Cuban Missile Crisis

America and Spain fought a war in 1898. Since the war, Cuba had been under American control. At the onset of the Cold War, America had a proxy in Cuba called Fulgencio Batista, who was gradually growing unpopular. There were a lot of American businesses in Cuba that flourished. Taking advantage of the weakened rule of Batista, Fidel Castro, on 26 July 1953, led an attack on the Moncada army barracks. He was imprisoned for this assault.
                          Moncada barracks

 By the time he was released, Batista's rule dwindled as it faced financial bankruptcy. Thus, there was a vacuum to be filled. Castro undertook this successfully. One thing to be kept in mind was that Cuba, at the time of the power transition, did not witness a civil war. As Castro strengthened his rule, he initiated the program of nationalisation of property owned by the US business houses. Castro gave the logic of sovereignty and nationalism to justify his move. The US retaliated by closing down its markets for import of sugarcane from Cuba. A lot of Cubans were affected due to this. Some even left Cuba for the US to settle in Florida. As the economy of Cuba got badly hit, Castro domestically fuelled nationalism and internationally requested help from Russia. Perceiving this, the then US President Kennedy gave the task of solving Cuban menace to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The CIA drew up a plan of using Cuban exiles in Florida to be airdropped on Cuban beaches (Bay of Pigs). The idea was that exiles would be dropped on the beaches and as per the plan they would intermingle with the Cuban population to create unrest for Castro.
The basic assumption was that CIA thought that Castro did not enjoy popular support of the Cuban neople, The plan was executed. The exiled Cubans were dropped in Bay of Pigs. Within a span of three lars the local Cubans overpowered them. The exiled Cubans requested help from CIA. The US did not help them as they were not prepared for something like this. Observing the matter thus up Nikita Khrushchev decided to defend the small range missiles in Cuba, since this would not only defend Cuba but also ensure his presence in Cuba, which would be at a proximate destination to launch attacks on the US on the East Coast. The CIA got photographic evidence of sites of Russians creating missile-launching sites in Cuba after which the US ordered quarantine and a blockade for incoming Russian ships and began to scan for nukes. Russia, in the meanwhile, backed out. 
              Missile launching sites in Cuba

Diplomatically, a huge nuclear crisis was averted. The Russian aim seems to have been to teach the US how it feels to have missiles near them (recollect the US had stationed Jupiter and Thor in Turkey,Uk and Italy). The issue concluded by the acceptance of the US not to militarily invade Cuba and the subsequent removal of its missiles from Turkey. Both the USSR and US realised how quickly a small issue like Cuba could have escalated conflicts. They took a step towards disarmament namely, the 1963 Partial Test Ban Treaty.

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