The 1962 Cuban missile crisis was a critical moment in the history of the Cold War, (1947-1991) and indeed the 20th century. A potential nuclear showdown between Moscow and Washington threatened to change the world as we knew it to be.
President Kennedy had to keep the war hawks of his cabinet in check, as they clearly wanted to launch “pre-emptive strikes” at Cuba and the USSR simultaneously. Kennedy had to attempt to find out exactly what Khrushchev was thinking, and if his situation in Moscow was similar to his own. Within days, deals were made and annihilation was averted. There have been subsequet tensions, but nothing of the magnitude of October, 1962. The outcome of this event was the development of a concept of crisis management. It took the form of a direct link communication between the US and USSR.
I will be basing this essay on two books. The first one primarily, “The 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis: Canadian Involvement Reconsidered”, by Commander Peter T. Haydon, RCN (Retd). The other source for information was, “Canada’s Navy, The First Century”, by Marc Milner.
My personal involvement during the Cuban Missile Crisis was during my service in the RCN at sea as a young Sonar Operator aboard HMCS Kootenay, along with the rest of Maritime Command and other elements of the Canadian Armed Forces. Our mission, jointly with the USN was to search and detect Soviet submarines along the Atlantic seaboard, log and dispatch them out of the area. Which was accomplished many times over, but I must say, not without our knowing what this all may lead to, with the slightest mis-step.
The USA Military was in Defcon 2. Canada had no such staged steps to war, but we were at that equivalent.
(More to come)