The Cuban missile crisis was a major test for Western civilization in the 1960s because it was the time when the world faced the possibility of nuclear war. The Soviets were determined to establish their power and influence in the western hemisphere because they could easily attack the United States since this was the heights of the Cold War. Both the U.S and the Soviet Union believed that their actions were civilized, and so it was difficult for either of them to change their course. The United States believed that it had to protect and preserve Christian democratic ideals, while the Soviet Union believed that atheistic Communism would provide more freedom and equality for many nations all over the world.
- Main Point I
The Soviets were determined to do everything in their power to maintain and advance their political ideology and platform in an effort to preserve their political system. For them, anything less than this would be considered to be destructive for civilized societies in the future. It was a time when civilization could have been obliterated if cooler heads had not prevailed. In the article “How Castro Held the World Hostage, “Blight and Land describe the prevailing sentiment when they said. “On Oct 26-27, 1962, human civilization came close to being destroyed. It was the most perilous moment of the Cuban missile crisis and of the cold war” (Blight & Lang, 2012, p1).” President John F. Kennedy of the United States was convinced that he had to defend western democracy and Christianity from the perils of atheistic communism, even if it meant an all-out war. He believed that if the Russians had total control over Cuba, they would have
- Sub Argument I
During the heights of the Cold War, both the U.S and the Soviet Union believed that their actions were civilized. Therefore, they were determined to do everything in their power to maintain and advance their political ideology and platform since this would preserve their civilization. Anything less than this would be considered to be destructive and unfortunate for civilized societies the world would see in the future. However, it was a time when civilization could have been obliterated if cooler heads did not prevail. President John F. Kennedy of the United States had the conviction that he had to defend western democracy and Christianity from the perils of atheistic communism even if it meant an all-out war, a nuclear war at that.
- Supporting Evidence 1
Kennedy believed that if the Russians had total control over Cuba, then they would have made significant inroads too close to the United States. Most likely in a couple of years, the Soviets would have a lot more influence over the nations in the Caribbean and South America. The worst case scenario is that these once friendly nations to the United States would now become hostile, and they would also promote atheistic communism. So, it was an important duty for the United States to show its civilized platform by defeating the communist threat which would place many people in bondage and oppression.
- Supporting Evidence 2
The United States is a democracy where people elect their leaders, and they also have innumerable rights and liberties. Thus, Kennedy wanted the world to realize that it was much better to advance these elements than to allow communism with its tyrannical style of government to rule or to have too much influence in the world, and especially at the United States’ backdoor.
In contrast, President Khrushchev of the Soviet Union saw the United as being less than civilized because it was forcing other nations to adopt democracy. He was angry with the United States because in 1961 it was encouraging the people in East Germany to escape to the western side. “A year later Khrushchev intruded into the American sphere of influence in Latin America by constructing nuclear missile bases in Cuba”(Greavest et al, 1990, p1036). So, Khrushchev was very happy to annoy the U.S by setting up missiles in Cuba.
- Sub Argument 2
The Cuban missile crisis was a test of civilization because it was the only time when a nuclear war was highly possible and real. Castro was afraid that the United States would try to overthrow him because there were many previous attempts, especially the Bay of Pigs invasion. Both superpowers wanted to exert their influence and their particular views of all over the world, and since Russia did not have any territory in the western hemisphere it was pleased to answer Castro’s request for it to set up missile bases. “Viewed in hindsight, it is not surprising that the Soviets chose Cuba as their stage of operations against the U.S. Ever since his rise to power, Cuban Premier Fidel Castro struggled to survive America’s efforts to “encourage” his political demise”( Goldman and Stein, 2013,P1). Castro believed that Russia’s help would increase his chances for survival, and thence his country would remain as a civilized power.
- Main Point II
The United States believed that its civilization was at stake because if communism prevailed it would reduce millions of people to all forms of oppression, atheism and poverty. Thus, civilized principles and beliefs were at risk. However, President Kennedy felt that he had no option, but to use nuclear weapons as a deterrent because it was the only way Russia would pull out of Cuba, and thence he would save civilization from the ungodly threat of communism and oppression. . Although, the lives of millions were in danger, the U.S was ready to begin a war with Russia. Fortunately, this did not happen because it would have too many negative effects on civilized societies all over the world.
