. Post Mortem on Cuba. Washington D.C: The White House, 29
Oct. 1962. PDF.

This was an evaluation of the Cuban Missile Crisis as a whole and an assessment of how
American foreign policy evolved from the experience. Schlesinger argues that the use of limited
force was they key to resolving the issue without the conflict escalating. This also mentions how
the crisis set the precedent for future negotiations on the limitations of nuclear weapons between
the two superpowers and any other country that acquires them.


Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and President John F. Kennedy. 1962. John F.
Kennedy Library, Washington D.C.

This is a photograph of Robert F. Kennedy and his brother, President John F. Kennedy. This
photograph shows how highly President Kennedy regarded his brothers advice during the Cuban
Missile Crisis as they are talking alone in private away from the other members of EXCOMM.
They both agreed that military action was not the way the US should respond.

Cuba Blockade Headline. 1962. From A Native Son. By Mark Arnold. Web. 29
Dec. 2016.

This newspaper headline shows how the stand that Kennedy took against the USSR was shown
to the public. By stating that Kennedys decision to blockade Cuba was sending a message to the
USSR to lay off this newspaper reaffirms the fact that Kennedy took a firm stand.

Cuban Missile Crisis Address to the Nation. 1962 . American Rhetoric. Web.

This picture depicts Kennedy addressing the public about the Cuban Missile Crisis. In this
broadcast, he explains the whole nature of the situation in detail, including the type of missiles,
his viewpoints, and how the missiles are fully capable of striking large American cities in the
southern region of the country as well.

Cuban Missile Crisis Speech. 1962. Washington D.C. CBS News. Web. 29 Dec. 2016.

This is a photograph of Kennedy addressing the people of the US about the discovery of Soviet
missiles in Cuba and to tell them about the decided course of action that the US will take - a
JFK: The Negotiator. N.d. Harvard Business School HBX. Web. 10 Jan. 2017.

This is a photograph of Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis. His facial expression shows no
sign of fear or anxiety, which was prevalent during the crisis. Instead his expression shows that
he is strong and assertive, a representation of the stand that he took against the USSR and of his
firm grip on EXCOMM.

Jupiter Emplacement. 1961. Washington D.C. Redstone Army Military History. Web. 26 Mar.

This is a photograph of the American Jupiter missiles stationed in Turkey that were aimed at the
Soviet Union. Although unknown to the American public, these missiles played a major role in
the discussions that led to the end of the crisis. Even after the crisis ended, the fact that the US
agreed to dismantle these missiles was not publicized. As a result, to the public, it seemed that
the US won the conflict and forced the USSR to back down.

Knudsen, Robert. President John F. Kennedy Signs Cuba Quarantine Order. 1962.
KN-C24734, n.p.

This photo depicts President Kennedy signing official documents initiating the naval blockade
and quarantine of Cuba. Kennedys firm action would then help the world avoid a nuclear war.

McNamara and Kennedy. 1962. Harvard Film Archive. Foreign Policy In Focus. Web.
29 Dec. 2016.

This is a photograph of Kennedy and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara during an

EXCOMM meeting deciding upon a course of action to take against Cuba. Because of all of the
deliberation and consequence-analysis that went into the decision of what to do, we decided to
include the picture on the website.

Medium Range Ballistics Missile Site in Los Palacios. 1962. National Security Archive.
Web. 29 Dec. 2016.

This was one of the two first pictures that led to the discovery of the construction of missile sites
in Cuba. These pictures were taken by U2 reconnaissance aircraft flying over Cuba on October
14th, 1962. The missiles pictured were MRBMs, Medium Range Ballistics Missiles, which had
the capability of reaching the United States.
Medium-range Ballistic Missile site at San Diego de Los Banos, Cuba. 1962.
National Security Archive. Web. 29 Dec. 2016.

This was the second of the first pictures taken of the missile sites in Cuba on October 14th.
These pictures alerted the US government to the presence of Soviet missiles in Cuba.

"REDS BACK DOWN ON CUBA." The Kansas City Times [Kansas City] 29 Oct. 1962,
VOL 125 ed.: 1. Web.

This newspaper headline announces the final decisions of Khrushchev to ship the missiles in
Cuba back to the Soviet Union. It praises Kennedy by stating Kennedy Says Nations Swept
Away From Danger and World Sighs in Relief illustrating that the Kennedys actions were
risky, yet they pay off in the end.

Rickerby, Art. Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. and JFK. 1963. Web.

This is a photograph of President Kennedy and Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Special Assistant to the
President, who mainly worked and focused on Latin American affairs. This picture demonstrates
the close relationship the two had throughout Kennedys career.

