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In 1962 Cuba was the most submissive satellite of the Soviet Union. Since Cuba was a Russian province overseas the Soviets decided to install surreptitiously in Cuba intermediate range missiles with atomic heads.

The government in Washington DC when they corroborated these new decided to keep a close watch on the island. One of the means to keep a watch was to use spy airplanes flying at high altitudes such as the U-2. In those days there were no spy satellites yet.


The missile crisis began on October 14, 1962, when the US Government released photographic evidence of the missile installations being prepared in western Cuba. On October 24, 1962, President Kennedy ordered a Naval blockade of the island based on national security reasons.

photographic evidence of the missile installations being prepared in western Cuba-2 - photographic evidence of the missile installations being prepared in western Cuba.

dictator Nikita Khruschev

After extensive negotiations between the two governments the America and the Soviet one, on October 26 the communist dictator Nikita Khrushchev agreed to dismantle the missile bases in Cuba in exchange for the dismantling of American missile bases in Turkey.

President Kennedy

America also had to promise they will not to use their Armed Forces against Cuba and they will enforce the neutrality laws in the straight of Florida. The Soviets ordered those ships in route to Cuba to turn back to Russia with the missiles they were carrying.

Regardless of the accords next day on October 27, 1962, the Cubans and Russians in the island shot down with a ground-to-air missile an American U-2 airplane flying over Pinar-del-Rio Province. Rudolph Anderson the pilot of this U-2 was killed immediately.

Rudolph Anderson

This action coming after an accord taken by both sovereignties was justified in several ways. Some said the missile had been shot by accident. Another explanation was that the Russian commander of the missile battery took the decision without consulting higher commands. Another explanation was that the missile commander was given the order to shoot any spy airplane because the accords did not allow spy airplanes flying over Cuba. Finally another rumor was that Fidel Castro was inspecting the missile station at the time. When he saw the airplane in the radar screen he asked the Russian officer in command how to shoot the missile and he shot the missile himself.

The next day, October 28, 1962, the Soviet Kremlin officially announced the agreement where the Soviets withdrew the missiles in exchange for the missile withdrawal from Turkey. President Kennedy kept the blockade until November 21, 1962, when he was convinced the weapons had been withdrawn.


See the letter of Fidel Castro to Nikita Khrushchev where he encourages the Soviets to launch a first attack against Americans, telling him Cuba is ready for anything. The Soviet leader Khrushchev replied to Castro not to do anything irrational.

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