Fifty years ago today, a crisis began which brought the world closer to nuclear war than it has ever been. In 1962, Soviet leaders sought to counter America’s strategic missile advantage. They also wanted to bring West Berlin under their control and secure the Castro government in Cuba. The result: a secret strategy to install nuclear missiles in Cuba to deter America from attacking the Soviet Union, protect Castro, and be traded for West Berlin.
On October 14, a U.S. Air Force U-2 plane captured photographic proof that the Soviets were building bases in Cuba. The next day, the CIA identified objects in the photographs as medium range ballistic missiles. On October 16, 1962, President Kennedy was notified that the Soviets were installing nuclear missiles 90 miles from America. Thus began the Cuban Missile Crisis.