Soviet Freighter Anosov Carrying Missiles. 1962. Getty Images, n.p.

This is a photograph of a Soviet ship transporting Soviet missiles from Cuba in accordance with
their agreement with the United States. The U.S. made sure the Soviets followed through with
their deal by flying helicopters directly above the ships to monitor the shipments.

Soviet Freighter Okhotsk Carrying Missiles. 1962. Getty Images, n.p.

This photo is an aerial photo of a soviet ship carrying missiles from Cuba. This demonstrates the
Soviet Union following through with the US-Soviet agreement to remove their missiles from

Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and U.S. President John F. Kennedy. 1961.
US Presidents with Russian Officials, Washington D.C. U.S Department of State. Web.
29 Dec. 2016.

This picture shows the leader of the USSR, Nikita Khrushchev and the US President John F.
Kennedy - the two world leaders who were at odds during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Stoughton, Cecil. President Kennedy Signs Cuba Quarantine Proclamation. 1962. John F.
Kennedy Library, Washington D.C. Cuban Missile Crisis. Web.

This is a photograph of President Kennedy singing the Cuban blockade into action. This
photograph is influential as it showcases the moment where Kennedy actually makes his stand.
Because our argument is completely centered around his stand, we wanted to include it in our

Tames, George. The Loneliest Job. 1961. The White House, Washington D.C.

This picture sheds light on the immense pressures that Kennedy was facing not only during the
crisis, but during his entire presidency. During the crisis, Kennedy held the fate of the world in
his hands; a wrong decision could literally mean the end of the world. This was a good picture to
showcase on the title page of the website.

U.S. Navy low-level photograph of San Cristobal MRBM site no. 1. 1962. The National Security

Archive. Web. 1 Apr. 2017.

This was one of the first pictures of the sites in Cuba that alerted the US to the buildup of Soviet
nuclear missiles in Cuba. This was the event that incited and officially marked the start of the
Cuban Missile Crisis, the most dangerous moment of all of human history.

6 Frog Missile transporters under a tree at a military camp near Remedios. 1962. The National

Security Archive, n.p.

This photo is an aerial photo of a Frog missile transporter in Cuba. During the removal period of
the missiles, the US monitored military camps like Remedios, Cuba. This demonstrates the
Soviet Union following through with the US-Soviet agreement to remove their missiles from

Secondary Sources


Cayton, Andrew R. L. America: Pathways To The Present. Needham, MA: Prentice Hall,
2000. Print.
This is another school textbook. This textbook showed us how John F. Kennedys stand is
regarded, even today (more than 50 years later) as a bold and heroic act to save the entire world
from nuclear war. The text also corroborated how Kennedys firm resolve was instrumental to
defusing the crisis.

Davidson, James West., and Michael B. Stoff. The American Nation. Upper Saddle River,
NJ: Prentice Hall in Association with American Heritage, 2000. Print.

This is a textbook that is commonly used in American History classrooms. The section on the
Cuban Missile Crisis showed us the lasting impact of Kennedys stand and and how influential it
was in retrospect.


Alexander, Wilson. Consequence, Compromise, and Combination: The American

Decision to Blockade Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Armstrong
Undergraduate Journal of History 6, no. 2 (Nov. 2016).

This secondary source is a website completed in November of 2016 which discusses the events
of the Cuban Missile Crisis in detail, covering the discovery, the decision-making process by the
US government, the possible risks and consequences, and the solution. This was an excellent
secondary source as it gave us a historians perspective on the crisis as opposed to someone who
actually participated in the crisis itself.

"Bay of Pigs Invasion." History.com. A&E Television Networks, 2009. Web. 03 Apr. 2017.

We decided to look into the Bay of Pigs invasion as it was one of the biggest blunders of the US
during the Cold War that set back US/Soviet relations and set the scene for the Cuban Missile
Crisis. By exploring the context of the crisis, we were able to gain a better understanding of the
place of the Crisis in the overall scheme of the Cold War. We wanted to explore this through
secondary sources as well as we were analyzing this event in retrospect through the perspective
of a historian - this way we could most accurately determine its effect on the entirety of the Cold

Gopalan, Karthik. "Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis." Foreign Policy Journal. N.p.,
05 Sept. 2016. Web. 07 Jan. 2017.

