Fifty years ago (October 16–28, 1962) during the Cold War, the world came the closest it ever has to an exchange of nuclear weapons between the Soviet Union and the United States.
Two national experts are coming to IUP to discuss what the U.S. has—and has not—learned from a near miss with nuclear annihilation as we approach the 50 anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Their presentation, scheduled for 6:00 p.m. on Monday, October 15, 2012, in the Ohio Room of the Hadley Union Building, is part of IUP’s Six O’Clock Series.
“This is an event of extraordinary importance,” said Political Science professor Dighton “Mac” Fiddner, who coordinated the event. “But it’s important more for what didn’t happen—no nuclear weapons were fired—than what did happen, which was that Soviet missiles were removed from Cuba.”
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.
Sponsored by the IUP Political Science Department, the Six O’Clock Series, the History Department, the Latin American Studies Program, and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.