Awaiting Armageddon: How Americans Faced the Cuban Missile by Alice L. George

By Alice L. George

For 13 days in October 1962, the United States stood on the verge of collapse of nuclear warfare. Nikita Khrushchev's choice to put nuclear missiles in Cuba and John F. Kennedy's defiant reaction brought the potential for unheard of cataclysm. The rapid risk of destruction entered America's study rooms and its dwelling rooms. looking forward to Armageddon presents the 1st in-depth examine this hindrance because it simmered outdoors of presidency workplaces, the place usual americans learned their executive used to be unprepared to guard itself or its electorate from the risks of nuclear war.
During the seven days among Kennedy's assertion of a naval blockade and Khrushchev's choice to withdraw Soviet nuclear missiles from Cuba, U.S. voters absorbed the nightmare state of affairs unfolding on their tv units. An envisioned ten million americans fled their houses; thousands extra ready shelters at domestic, clearing the cabinets of supermarkets and gun shops. Alice George captures the irrationality of the instant as americans coped with dread and resignation, humor and pathos, terror and ignorance.

In her exam of the general public reaction to the missile predicament, the writer unearths cracks within the veneer of yankee self belief within the early years of the gap age and demonstrates how the fears generated by means of chilly struggle tradition blinded many american citizens to the risks of nuclear warfare until eventually it used to be virtually too past due.

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Extra resources for Awaiting Armageddon: How Americans Faced the Cuban Missile Crisis

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S. airspace. 43 On 21 October, many naval vessels received orders to take to sea immediately as part of the quarantine. Some left port with as little as 50 percent of their crews; there was no time to await absent crew members. Swift evacuation of 2,432 women and children from the Guantanamo Bay base in Cuba was also one of the navy’s top priorities. ‘‘As we were driving home [from school], there were suitcases on everybody’s lawn. . My mother said, ‘We’re leaving in about five minutes. Go up to your room and take anything you can carry,’’ 44 recalled one woman, who was eight years old in 1962.

6 Nuclear weaponry placed new burdens on world leaders. ’’ 7 Khrushchev and Kennedy were all too aware of the dangers inherent in their course. ’’ 8 And in September 1959, Khrushchev declared in Moscow, ‘‘Those who say that they do not understand what peaceful coexistence is, and are afraid of it, are wittingly or unwittingly helping to further the Cold War which is bound to spread unless we intervene and stop it. ’’ 9 20 t h e s h a d o w o f d e a t h For many Americans, nuclear warfare’s destructive capacity seemed unimaginable, but nuclear war’s potential was not wholly unknown.

Inspired coups, assassinations, and support for corrupt governments. While the conflict between hope and fear has colored American history since colonial days, destruction of ‘‘the other’’ did not carry the threat of selfdestruction or destruction of the much-prized American future until 1945. In the Cold War, the clash between these two impulses could not be resolved because nuclear conflict with ‘‘the other’’—the Soviet Union—could eradicate a key tenet in the American creed, the belief in tomorrow.

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