Friday, May 28, 2010

Interesting random piece of History 1

I am starting a new weekly post on Gubu World entitled "Interesting random piece of History". My first installment is about a truly fascinating phone conversation I found on YouTube between President Kennedy and former President Eisenhower. The conversation is taking place on the 22nd of October 1962, right in the middle of the Cuban missile crisis. Kennedy is asking the former supreme allied commander (during World War Two) and President (1953-61) for advise on how to handle the Soviets.

President Kennedy phoned all three living former presidents to keep them abreast of the situation. Although it is clear from the tapes (all of which are on YouTube) that his calls to former presidents Truman and believe it or not Hoover (yes the Great Depression President was still alive then) were mere courtesy calls. However JFK clearly desired Eisenhower's opinion on the situation. What Kennedy really wants to know from the conversation with Eisenhower is will the Soviets invade West Berlin or possibly even launch a nuclear strike against the west if the US invades Cuba. None of Kennedy's advisers, including Eisenhower as we can hear, thought that they would. Everybody wanted JFK to invade Cuba. It seemed the best way to make sure the Cubans would never be able to obtain a nuclear capability and it would also end the Cuban threat in its entirety. JFK was under enormous pressure to at least bomb Cuba. But he refused opting instead for a military blockade to prevent the nuclear war heads from reaching Cuba.

The blockade was a success and the Soviets backed down even though a secret deal was done to remove US missiles from Turkey. However what is most astonishing about this whole episode is that many years later it became known that the Soviets already had delivered some nuclear war heads to Cuba meaning that the Soviets/Cubans were fully armed with nuclear missiles. What if Kennedy had listened to Eisenhower and most of his advisers and taken the safe option which was an air strike or an invasion of Cuba. If he had of, we might not all be here today.

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