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Fiftieth Commemoration of the Cuban Missile Crisis: Lessons Learned and Implications Today

Fiftieth Commemoration of the Cuban Missile Crisis: Lessons Learned and Implications Today

October 15, 2012
6:00 p.m.–7:30 p.m.

Ohio Room, Hadley Union Building

Guest speakers Dr. Peter Kornbluh and Dr. Phil Williams discuss the significance of the Cuban Missile Crisis 50 years later and what we may still learn from this event.

Fifty years ago (October 16–28, 1962) during the Cold War, the world came the closest it ever has to to an exchange of nuclear weapons between the Soviet Union and the United States. An American U-2 reconnaissance plane had photographed a Soviet SS-4 medium-range ballistic missile being assembled for installation on Cuba, just 90 miles from U.S. shores, on October 14. President John F. Kennedy was briefed about the situation on October 16. For nearly the next two weeks, the President and his team wrestled with a diplomatic crisis of epic proportions, as did their counterparts in the Soviet Union. President Kennedy enacted a naval blockade around Cuba and made it clear the U.S. was prepared to use military force if necessary to neutralize this perceived threat to national security. Disaster was avoided when the U.S. agreed to Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev’s offer to remove the missiles from Cuba in exchange for the U.S. promising not to invade Cuba. Kennedy also secretly agreed to remove U.S. missiles from Turkey. 

Cuban Missile CrisisGuest speakers will be:

  • Peter Kornbluh, Senior Analyst, Director of Cuba and Chile Documentation Projects, the National Security Archive, George Washington University

    Dr. Kornbluh is the author/editor/coeditor of the Archive’s “The Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962”. He played a large role in the campaign to declassify government documents about the crisis through the Freedom of Information Act. Dr. Kornbluh attended all of the post-Soviet Union conferences between American, Soviet, and Cuban participants of the crisis and has personally interviewed Fidel Castro on his role in the crisis.
  • Phil Williams, Director, Matthew B. Ridgway Center for International Security Studies, and Wesley Posvar Professor, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Pittsburgh

    Dr. Williams has written on crisis management as well as being a recognized expert on organized crime and drug trafficking in national security. He most recently has noted cyberspace national security policy and strategy’s similarity to the situation that existed at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis. 

Cosponsored by the IUP Political Science Department

Read the feature article from the Pittsburgh-Tribune Review about this series, written by IUP alumnus Kari Andren.

Topic Resources

Libraries Six O'Clock Series Guide: Books, social media sites, and databases related to the Cuban Missile Crisis—all on one page for you.

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