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Crisis and Coexistence, 1961-1964

Cold Wars most dangerous phase coincided roughly with Kennedys presidency
Staunch Cold Warrior who loathed communism Feared nuclear war Anxious to alleviate Third World discontents so that Moscow could not capitalize on them Blamed Russia for the Cold War and determined that the US would end it

The Bay of Pigs


July 26, 1953- Fidel Castro launched a revolution against the Batista dictatorship Castro stood for agrarian reform, reduced dependence on the sugar harvest, and the purification of Cuban society from US influence and corruption December 31, 1958- Batista fled to Miami January 8, 1959- Castros 26th of July Movement to control of the Cuban government July 1960- split was imminent between Cuba and the US Diplomatic ties were cut off in January 1961 USSR jumped right in and declared that they would buy large quantities of Cuban sugar Cuba now tilted toward the Soviet camp

The Bay of Pigs


USSR gained a foothold in the Western Hemisphere some 90 miles from Key West and a place to put their missile silos Ike had given preliminary assent to a CIA plan to depose Castro Using thousands of anti-Castro refugees who had fled to the US in 1959-60 1961- Kennedy gave his final approval to what would become known as the Bay of Pigs invasion Kennedy believed that Khrushchev would unlikely move against the US if they invaded Cuba Others in the US thought that he would, but in Central Europe- around Berlin

The Bay of Pigs

CIA assumed that anti-Castro feeling in Cuba would lead to rioting in the streets and defections from the Cuban army in the event of a US invasion CIA believed that a brigade of fewer than 3,000 Cuban exiles could provide the spark to ignite the revolution US involvement would be limited to two pre-invasion air strikes to disable the Cuban air force What went wrong? No reliable evidence of widespread anti-Castro feeling in Cuba Island too large for a quick coup with a small invasion force Air strike failure would leave the land forces vulnerable No back up plan Original plan (Operation TRINIDAD) was to occur at a site from which the brigade could take refuge in the mountains Revised plan (Operation ZAPATA) would bring it ashore at The Bay of Pigs, from which the mountains were inaccessible Change never made clear to Kennedy or other key officials (US government would take the heat on this tragic mistake)

The Bay of Pigs


April 15, 1961- first air strike destroys only half of Castros fighter planes, then Kennedy cancelled the second strike CIA objected to the presidents cancellation Told to call the president, but waited until April 17 so that he would not scrub the whole attack April 17, 1961- CIA asks for permission to have the aircraft carrier Essex provide air cover for the landing forces Kennedy denied the request and the landing failed The invaders were routed 114 killed, 1,189 captured, the rest escaped to the sea April 19, 1961- invasion over and the fallout begins Kennedy privately blamed the CIA, but took full responsibilitythen fired CIA director Allen Dulles and ordered a housecleaning of the agency US self-image had not been lower since Pearl Harbor

The Vienna Summit, June 1961


Worst of all the Cold War summits June 3-4, 1961- led to two major crises One in Berlin and one in Cuba In the two years following this summit, the two superpowers going to war with each other was a real possibility Kennedys misperceptions about Khrushchev led to a series of talks that were tense, grinding, and often not amicable Issues that divided the two leaders Bay of Pigs Invasion and Laos (peripheral issues) The German Question (central issue)

The Vienna Summit, June 1961


Khrushchev proposed a limited compromise in the form of an interim accord, by which the superpowers would indicate their intent to turn the problem over to the Germans Kennedy would not accept this proposal sensing that it could undermine US credibility Khrushchev stated that he wanted peace, but it seemed Kennedy wanted war Kennedy stated that the calamities of war will be shared equally Khrushchev threatened to sign a treaty with East Germany by December 1961 unless the US accept an interim agreement Kennedy replied if that is true, its going to be a cold winter Such hostilities had not been spoken to this point in the Cold War

The Vienna Summit, June 1961


Kennedy learned that the US must respond firmly to any challenge over Berlin
Especially after the Bay of Pigs and Vienna

