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The Cuban Missile Crisis Essay

A British cartoon by Illingworth, published in the Daily Mail on 29th October 1952. Kennedy and Khrushchev arm-wrestle, while nuclear war is only the press of a button away. Khrushchev, who is sweating most, says “OK, Mr President, let’s talk”. The source suggests that Kennedy is of an advantage over Khrushchev, he has the button of the hydrogen-bomb that’s placed under Khrushchev. This could show how he is in control of the situation, and knows how to turn it so that he comes out better.

It also shows how easily he can destroy his opponent, and is not afraid to do so- hence the fact that he has his finger positioned so close to the button. Also, Khrushchev is sweating much more that Kennedy is in the source, this suggests that he is under more pressure and that he may be more scared of what the outcome will be- will the Cold War turn too hot, and transform into a Nuclear War? However this cannot be true, because it also shows Khrushchev’s arm on the furthest side of the image, he probably has the button for the bomb that his challenger is sat on.

I know that this is true because Khrushchev was threatening USA with a nuclear bomb; this is when the President of the USA responded with a compromise to both withdraw their explosives from the nuclear sites. This source is a cartoon, Illingworth is using it to portray the Cuban missile crisis as a victory for the USA. It was published just days after the agreement was made to withdraw their weapons, and now that the Cuban missile crisis was out of the worst, there still wasn’t guaranteed.

The cartoon shows Kennedy as the person that has succeeded his aims, this may be because they had forced the Soviet Union to back down, turn away their warships and agree to remove their missile sites. However, we do not see Khrushchev’s hand, therefore insinuating that there is mistrust and uncertainty between the two people. Overall, I agree with the interpretation that Kennedy comes out the strongest of the Cuban missile crisis.


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