Thought For The Day – Wednesday 19th October 2022
Sixty years ago this week, the world was very close to nuclear war.
“The Cuban Missile Crisis” saw the Soviet Union secretly install nuclear missiles in Cuba, near to the United States of America. On October 16th 1962, the President of the United States at the time, John F. Kennedy (JFK), was shown pictures of the weapons, taken by a U2 spy plane.
President Kennedy faced pressure for direct military action. For nearly a week, President Kennedy kept the crisis secret from the world, whilst him, and his advisors, including his brother Bobby, pictured with JFK above in an iconic photograph, worked out what to do. When President Kennedy did broadcast to the United States of America, and the world, on 22nd October 1962, people thought that nuclear conflict was very close, including people in the UK.
Ultimately, firm leadership, the appropriate removal of the weapons and careful, fair but uncompromising negotiation by all and at the United Nations was required internationally to ensure peace. The leadership of President Kennedy, with his brother Bobby, was crucial.
The crisis is dramatised in the 2000 film “Thirteen Days” (named after the length of the crisis): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yfIoHXOO9E
The Cuban Missile Crisis is the subject of a new book “Abyss”, from Sir Max Hastings, and new podcast series from “The JFK Library” called “Atomic Gambit” (or nuclear gamble) featuring actual recordings from discussions in the White House at the time: https://www.jfklibrary.org/about-us/social-media-apps/atomic-gambit
The Cuban Missile Crisis is taught by the History Department at TBSHS as part of their very engaging and important curriculum. History is such a vital subject.