October 22, 1962 – President Kennedy Announces His Decision to Blockade Cuba in “The Cuban Missile Crisis”

On this day in history, President Kennedy addressed the nation to announce the discovery of Soviet missile bases in Cuba. These missile sites, under construction but nearing completion, were designed to house medium-range missiles capable of delivering nuclear payloads to a number of major cities in the U.S.

President Kennedy Addressing the Nation, October 22, 1962

President Kennedy Addressing the Nation, October 22, 1962

Kennedy said he was ordering a naval “quarantine” of Cuba to prevent Soviet ships from transporting any more offensive weapons to the island and declared that the United States would not tolerate the existence of the missile sites currently in place. He said America would not stop short of military action to end what he called a “clandestine, reckless, and provocative threat to world peace.”

Aerial view of missile launch site at San Cristobal, Cuba. (John F. Kennedy Library)

Aerial view of missile launch site at San Cristobal, Cuba. (John F. Kennedy Library)

On October 23, the quarantine of Cuba began, but Kennedy decided to give Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev more time to consider the U.S. action by pulling the quarantine line back 500 miles. The leaders eventually publicly agreed to a deal in which the Soviets would dismantle the weapon sites in exchange for a pledge from the United States not to invade Cuba. In a separate secret deal, the United States also agreed to remove its nuclear missiles from Turkey.

You can watch archival footage of his address here.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: