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Cuban missile crisis averted

 

The President's brother

Later on the 27 October Robert Kennedy, the brother of the President, went to see the Soviet ambassador. The conversation between Robert Kennedy and the ambassador, Anatoly Dobrynin, was the key to the solution of the crisis.

 

Kennedy gave Dobrynin an ultimatum: he said that if the Soviets did not promise to remove the missiles by the next day the Americans would use force to destroy the missiles. He then made an offer to the Russians - there could be no official deal, but if the Cuban missiles were removed the missiles in Turkey would follow soon after. This message was relayed to Khrushchev, and it was enough for the Russians.

 

On 28 October Dobrynin reported to back to Robert Kennedy and announced that the Russians would withdraw their missiles from Cuba. The crisis was over.

After the crisis

The end of the crisis was seen as a victory for Kennedy and a defeat for Khrushchev. The deal over the missiles in Turkey was kept secret so it seemed to the world as if the Soviets had simply backed down. This was good for Kennedy's reputation, but damaging for the Soviet leader. Leading Soviet communists were angry that their country appeared to climb down. This put Khrushchev in a difficult position at home, and contributed to his fall from power in 1964.

 

The European allies of the USA were shocked at how little they were consulted during the emergency. It seemed that their opinions was not seen as important by the Americans. The French government of de Gaulle felt this very strongly. As a result de Gaulle eventually pulled France out of NATO and encouraged Western Europe to follow an independent line.

 

On the communist side, the Chinese were not impressed by the Soviet performance. They felt that Khrushchev mishandled the crisis and looked cowardly when he removed the missiles. This further encouraged the Chinese to follow an independent line of their own in world politics.

 

The most important long-term result of the crisis was that both sides realized the great dangers of direct conflict between the USSR and the USA. Both Soviet and American leaders were shocked at how close they had come to nuclear war. After the Cuban Missile Crisis the Cold War continued but the two superpowers carefully avoided direct hostility. A special telephone 'hotline' was installed so that leaders could communicate easily in any future crisis. The level of tension between the USA and the USSR was never again to be as great as it was in November 1962.