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  • JFK blinks...

    The Cuban missile crisis. JFK lets the Soviets deploy missiles in Cuba. What happens???
    Credo quia absurdum.


    Quantum mechanics describes nature as absurd from the point of view of common sense. And yet it fully agrees with experiment. So I hope you can accept nature as She is - absurd! - Richard Feynman

  • #2
    The USSR has us by the balls. With a launch-impact lag of mere minutes (from the Cuban missiles), they have a gun to the Eastern Seaboard's head. As the missiles improve over the next couple years they have the option of taking out SAC HQ, too.

    It would severely up the stress level of the Cold War and increases the chances of an error leading to disaster.

    It could very well push the USA into a formal 'first strike' strategy on the principle of 'use it or lose it', since our civilian leadership is literally under the gun.
    Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

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    • #3
      From everything I've seen, the option of tolerating the Soviet missiles in Cuba seems to have never been even considered.

      Which is a little surprising since all options are supposed to be evaluated in a crisis, and I can think of at least a few arguments in favor of tolerating the Soviet missile bases.


      Philip
      "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts."— Bertrand Russell

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      • #4
        Considering that we flew bombers around them 24/7 and they were armed...

        It maybe their paranoia is justified..

        So we should all stand down and smoke the peace pipe...

        Colorado has some good stuff...
        Credo quia absurdum.


        Quantum mechanics describes nature as absurd from the point of view of common sense. And yet it fully agrees with experiment. So I hope you can accept nature as She is - absurd! - Richard Feynman

        Comment


        • #5
          did the yanks not have missiles in places like turkey, I really donot see what all the fus is. Wether launched from USSR or CUBA and USA or Turkey it will not change the out come. In nuclear war there is no winners only losers.
          you think you a real "bleep" solders you "bleep" plastic solders don't wory i will make you in to real "bleep" solders!! "bleep" plastic solders

          CPO Mzinyati

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Bwaha View Post
            Considering that we flew bombers around them 24/7 and they were armed...

            It maybe their paranoia is justified..

            So we should all stand down and smoke the peace pipe...

            Colorado has some good stuff...
            Along with this and the Jupiter deployment, this is why Khrushchev took such a gamble. They thought they were becoming strategically surrounded and in many ways they were. If JFK had blinked, politically he was dead. I think moves would have been made to impeach him, certainly can't see him winning in 64. The CIA and parts of the army weren't exactly under control anyway so I can't see them sitting there and twiddling their thumbs.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by andrewza View Post
              did the yanks not have missiles in places like turkey, I really donot see what all the fus is. Wether launched from USSR or CUBA and USA or Turkey it will not change the out come. In nuclear war there is no winners only losers.
              You have to see it through the context of the time. However as you made the point, it is interesting to note that for example when JFK consulted NATO allies, Harold Macmillan effectively told him that they weren't going to be impressed with the Americans if they sent the balloon up over Soviet missiles on their door step when Western Europe had to live with Soviet missiles on their door step on a daily basis and had done so for some time. This did help shape JFK's thinking and fortunately for us he thought right.

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              • #8
                The original Soviet interest in Cuba came from the US having placed Thor and Juipter IRBM's in England, Italy, and Turkey that could nuke most of the Soviet Union. Having no way to retaliate in kind (ICBM's were just coming into service) the Russians took an immediate interest in Cuba. Otherwise they wouldn't have given a rat's patoot about Castro....

                The deal that ended the crisis was for both sides to remove their missiles. The US was doing so anyway as the systems were obsolesent so it worked out in both side's favor.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by andrewza View Post
                  did the yanks not have missiles in places like turkey, I really donot see what all the fus is. Wether launched from USSR or CUBA and USA or Turkey it will not change the out come. In nuclear war there is no winners only losers.
                  At one point during the crisis, JFK is said to have remarked: "What difference does it make if one is blown up by a missile fired from Cuba or by one flown from the USSR?"

                  But there was a difference, wasn't there? It's about first strike and the ability to ensure the effective deterrent of 'Mutually Assured Destruction' (MAD) by launching a retaliatory strike.

                  Nuclear armed missiles fired from Cuba could have destroyed General LeMay's Strategic Air Command (SAC) something like 6 minutes after launch. That is something the general brought up in the ExComm discussions. The question I'm not sure about is whether the destruction of SAC would have denied the U.S. the possibility of responding to a Soviet first strike thereby negating MAD and it's deterrent effect.

                  Would it?

                  Hopefully, others will comment as to this.


