The Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962: The Missiles of October

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. By examining both government documents and photographs students will put themselves into the role of President Kennedy during this crucial period, considering the advice of key administration figures and deciding on a course of action.

Guiding Questions

Why did the presence of Soviet missiles in Cuba trigger an international crisis, and how was that crisis resolved?

Learning Objectives

After completing this lesson, students should be able to: Explain why the presence of Soviet missiles in Cuba was a matter of concern to the United States

Discuss each of the options available to the president in this situation, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each

Articulate why Kennedy chose to "quarantine" Cuba

Explain how the crisis was resolved