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220px-Jupiter IRBM

The PGM-19 Jupiter IRBM

The Cuban Missile Crisis was a confrontation between the United States, the Soviet Union, and Cuba in October 1962, during the Cold War. In the countries of the former Soviet Union, former Eastern Bloc countries, and other communist countries (i.e. China and North Korea), it is termed the "Caribbean Crisis" (Russian: Карибский кризис, Karibskiy krizis), while in Cuba it is called the "October Crisis" (Spanish: Crisis de Octubre). In September 1962, the Cuban and Soviet governments placed nuclear missiles in Cuba. When United States military intelligence discovered the weapons, the U.S. government did all it could to ensure the removal of the missiles. The crisis ranks with the Berlin Blockade as one of the major confrontations of the Cold War, and is generally regarded, along with the Able Archer 83 incident in 1983, as the moment in which the Cold War came closest to a nuclear war.

The tensions were at their height on October 27, 1962, which was known as "Black Saturday". On October 14, United States reconnaissance observed (with a U-2 spy plane piloted by Major Heyser) missile bases being built in Cuba. The crisis ended two weeks later on October 28, 1962, when President John F. Kennedy and the United Nations Secretary-General U Thant reached an agreement with the Soviets to dismantle the missiles in exchange for a no-invasion agreement. In his negotiations with the Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin, U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy informally proposed that the Jupiter missiles in Turkey would be removed "within a short time after this crisis was over". The last missiles were taken down by 24 April 1963, and were flown out of Turkey soon after.