Khrushchev returned home with the knowledge that Kennedy was no match for him
But he sensed greater belligerence in Kennedy than in Ike

Kennedys immaturity in the invasion of Cuba did not result in nuclear war, but it might over the question of Germany

The Berlin Wall, August 1961


July 8, 1961- Khrushchev rescinded the 1.2 million-man cut in Soviet army strength he had announced in January 1960 July 25, 1961- Kennedy responded with a televised address in which he asked Congress for authority to call up US reserves and disclosed plans for a large military buildup, including preparations for an encore of the Berlin airlift With measures to provide fallout shelters in the event of nuclear war (yikes!) Showdown over Germany was looming Thousands of East Germans used the Brandenburg Gate to get to West Berlin everyday 2,500,000 had used this place as an escape since 1949

The Berlin Wall, August 1961


US knew that the Soviets could shut down the border without breaking any previous agreements East German commie boss Walter Ulbricht had been pushing Khrushchev for months to let him close the border July 31, 1961- Ulbricht proposed that the air corridor between Berlin and West Germany should be cut in order to keep refugees from leaving Khrushchev rejected this proposal for fear of war Finally agreed to allow Ulbricht to seal the border with barbed wire and if the West did not try to break through, the wire could be replaced by a wall

The Berlin Wall, August 1961


August 12, 1961- construction of the wall began US State Dept. had not prepared for the possibility that West Berlin would be isolated from East rather than West Germany Kennedys advisors suggested restraint National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy pointed out the obvious propaganda advantages Ulbricht had handed the US Berlin Wall actually defused the German Question Khrushchev was able to stem the flow of East German refugees and keep critics who urged him to deal resolutely with Berlin at bay West got a propaganda windfall from a highly visible symbol of Communism

US Arms Buildup and the Soviet Response


Kennedy accelerated the weapons-building programs begun under Ike Far exceeded the number of missiles beyond those that Ike had considered more than adequate 1,000 solid-fueled Minuteman ICBMs As many as 41 nuclear submarines Each carrying 16 Polaris missiles capable of reaching the USSR Mid-1960s- US had an overpowering triad (land-based, submarine-launched missiles, and bombers) of awesome destructive power far beyond anything the USSR could hope to have operational by then Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara (and many European and US defense experts) felt that the Dulles doctrine of massive retaliation had lost its credibility

US Arms Buildup and the Soviet Response


McNamara introduced a policy of flexible response designed to provide decision makers with options for gradual escalation of hostilities in the event of a conventional attack by Soviet forces in Central Europe McNamara also introduced a policy of counterforce which implied that US weapons would be launched not against Soviet cities but only against military targets Soviets viewed these policies as moving toward a first-strike capacity Believed that with a well-coordinated attack on Soviet military targets might be able to destroy Moscows ability to retaliate and thus render the USSR defenseless Soviets, whether the threat was imagined or real, saw little choice but to protect themselves against it

US Arms Buildup and the Soviet Response

October 1961- Kennedy authorized Deputy Secretary of Defense Roswell Gilpatric to reveal to the world the extent of US superiority missile gap had been exposed by McNamara in February, but with no specific numbers Gilpatric stated 5,000 warheads to 300 USSR deployed only 6 ICBMs capable of reaching the US (although they had sub-based missiles that could reach the US also) Result Soviet pressure on West Berlin eased noticeably Disarmed and humiliated Khrushchev Kennedy, in a March 1962 magazine interview, stated that in certain conditions, the US might launch a nuclear first strike against the USSR Khrushchev turned to Cuba

