On this date in history

Alberto de la Cruz

October 28, 1962: The Cuban Missile Crisis comes to an end, but not before it became obvious that those who had been touted to be America’s “best and brightest,” were neither the best, nor the brightest.

Cuban missile crisis ends, Oct. 28, 1962
On this day in 1962, the Cuban missile crisis, which threatened to start a superpower war, came to a close when Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev agreed to remove 42 intermediate-range nuclear missiles from Cuba. For its part, Washington promised not to invade the Communist island, while pledging (secretly) to dismantle its own missiles in Italy and Turkey.

Fidel Castro accused the Kremlin of deserting the Cuban Revolution. U.S. allies also bristled because President John F. Kennedy had kept them in the dark during an anxiety-laden two weeks, as the United States and the Soviet Union faced off.

In Moscow, hard-liners were appalled at Khrushchev’s decision. In 1964, Leonid Brezhnev and Aleksei Kosygin removed him from power and ordered a massive nuclear buildup. Gen. Curtis LeMay, U.S. Air Force chief of staff, wasn’t happy with the result either. LeMay told Kennedy that it was “the greatest defeat in our history” and that the United States should have invaded Cuba.

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