Cuban Missile Crisis begins
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.
Evaluate the Soviet Union's justification for placing missiles in Cuba.
Analyze the competing perspectives within the U.S. and the Soviet Union regarding how to respond to the threat in Cuba.
Evaluate President Kennedy's decision to "quarantine" Cuba and compare it to other Cold War era policies.
Analyze the correspondence and diplomatic maneuvers used by the U.S. and Soviet Union.
Evaluate the short and long term consequences of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Why did the Soviet Union place missiles in Cuba?
What were the short and long term consequences of the Cuban Missile Crisis?
History & Social Studies
Cuban Missile Crisis Interactive
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.
Note: This interactive uses Adobe Flash.
An alternative is the interactive The World on the Brink: John F. Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis, created by the JFK Presidential Library. In this interactive, students work with primary sources from the 13 days of the crisis, including photographs, daily schedules, audio recordings, correspondence, maps, and newspaper reports.
These interactives can be used in the EDSITEment lesson plan The Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962: The Missiles of October.