The Cuban Missile Crisis

If you have time, check out the movie 13 Days to enhance your knowledge of this topic US, since the failed Bay of Pigs, had tried to overthrow or kill Castro in an operation known as MONGOOSE USSR knew about this and used it to their advantage Spring 1962- Khrushchev decides to station nuclear missiles in Cuba Two immediate aims with this tactic To defend Cuba against a US invasion and to redress the strategic balance by locating Soviet missiles close to America Medium-range SS-4s (1,200 miles) and intermediate-range SS-5s (2,500 miles) Khrushchevs plan to visit the UN in November suggests he may have intended to reveal the missiles in Cuba at that time and use the resulting leverage to reopen the German Question from a more favorable negotiating position

The Cuban Missile Crisis


Summer 1962- Soviets offered and Cuba accepted up to forty missile launchers each equipped with two missiles and one nuclear warhead
Khrushchev thought that this could be done in secret as he underestimated the USs surveillance ability He also thought that Kennedy would wait to tell the US public until after the November Congressional elections He also expected Kennedy to allow the missiles in Cuba as Moscow had accepted US Jupiter-C missiles in Turkey
All of this was assumption and proved to be false

CIA director John McCone reported in August that Cuba was receiving from Russia large shipments that probably included missiles
Kennedy and McNamara did not believe it Neither did CIA analysts as agents in Cuba were deemed not credible Until they reported 80-foot cylinders being carried on trucks that couldnt make wide turns

The Cuban Missile Crisis


This got Kennedys attention- he issued warnings to Moscow on September 4 and 13, but it was too late for Khrushchev to stop the operation
They hadnt thought about what to do if the Soviets ignored the warnings

October 14, 1962- U-2 flight over Cuba brought back clear photographic evidence of missile launcher construction Kennedy was alerted on October 16, 1962 and the Cuban missile crisis was on October 20, 1962- Executive Committee of the National Security Council proposed and the president had agreed that the US objective should be the removal of the missiles, not the Castro regime Kennedy was posited with three options
To negotiate removal of the missiles- unworkable since he had no bargaining chip Conventional air strike to destroy the missiles Naval blockade to prevent warheads and other weapons from reaching the island

The Cuban Missile Crisis

Kennedy decided on the third option (naval blockade) Against the advice of many, if not most of the ExComm Kennedy had little faith in naval interdiction, but chose this option because it seemed the lesser of two evils Air strikes may require multiple sorties followed by a land invasion Blockade offered a first step that could always be escalated if necessary October 22, 1962- Kennedy addressed the nation about the missiles and the blockade The US began a massive military buildup in south Florida Khrushchev was taken aback at Kennedys maneuvering and stalled for time For two days, Soviet reps answered questions with standard public relations responses Kennedys approach in telling the nation about Gromykos failure to disclose information about the missiles assured NATO backing for the US and the OAS (Organization of American States) as well as several African nations

The Cuban Missile Crisis


October 23, 1962- Khrushchev warned the US that Soviet subs would sink US blockaders The world watched and waited in horror as Cuba-bound Soviet vessels approached the American ships October 24, 1962- Soviet ships stopped and turned around Khrushchev had been bluffing (as he always had) Khrushchev feared that Soviet ships would be boarded and searched and important Soviet info would be found out Game over as Cuba could not fight the blockade and the Soviets were unwilling to do so October 26, 1962- Khrushchev writes a letter which arrived at the US embassy in Moscow He claimed that the missiles were deployed for defensive purposes only, but admitted he could not convince Kennedy of this He also stated that nuclear war was out of the question and proposed that he would send no more weapons to Cuba in return for a US promise not to invade the island

The Cuban Missile Crisis


The letter clarified several things Khrushchev knew that the blockade was highly effective Khrushchev knew that Americas massive superiority in the Caribbean precluded him from using force to break it Khrushchev knew from Kennedys prior warnings that to bring pressure on West Berlin could lead to nuclear war Khrushchev knew that he could not fire his Cuban missiles without ensuring nuclear war Khrushchev knew that nuclear war was unacceptable October 27, 1962- the most trying day of the crisis Radio Moscow broadcast a second letter from Khrushchev He offered to remove the missiles from Cuba but demanded in return both a no-invasion pledge and the removal of 15 US Jupiter-C missiles from Turkey Kennedy knew that an agreement would look reasonable to the rest of the world He also knew that the Jupiter-C missiles were obsolete