This online article provided an overview of Kennedys moves during the Cuban Missile Crisis
through the aspect of the US Foreign Policy Process. It evaluates the situation that Kennedy was
placed in during the crisis and determines the effectiveness of Kennedys use of the standard
Foreign Policy Process. The article also provides detailed explanation about the factors that
influenced Kennedys tight grip on foreign policy during the crisis. This article was important as
it allowed us to observe how many factors influenced Kennedys resolve against the members of
EXCOMM and the USSR.

"Kennan and Containment." Office of the Historian. U.S. Department of State, n.d. Web. 03 Apr.

This article provides detailed explanation about the origin of the policy of containment during
the Cold War. The US asserted its position to contain Soviet influence and do everything in its
power to prevent Soviet communist ideals from spreading to other countries. This policy had
been practiced by the US for decades and it was one of the main reasons why it was concerned
with Soviet influences in Cuba. Once again, by examining the origin of US foreign policy during
the Cold War, we wanted to set up the context upon which the crisis would take place.

LaGrone, Sam. "Soviet Perspective on the Cuban Missile Crisis from Nikita Khrushchev's Son."
USNI News. N.p., 05 Feb. 2013. Web. 03 Apr. 2017.

This interview with Sergei Khrushchev, the son of Nikita Khrushchev, reveals more about the
Soviet perspective and reaction during the crisis. Once again, we wanted to gain a full picture of
the crisis, and to do this, we needed to research the side of the USSR. This interview showed us
that the reaction by the Soviet Union was very different than the one by the US. The public was
not engulfed in the fear and outrage that plagued the US during the crisis and Sergei Khrushchev
explains this is the case because the USSR has been in crises like these before with other nations.

"Timeline" Cuban Missile Crisis. Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center for Science
and International Affairs, 2016. Web. 07 Jan. 2017.

This timeline was one of the first resources we consulted when starting the website. We wanted
to gain a sense of the order of events that transpired during the Cuban Missile Crisis before
starting to research about the decision-making process. This timeline showed us that although the
Cuban Missile Crisis was an extremely dangerous and risky moment for the US, it went occurred
and was resolved extremely quickly.

"The Bay of Pigs Invasion and Its Aftermath." Office of the Historian. U.S. Department of State,
n.d. Web. 03 Apr. 2017.
The Cold War had been brewing for decades but prior to the crisis, it had probably experienced
one of its worst downturns during the Bay of Pigs Invasion and Operation Mongoose. These
failures set back US/USSR relations very much and this conflict had set the scene upon which
the Missile Crisis took place. By looking into Cold War tensions before the crisis itself, we
wanted to provide the full context in order to gain a better understanding.

"The Cold War." Atom Central. Visual Concept Entertainment, n.d. Web. 03 Apr. 2017.

Nuclear weapons played a pivotal role in Cold War relations preceding and during the Crisis. We
wanted to examine the effect of these weapons through a secondary source and add to the context
and set up the scene on our website upon which we can introduce the crisis itself. The threat of
nuclear weapons drove the crisis itself, and it was the most dangerous consequence to all-out
conflict between the two superpowers.

"The Truman Doctrine." Office of the Historian. U.S. Department of State, n.d. Web. 03 Apr.

The Truman Doctrine, an informal foreign policy declaration made by Truman after World War
II, was also a theory upon which the policy of containment was founded upon. Truman asserted
that the US had to do everything in its power to prevent totalitarian and dictatorships to arise in
unstable countries and encourage the spread of democratic ideals instead. This inspired
containment, in which the US wanted to prevent Soviet communist ideals from affecting other
nations. By understanding the foreign policy that the US carried into the Cuban Missile Crisis,
we can understand the scope of the decision-making process and the bigger goal that EXCOMM
was trying to achieve besides just the removal of the missiles from Cuba.


JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Perf. Lawrence R. Velvel and William H. Chafe.
YouTube. Massachusetts School of Law at Andover, 1 May 2008. Web. 28
Dec. 2016.

This video was another secondary source as well, not only did it provide aesthetic appeal on our
website, but William H. Chafe also described Kennedys stand in detail. While all of EXCOMM
were pressuring Kennedy to pursue military action against the missile sites in Cuba, Kennedy
refused all of them by saying that they were not going to do it and they were going to blockade
Cuba instead.

Allison, Graham. The Cuban Missile Crisis at 50: Lessons for U.S. Foreign Policy Today.
Foreign Affairs, vol. 91, no. 4, 2012, pp. 1116.

This document applies the Cuban Missile Crisis and its learning opportunities to present day
struggles to problems in the middle East, especially relations with Iran and Iraq. Allison
commonly explains a situation President Kennedy went through in the Crisis and then connects it
to modern day situations by asking What would Kennedy do?