                  Philip
                  "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts."— Bertrand Russell

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by andrewza View Post
                    did the yanks not have missiles in places like turkey, I really donot see what all the fus is. Wether launched from USSR or CUBA and USA or Turkey it will not change the out come. In nuclear war there is no winners only losers.
                    At that time the only thing the US really had to worry about was batches of bombers coming over the north pole. Bombers are picked up by radar, fly slow enough to be intercepted, and hopefully shot down. You're not going to get everyone of them, but you hope you get enough of them. With missiles in Cuba, if I'm not mistaken, it would become the first time that the US mainland came under the threat of nuclear missiles. I believe the USSR didn't deploy an ICBM until around 1970, maybe early 70's, somewhere in there.

                    Plus, because of the shortened range, that would allow the USSR to get inside the US's command/decision cycle. By the time they were picked up by radar, that info passed on to the President, he decides to retaliate, sends out that order, order is received and a counter attack is launched, those warheads would already have detonated over the US.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by copenhagen View Post
                      Along with this and the Jupiter deployment, this is why Khrushchev took such a gamble. They thought they were becoming strategically surrounded and in many ways they were. If JFK had blinked, politically he was dead. I think moves would have been made to impeach him, certainly can't see him winning in 64. The CIA and parts of the army weren't exactly under control anyway so I can't see them sitting there and twiddling their thumbs.
                      I seriously doubt General Lemay would've sat on his hands if the missiles in Cuba weren't removed. An "accidental" dropping of a nuke over Havana would likely have occurred in the next few months.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by phil74501 View Post
                        At that time the only thing the US really had to worry about was batches of bombers coming over the north pole.

                        With missiles in Cuba, if I'm not mistaken, it would become the first time that the US mainland came under the threat of nuclear missiles. I believe the USSR didn't deploy an ICBM until around 1970, maybe early 70's, somewhere in there.
                        While the missiles in Cuba were Medium Range Ballistic Missiles (MRBMs), they were still capable of hitting everywhere in the U.S., except Seattle, if fired from Cuba.

                        Does anyone have a link to a source on the status, number and capability of ICBMs in both the USSR and NATO by October, 1962?

                        Thanks.


                        Philip
                        "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts."— Bertrand Russell

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by phil74501 View Post
                          At that time the only thing the US really had to worry about was batches of bombers coming over the north pole. Bombers are picked up by radar, fly slow enough to be intercepted, and hopefully shot down. You're not going to get everyone of them, but you hope you get enough of them. With missiles in Cuba, if I'm not mistaken, it would become the first time that the US mainland came under the threat of nuclear missiles. I believe the USSR didn't deploy an ICBM until around 1970, maybe early 70's, somewhere in there.

                          Plus, because of the shortened range, that would allow the USSR to get inside the US's command/decision cycle. By the time they were picked up by radar, that info passed on to the President, he decides to retaliate, sends out that order, order is received and a counter attack is launched, those warheads would already have detonated over the US.
                          Both sides had operational ICBMs in late 1959. Numbers & accuracy were low, but both were improving.
                          Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by phil74501 View Post
                            I seriously doubt General Lemay would've sat on his hands if the missiles in Cuba weren't removed. An "accidental" dropping of a nuke over Havana would likely have occurred in the next few months.
                            Thomas Powers certainly might have thought that. Even Le May described him as psychotic...

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by PhilipLaos View Post
                              Does anyone have a link to a source on the status, number and capability of ICBMs in both the USSR and NATO by October, 1962?
                              Found it. But would like to know more detail.

                              By Pentagon calculations, the Soviet Union possessed between 86 and 110 long-range ballistic missiles in October 1962, compared to 240 on the American side; in fact, the real figure on the Soviet side was 42. Six of these missiles were antiquated Semyorkas, which were so large and unwieldy that they had little military utility.

                              The “missile gap” against which Kennedy had campaigned during the 1960 presidential election did indeed exist. But it was in America’s favor, not Russia’s— and it was even wider than American experts believed.

                              Dobbs, Michael (2008-06-03). One Minute to Midnight (Kindle Locations 3911-3913). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
                              The missiles and warheads now installed on Cuba could have wiped out SAC HQ, Chicago, New York and Washington and many other cities in less than 20 minutes from launch.

                              The Americans knew about the missiles on Cuba, but they had no evidence of the compatible nuclear warheads to be attached to the missiles.

                              But the nuclear warheads were there ... in abundance, ready to be mated and fired should the order be given to launch and destroy those American cities. In addition, battlefield nuclear missiles were ready, in position and totally capable of destroying the American forces which were, at that point (October 26) fully prepared for their attacks on the missile sites and subsequent massive invasion (almost the size of the Normandy invasion) of the island.

                              The next "What if...?" in this scenario is: What would the Soviets/Cuba have done had Kennedy gone along with the strong recommendation of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to launch the air attacks and subsequent invasion?

                              Any thoughts on that?


                              Philip
                              Last edited by PhilipLaos; 17 Jan 14, 22:40.
                              "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts."— Bertrand Russell

                              Comment

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