The Cuban Missile Crisis


October 27, 1962- a U-2 spy plane is shot down over Cuba and the pilot is killed Soviet higher ups tried to rebuke the general who called for the plane to be shot down, but too late Khrushchev was now reeling and Kennedy knew that he couldnt react with an inflammatory public address But he wondered how long he could wait for an air strike and land invasion of Cuba Also caused Kennedy to become even more suspicious of Khrushchevs intentions Reality was that Khrushchev meant what he said in his letter as it was later found out that Castro begged Moscow to launch a nuclear attack against the US that was ignored

The Cuban Missile Crisis


US decided to accept the first letter as an agreement, pledging not to invade Cuba as long as the missiles were removed The second letter would be ignored altogether (the one about removing US missiles in Turkey) US informed Khrushchev that the US was resolved to remove the missiles and that an invasion of Cuba was near Robert Kennedy (then Attorney General) reiterated this sentiment to a Soviet ambassador and added that after the crisis the Jupiters would be removed from Turkey (this part could not be publicized and remain a secretive part of the deal) October 28, 1962- Radio Moscow broadcast another letter from Khrushchev accepting the US assurance that Cuba would not be invaded, he would remove the missiles and return them to the USSR No mention of the US missiles in Turkey Cuban Missile Crisis was over and the Cold War was changed irrevocably

The Cuban Missile Crisis


Cuban Missile Crisis carried several key lessons for the Soviets
US naval power, not nuclear weapons, had proven decisive
The USSR would have to build a navy to match

Khrushchevs attempt to close the missile gap cheaply and quickly had failed The US would not allow nuclear rockets so near its borders If they wanted nuclear parity, they would have to follow the arduous and expensive path of building their own vast fleet of ICBMs

The Western Alliance Waivers


Europe publicly supported the US during the Cuban Missile Crisis, but privately wondered about the USs failure to consult them on key issues De Gaulle began to push the notion that a prosperous Western Europe could take on a role of a third force between the US and USSR They sought to maintain ties with the US, but began to build their own identity as a third force By 1962, France seemed poised to make its own way in the Cold War Nuclear capability, thriving economy, and effective, farsighted leadership

The Western Alliance Waivers


Macmillan then joined the EEC, more so for economic benefits (as Kennedy had hoped would happen), but France viewed it differently De Gaulle didnt want Britain too close to France He did not want them to dilute their dominance of the EEC Brits had asked for special arrangements to protect their own agriculture and the economies of their Commonwealth associates De Gaulle believed (as well as other W. Euro leaders) that any country with special privileges would harm the EEC He also believed that Britains entry was to act as a monitoring entity for the US (still had ill feelings over his treatment by Anglo-American forces during WWII)

The Western Alliance Waivers

1962-63- turned out to be devastating years for Brit PM Macmillan as the US pulled out of a joint development project for Skybolt missiles and then the French vetoed British entry into the EEC Moreover Kim Philby (top official in Brit espionage service MI-6) defected to the USSR and then Secretary of State for War John Profumo shared state secrets with prostitutes Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies, who in turn passed them on to their Soviet clients Macmillan resigned in October 1963 His replacement, Sir Alec Douglas-Home, would then lose the 1964 election to Harold Wilsons Labour party Konrad Adenauer (87) preceded Macmillan into retirement by three days His party had barely won the elections in W. Germany in 1961 and managed to sign the Franco-German Friendship Treaty early in 1963 US changed leaders that year also due to the assassination of Kennedy De Gaulle never got his Europe that would stretch from the Atlantic to the Urals by the time of his retirement in 1969

