The documentary that I viewed entitled, The Cuban Missile Crisis, brought about one of the most threatening times in United States History. Produced by Films For The Humanities Inc., the film shows how the USSR placed missiles on Cuban Soil, solely it seems for the benefit of themselves. Why missiles ended up on the small island of Cuba is far from a mystery, people know the truth and what it cost Cuba as a Nation. The story of the Cuban Missile Crisis is heard around the world, in perhaps many different versions, with many different endings and opinions. The effects of the Cuban Missile Crisis still continues to linger in our country today, with consequences of a poor decision making still being felt by Cuba.
The film shows the vast United States Military response, to the news of live Russian missile silos and manufacturing plants in Cuba. After obtaining Fidel Castro’s approval, the Soviet Union worked quickly and secretly to build missile installations in Cuba. On October 16, 1962, President John Kennedy was shown reconnaissance photographs of Soviet missile installations under construction in Cuba. After seven days of guarded and intense debate in the United States administration, during which Soviet diplomats denied that installations for offensive missiles were being built in Cuba, President Kennedy, in a televised address on October 22, announced the discovery of the installations and proclaimed that any nuclear missile attack from Cuba would be regarded as an attack by the Soviet Union and would be responded to accordingly. He also imposed a naval quarantine on Cuba to prevent further Soviet shipments of offensive military weapons from arriving there. Kennedy said that, Any ship found to have any weapons would be turned back. This later became a prohibition of trade with Cuba.
During the crisis, the two sides exchanged many communications, both formal and “back channel.” Khrushchev tried to assure Kennedy that there was nothing but peaceful intentions, but Kennedy didn t care. He wanted the Missiles out of Cuba immediately. Talks between Kennedy and Khrushchev continued, with compromises and deals. On October 26, 1962, Khrushchev made a deal that if the United States promised not attack Cuba, then the missiles would be removed. Another one of the deals to Kennedy was if the United States dismantled its missiles in Turkey, then the USSR would dismantle its silos in Cuba. In the end, the Americans decided to honor the first deal and not attack Cuba. The missiles were removed.
The film was unique in its own way. Most of the footage was shot as it happened in the traditional black and white film of that time. The author does a remarkable job of capturing the insight of the political leaders involved. They re views and attitudes seem so calm and collected, even though there is a major problem at hand. The footage of the Military and of Cuba itself was prudently chosen to give an accurate depiction of the events of what happened long ago. The added attention building music and detailed narration of the story helped to construe a vivid thought process of the distressing, and frightening time that our nation went through. The author has only one interview in the whole film. The interview is on a free lance military missionary who was on a secret invasion team, designed to attack in Cuba. His comments proved to show that he was only there as a solider. He was there to end something that was going on that shouldn t have been. He was a soldier of the moment who s only objective was to do what he thought was right.
I found the length of the film to be too short to adequately include more of the details of the crisis. The film did a superior job of capturing the point of the Cuban Missile Crisis, however I would have like to have seen something more directed to the people of that time. Their minds are what should concern the history of our nation, along with facts. I have seen and heard many different stories of the Cuban Missile Crisis throughout my life. I continue to draw the same conclusion about the events that took place in October of 1962. I see the Cuban Missile Crisis as a power struggle. Take the small island nation of Cuba. Cuba, since the 1930 s had been on a steady downward economic fallout. Along comes the Sovereign nation of the USSR and begins to aid a country, lying extremely close to the mainland coast of Russia s adversary. This aid was certainly not initiated as a good will gesture, but as a tactical military clinch on the United States. That is why I see nothing good coming from the ordeal in Cuba. After Russia picked the economy up slightly, they convinced Cuba to allow the installation of the missiles. When the United States objected, the missiles were removed, Russia packed up and moved on, pulling their aid to Cuba and leaving Cuba worse off than they were to begin. I see President Kennedy as one of the great leaders of the twentieth century. He did everything in his power to keep our nation safe in a time of insurmountable danger. Kennedy kept a third world war from breaking out and resolved the Cuban missile crisis peacefully. If anything can be learned from this time in history, it is that sometimes the unexpected happens. The best thing that we as American citizens can do, is learn from the past and take some of that knowledge and apply it to the future. Hopefully a situation of this magnitude, like the Cuban Missile Crisis, will never present itself again to any nation.