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Missiles of October

Updated: Oct 28, 2022

In October of 1962, the World was on the brink of World War III. While some Americans were aware of heightened tensions between the United States, the Soviet Union, and Cuba, few knew about the day-by-day events that took place from 16 October to 28 October.

To recognize the 60th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, I will provide a daily account under the Kennedy Administration. Each day I will add to this original blog and post updates to my History Dame social media, so follow along as we go back to 1962.

I could not complete this particular project alone. So I want to thank my dear friend, Brett, who served as a primary source for this diary. He is my go-to guru on military history, Cold War, and the Space Race.


16 October, 1962. Day 1

Morning in Washington D.C.

National Security Advisor MacGeorge Bundy informs President Kennedy that photos from a U2 recon aircraft taken two days before had shown Soviet SS4 intermediate-range missiles deployed in western Cuba.

The missiles can deliver nuclear explosives to half the continental U.S. in a third of the time of missiles launched from Asia. This upsets the balance of nuclear deterrence.

Kennedy immediately called his cabinet, which gathered in late afternoon to discuss the information and decide on a course of action.

At the meeting's end, Kennedy asks the group to provide options for responding in the next few days. No missile launch sites are thought to be completed yet. Therefore, the plan is not to disclose the U.S. discovery of the missile launch sites under construction until a response is decided upon, and the President will not deviate from his planned schedule.

What will follow in the next two weeks is the world dancing on the edge of World War III


Photo credit: Smithsonian--Kennedy with the pilots who discovered the missiles.

17 October, 1962. Day 2

18 October, 1962. Day 3

19 October, 1962. Day 4

20 October, 1962. Day 5

21 October, 1962. Day 6

22 October, 1962. Day 7

23 October, 1962. Day 8

24 October, 1962. Day 9

25 October, 1962. Day 10

26 October, 1962. Day 11

27 October, 1962. Day 12

28 October, 1962. Day 13

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