Limited Test Ban Treaty of 1963


Renewed talk of a nuclear test ban circulated through both superpowers capitals The obstacle of on-site inspections continued to defy an easy solution Improved communications between the Kremlin and the White House were developed
Creation of a hot line between the two leaders
Very slow by todays standards and no voice contact, but it did allow for messages to be wired more quickly than previous years

Limited Test Ban Treaty of 1963


June 10, 1963- Kennedy gives his Peace Speech at American University in Washington
Proposed that a reexamination of Cold War attitudes was imperative if humanity hoped to avoid annihilation Promised that America would not conduct atmospheric nuclear tests as long other nations refrained from doing so Sought to develop broad public backing for a test ban treaty and to impress Khrushchev with a commitment to dtente with the USSR

Limited Test Ban Treaty of 1963


June 26, 1963- Kennedy was in Berlin for the 15th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift He was greeted by over a million people, gathered in a plaza within sight of the Wall An emotionally charged Kennedy gave an anticommunist speech in which he stated that all free menare citizens of Berlin and concluded with the now famous words Ich bin ein Berliner Made him a hero among the W. German people More importantly, this anticommunist rhetoric did not hinder test ban talks US had finally dropped its demand for on-site inspections and Moscow agreed to what became known as the Limited Test Ban Treaty, signed on August 5, 1963 Forbade atmospheric tests by its signatories (US, USSR, and Britain, but not France), but allowed underground blasts Did not halt or even slow the arms race, but it did deal effectively with the fallout problem and it showed that the Superpowers could work out an arms agreement

Exit Kennedy and Khrushchev


With a test ban in place and status quo in Germany, South Vietnam now took center stage in the Cold War Buddhist demonstrations, a military coup, and Kennedys gnawing fear that the US was being drawn into a highly dubious venture Kennedy rightly believed that Southeast Asia was too much on the periphery (as Laos was in 1961) to cause an escalation in the Cold War November 22, 1963- Kennedy was assassinated and Lyndon Johnson took over the presidency Strong in domestic issues, but not experienced in foreign affairs Fiercely anticommunist sentiment brought the US deeper into internal affairs of Vietnam Also proved unwilling to continue along the path of cooperation initiated by the test ban

Exit Kennedy and Khrushchev


Khrushchev was devastated by Kennedys assassination He feared for the future of dtente and lamented the premature death of an adversary with whom he had shared more than one serious crisis and whom he felt he had begun to understand In the final year of his rule, Khrushchev kept a low profile in world affairs He quietly tried to restrain the Vietnamese communists, but failing this he showed little interest in Southeast Asia March 1964- rumors of his removal or death spread throughout the US, but they were premature He had kept silent during the US presidential campaign hoping all the while that the right-wing Republican Barry Goldwater By election time in the US, Khrushchev himself was gone, forcibly retired on October 14 by a conspiracy fronted by Leonid Brezhnev and Alexei Kosygin, but orchestrated by party ideologist Mikhail Suslov

Exit Kennedy and Khrushchev


Khrushchevs fall can be attributed to his failures in foreign affairs, particularly Cuba and Berlin, but also for his plan to restructure the Soviet Communist Party- a threat to standing and careers of many party functionaries Khrushchevs fall and Brezhnevs taking of the party first secretary and Kosygin being named premier gave a huge boost to the Soviet military establishment These men would preside over a sustained weapons buildup of epic proportions- no matter the cost to the Russian economy This would enable the USSR to surpass the US in number of strategic missiles

What to Expect from Brezhnev


Colorless and unimaginative, yet determined and effective Injected the Soviet leadership with an aura of stability, prudence, and pragmatism Management by patronage and consensus, satisfying the various elements of his coalition while consolidating his power and undermining his rivals Clamped down on dissent and got rid of the more extreme initiatives of Khrushchevs Relations with communist China would deteriorate, he would eventually seek to improve relations with the West meanwhile continuing the relentless arms buildup Within a single year (October 1963 to October 1964) W. Germany, US, Britain, and the USSR changed leaders and the focus of the Cold War would shift from Europe to Southeast Asia