Most historians agree that the world has never come closer to nuclear war than it did during a thirteen-day period in October 1962, after the revelation that the Soviet Union had stationed several medium-range ballistic missiles in Cuba. This lesson will examine how this crisis developed, how the Kennedy administration chose to respond, and how the situation was ultimately resolved.
This interactive puts the student in the role of President Kennedy, having to decide among several options for responding to the presence of Soviet missiles in Cuba. By clicking on the names of individual advisers, students can read the views of men such as Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, and Attorney General Robert Kennedy. After studying the strengths and weaknesses of each option, the student will be asked to choose an option, which will then bring up a new window that evaluates the response.