The early 1960’s were years of severe tensions. Cuba, located only 90 miles from the United States mainland, became a Communist State under its revolutionary leader Fidel Castro. In April, 1961, the United States gave support to an invasion attempt by anti- Communist Cuban exiles, but it failed. The Soviet Union began to send aid to Cuba to counter an American-imposed economic boycott of the island. In June, 1961, East Germany erected a wall separating West Berlin and East Berlin to prevent East Germans from escaping to the West. The Soviet Union renewed its demand that the Western Allies withdraw from West Berlin.
Later in the year, the Soviets broke a moratorium on nuclear- weapons testing, in effect since 1958, by exploding a large hydrogen bomb. In 1962, the Soviet Union attempted secretly to place guided missiles in Cuba. American reconnaissance aircraft detected their presence, and the United States demanded that the missiles be removed. Nuclear war between the two superpowers threatened before the Soviets agreed to remove them. However, the so- called Cuban Missile Crisis led to anew understanding between the two nations and, eventually, to improved relations.
The discovery of Soviet Missiles bases in Cuba was followed by a United States naval blockade of the island. A possible war between the United Sates and the Soviet Union was averted when the Russians dismantled their bases. Meanwhile, Cuba sought to foment revolutions in other Latin American countries. In 1963 the United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union signed a treaty banning all nuclear tests except those underground. In 1964, the Organization of American States required its members to end trade and diplomatic relations wit Cuba.
That time it was John F. Kennedy and Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev were the leaders of the opposing countries namely; United States and Russia. Khrushchev, a premier of Russia and head of its Communist party. He gained power after the death of Joseph Stalin in 1953. In relations to the west, he promoted the idea of peaceful coexistence, in which the Soviet Union would compete economically rather than by war. Although under his leadership the Soviet Union made some economic progress, Khrushchev’s goal of catching up with the United States was not achieved.
During World War II he was a political commissioner in the army. In the late 1950’s, Khrushchev attempted to overcome Russia’s inadequate food production by opening up millions of acres of virgin lands to crops. The program was a failure and grain had to be imported. In 1959, Khrushchev visited the United States and met with President Eisenhower. Shortly before a meeting of world leaders in 1960, the Soviets shot down a United States U-2 Spy plane over the Soviet Union. Khrushchev demanded an apology for the intrusion from Eisenhower, who refused.
Khrushchev then canceled plans to attend the meeting. Khrushchev began deploying Soviet missiles in Cuba in 1962. President Kennedy insisted that these missiles be removed, and after a tense period, Khrushchev backed down. In 1963, he was unable to prevent China from breaking with the Soviets. John F. Kennedy, he was inaugurated as President on January 20, 1961. Kennedy accelerated government spending because of a business recession. Unemployment compensation was extended to cover the long- term unemployed.
A program of federal aid to chronically depressed areas was enacted. Social security benefits were increased. Business activity had improved. During the first two years of the Kennedy administration, civil rights issues were dealt with by executive and judicial action. Civil rights demonstration increased, however, and white reaction grew more violent. In 1962, Kennedy sent federal troops to the University of Mississippi to restore order after rioting broke out when James H. Meredith, a black, sought to register to an all- white school.
In 1963, he firmly committed the administration to the cause of civil rights. The President’s efforts in foreign policy were to strengthen the nation’s military forces to meet threats of aggression on either a large scale or a limited basis. At the same time, he sought to further the cause of peaceful social and economic revolution throughout the World; both the Peace Corps and the Alliance for Progress were his ideas. In 1961, Kennedy secretly gave permission to proceed with an invasion of Cuba by anti- Castro Cuban exiles.
The operation had been planned during the Eisenhower administration; its purpose was to spark a popular uprising in Cuba and topple the Communist Government. The invasion was unsuccessful and Kennedy assumed all the responsibilities for the failure. After a Soviet- American confrontation, He attempted to bring about a lessening of international tensions. References: 1. Crozier, Brian, and others. This War Called Peace (Universe Books, 1985). 2. Robbins, C. A. The Cuban Threat (McGraw- Hill, 1982). 3. Cannon, Terence. Revolutionary Cuba (Harper& Row, 1981).
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