- Supporting Evidence 1
Fidel Castro believed that he was playing a crucial and important role in preserving civilization from imperialism. “From his bunker, Mr. Castro wrote that, in the event of an American invasion, the danger that that aggressive policy poses for humanity is so great” (Blight & Lang, 2012, p2). President Kennedy was very angry at what the communists were doing, but still he showed his diplomacy by turning to the United Nations to play a role in ending the stalemate. Even though, he was ready for war, he was also working for peace.”
- Supporting Evidence 2
- Main Point III
The governments of Cuba and Russia believed that their political ideology was more civilized because it would provide people with more justice and equality, and they would be free from capitalist exploitation and oppression. Therefore, they were willing to go to war in order to sustain these views. Castro was convinced that his country would be invaded again, and so he felt desperate when he asked Khrushchev to defend his country. Tim Padgett (2012) found that “Fidel urged him to fire those missiles at America when Kennedy ordered a naval blockade of the island during the 13-day U.S. Soviet standoff.” For the most part, Kennedy’s action demonstrated the highest form of civilized behavior because it was better to impose a blockade than to have outright war. He knew that too many people would have died and suffered in case nuclear weapons were used.
This was the only way that the Soviets would have removed the missiles and leave Cuba. Since both superpowers could have easily engaged in a nuclear war, Kennedy knew that any miscalculation could have resulted in serious tragedies for both nations. Fortunately, both nations decided to end the situation. “After 13 days of confrontation and escalating tension sin 1962, the United States and the Soviet Union ended their showdown with a compromise as each side backed away from the brink”(Walsh, 2012, p1).The United States demonstrated advanced forms of civilized actions when it used all types of strategies to avoid a deadly nuclear war. Consequently, it demonstrated to the world that Christian democracy was more appropriate because it advocated peace, freedom and prosperity. Most of all, it showed the world that atheistic communism was a serious threat to world peace based on the actions of Cuba and the Soviet Union.
The Cuban missile crisis was something which almost caused a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union at the peak of the Cold War. Since both nations believed that they represented civilization, they were unwilling to back down despite the possibility of a nuclear war. The United States held the view that Christian democracy was in danger, and so it had to defeat atheistic communism which represented danger and oppression to all humanity. In the long run, the conflict ended due to a compromise, but the United States was the pivotal force which caused it to end peacefully thereby showing that it has the higher hand in civilized behavior.
Blight., J,G & Lang, J, M (2012). How Castro Held the World Hostage. Retrieved March 12, 2012 from, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/26/opinion/how-castro-held-the-world-hostage
Goldman., J & Stein, G(2013). The Cuban Missile Crisis. Retrieved February 13, 2013 from, http://www.wyzant.com/Help/History/HPOL/JFK/cuban/
Greaves., R, Let all (1990). Civilizations of the world New York Harper & Row Publishers
NYTimes.com (1962). U.S. Imposes Arms Blockade on Cuba on Finding Offensive Missiles Sites; Kennedy Ready for Soviet Showdown. Retrieved March 3, 2012 from, http://nytimes.com/books/97/10/19/home/crisis-23.html
Padgett. T (2012). The Cuban Missiles Crisis at 50 America and Cuba Still Frozen in 1962. Retrieved March 14, 2012 from http://world.time.com/2012/10/17/the-cuban-missile-crisis-at-50-america-and-cuba-still-frozen-in-1962/
Walsh. K, T (2012) Cuban Missile Crisis show value of Presidential Judgment. Retrieved March 14, 2012 from , http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/Ken-Walshs-Wsahington/2012/Cuban-missile
New YorkTimes.com(1962) U.S. Imposes Arms Blockade on Cuba on Finding Offensive Missile Sites;Kennedy Ready for Soviet Showdown. Retrieved March 12, 2013 from, http://www.nytimes.com/books/97/10/19/home/crisis-23.html
This article details the confrontation that existed between the United States and the Soviet Union during the missile crisis. American President John F. Kennedy told the Russian President Khrushchev that he was risking thermonuclear war if he did not remove the missiles from Cuba. It was a time when civilization could have been destroyed because both sides were unwilling to cooperate or to back down. Eventually, the Soviet Union removed the missiles which prevented the U.S from becoming involved in a war which would have worldwide implications.
Goldman Sachs& Stein.G (1962). The Cuban Missile Crisis,1962. Retrieved February 2, 2013, fromhttp://www.wyzant.com/Help/History?HPOL/JFK/Cuban/
Greaves, Richard, Lethal(1990). Civilizations of the World. New York: Harper & Row Publishers.
Swift. J(2012). The Cuban Missile Crisis. Retrieved February 13, 2013, from,