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what if the Cuban Missile Crisis got violent?

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  • Magister
    replied
    Much has been written about Moscow's overreaction to a military exercise yet they did not strike. Clearly, while there may have been "signs" that NATO was preparing an attack, there were plenty of other signs that did not support that conclusion. In the end, they interpreted the intelligence correctly. Reagan had nothing to do with the fact that the Soviets viewed capitalist nations as the source of war and therefore as potential enemies. It may well turn out that his tough stance was just the push that brought the USSR crumbling down.

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  • Daemon of Decay
    replied
    Originally posted by Cyberknight View Post
    I seem to remember that it was the decision by Reagan to reinvigorate the conventional military and intelligence assetts which made nuclear war less likely due to options other than a harsh diplomatic protest and a strategic nuclear strike practical and thus more likely.
    Originally posted by Wikipedia
    Because of the state of mind of the Soviet leadership in 1983, along with distressing intelligence reports, the Soviet leadership appeared seriously concerned there would eventually be a surprise nuclear missile attack by the United States. Bruce Blair, an expert on Cold War nuclear strategies, now president of the World Security Institute in Washington, D.C., says the U.S.–Soviet relationship "had deteriorated to the point where the Soviet Union as a system — not just the Kremlin, not just Andropov, not just the KGB — but as a system, was geared to expect an attack and to retaliate very quickly to it. It was on hair-trigger alert. It was very nervous and prone to mistakes and accidents... The false alarm that happened on Petrov’s watch could not have come at a more dangerous, intense phase in U.S.–Soviet relations." In an interview televised nationally in the United States, Blair said, "The Russians saw a U.S. government preparing for a first strike, headed by a President capable of ordering a first strike." Regarding the incident involving Petrov, he said, "I think that this is the closest we've come to accidental nuclear war."

    Oleg D. Kalugin, a former KGB chief of foreign counterintelligence who knew Soviet leader Yuri Andropov well, says that Andropov's distrust of American leaders was profound. It is conceivable that if Petrov had declared the satellite warnings valid, such an erroneous report could have provoked the Soviet leadership into becoming bellicose. Says Kalugin, "The danger was in the Soviet leadership thinking, 'The Americans may attack, so we better attack first.'"
    Reagan took us to the brink of war, but luck and skill helped keep it from going too far.

    Although it seems like more of the former than anything.

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  • Magister
    replied
    The first move in this hypothetical war would have been US air strikes against targets in Cuba in preparation for an invasion. This was already planned, though I have never seen a target list. At that point the Russians would have to make a choice whether or not to retaliate. Despite being aware of US military superiority, I can't imagine that they would have done nothing while US ordnance was dropping on Cuba, killing their people, never mind their Cuban allies. Two options I've read about were attacks on the US missile bases in Turkey or the occupation of the western sectors of Berlin. Hard to say which would have been more provokative. Either way, US and allied personnel would have been killed. In spite of all this there might have been a slim chance to stop it all, since neither side truly wanted the confrontation. Once the bullits started flying it would be harder to stop, but not impossible. If it didn't stop, then Russia was going to get the worse of it I believe. In 1962 the US still had such an overwhelming lead in weapons capable of landing a nuclear bomb or warhead on the USSR, that it is hard to imagine the Russians prevailing. I believe they had two launch sites for missiles capable of reaching the US. Sites, that would likely have been struck early on. There were some submarines with ballistic missiles but these were relatively short range and had to be fired from the surface. The principal means for striking North America would have been the Tu-95 bomber but these would have to negotiate an extensive radar and interceptor network, not to mention Nike missile batteries. It is likely that some would inevitably get through, but the damage these would inflict would never equal what would happen in Russia. I don't believe it would have been the end of civilization as is often said. Russia and probably much of Europe would be wrecked of course but much of the world (the undeveloped part) would remain untouched.

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  • LtCol
    replied
    Read a report in the late 1960s (1967 through 1969) of a study on the effects of all out nuclear war between the US and USSR...based on what was known about each abilities...the conclusion was the US back to the early 1900s in population and infrastructure...the USSR pushed back to around the 1500s. Sorry I cannot cite the source better.

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  • johnbryan
    replied
    Originally posted by The Black Baron View Post
    Either way, it wouldn't help the relationship between the US and the USSR
    Yeah. I don't think there would be any "detente."

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  • Dibble201Bty
    replied
    I would have just had my 3rd birthday when, !pfhut!

    Paul
    Last edited by Dibble201Bty; 16 Dec 08, 19:19.

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  • Tsar
    replied
    Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
    Had the Cuban missile crisis gone hot, most likely due to a US decision or miscalculation to do so, the Soviets would have initially been in deep trouble.

    First, the Soviets lacked any credible strategic bomber force at the time. They had a relative handful of Tu 95 and Tu 4 bombers that might be able to launch a one-way strike on the US.
    They, like the US lacked an operational ICBM.
    Really? During the Cuban missile crisis the U.S. had 142 Atlas and 62 Titan I ICBMs, mostly in hardened underground silos. With a roughly 4 megaton warhead each that comes to about 800 megatons, hardly insignificant.

    Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
    But, the US already had deployed squadrons of Thor and Jupiter IRBM missiles to England, Italy and, Turkey
    Yes a total of 105 missiles, each with a 1.4 megaton warhead. I would have been more worried about our “nonexistent” ICBM force personally.

    Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
    (these precipitated the missile crisis and were deployed against the advice of the military by JFK)
    I didn’t know JFK was president in 1958 when we started to deploy them. Thought that was Eisenhower.

    Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
    that would have oblitherated much of Western Russia in an initial strike.
    In the short run, Russia would have succumb to a nuclear holocaust that they had little means to retaliate from.
    Western Europe would have suffered a similar fate simply through the Soviet's desire to do something in retaliation.
    The US might have had a few nuclear strikes but nothing compared to what was thrown on the Soviets.
    Kruschiev realized the reality of the situation. That is why he backed down in the end. He knew a nuclear war was not a winning proposition for the Soviet Union at the time.
    In the long run, the Soviets would have lost but at great cost to the West and in particular Europe. Europe most likely would have kicked the US out of their nations simply to avoid any possibility of a repeat in the future.
    All in all, if the Cuban missile crisis went hot (and at several points it nearly did mostly due to US stupidity) the world would have suffered greatly for nothing.

    If you are going to bad mouth the U.S. at least get your facts straight. Otherwise you just come across as another whiny brat.

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  • T. A. Gardner
    replied
    Had the Cuban missile crisis gone hot, most likely due to a US decision or miscalculation to do so, the Soviets would have initially been in deep trouble.

    First, the Soviets lacked any credible strategic bomber force at the time. They had a relative handful of Tu 95 and Tu 4 bombers that might be able to launch a one-way strike on the US.
    They, like the US lacked an operational ICBM. But, the US already had deployed squadrons of Thor and Jupiter IRBM missiles to England, Italy and, Turkey (these precipitated the missile crisis and were deployed against the advice of the military by JFK) that would have oblitherated much of Western Russia in an initial strike.
    In the short run, Russia would have succumb to a nuclear holocaust that they had little means to retaliate from.
    Western Europe would have suffered a similar fate simply through the Soviet's desire to do something in retaliation.
    The US might have had a few nuclear strikes but nothing compared to what was thrown on the Soviets.
    Kruschiev realized the reality of the situation. That is why he backed down in the end. He knew a nuclear war was not a winning proposition for the Soviet Union at the time.
    In the long run, the Soviets would have lost but at great cost to the West and in particular Europe. Europe most likely would have kicked the US out of their nations simply to avoid any possibility of a repeat in the future.
    All in all, if the Cuban missile crisis went hot (and at several points it nearly did mostly due to US stupidity) the world would have suffered greatly for nothing.

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  • notwillW
    replied
    and most of us would not be here to post

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  • Cutaway
    replied
    Either Cuba or some of the southern US States may have been wiped out, Or just lead to somthing like the Grenada Campaign.

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  • The Black Baron
    replied
    Either way, it wouldn't help the relationship between the US and the USSR

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  • Cyberknight
    replied
    I would think that a nuclear or conventional torpedo strike would result in relatively the same level of escalation in the crisis. "Nukes don't leave holes in the water."

    Either way, the US would have had more conventional options with which to deal with the Soviet missile sites, ships and subs while the USSR would either have to go nuclear in Cuba as well as escalate in Europe, which would only lead to a larger, possibly general exchange of nukes or choose to back off while blaming the US for the destruction to date. None of the options were palatable, however. I am glad we never found out. My dad told me he really thought he was going to lose his young family to nuclear war for a day or two.

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  • Cyberknight
    replied
    Originally posted by Full Monty View Post
    Hmmmm, I seem to remember several close calls during the Ray-gun era although for different reasons from the above. Too many itchy fingers too close to the button for comfort.
    I seem to remember that it was the decision by Reagan to reinvigorate the conventional military and intelligence assetts which made nuclear war less likely due to options other than a harsh diplomatic protest and a strategic nuclear strike practical and thus more likely.

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  • PatBC
    replied
    The soviet nuclear torpedo of the time 53-58 had a 3KT warhead. EMP pulse would not be a major factor.

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  • R.N. Armstrong
    replied
    There is an account by Navy veteran Peter Huchthausen who served on the USS Blandy during the crisis pubilshed as October Fury which brings together the recollections of American and Russian participants in the confrontation between US destroyers and Soviet submarines.

    There were several encounters. The B-59 was the most dangerous. In the "Cuban Samba" Vadim Orlov, a communications intelligence officer on the Soviet sub recounted tense and stressful situation on Oct 27th when US destroyers lobbed PDCs at B-59. Captain Savitsky unable to establish communications with Moscow "became angry" and ordered the nuclear torpedo [No one on the US side knew at the time that the Sov subs were nuclear-armed.] to be assembled for battle readiness. Savitsky roared, "We're going to blast them now! We will die, but we will sink them all." It was at this point Archipov calmed Savitsky and they made the decision tosurface the submarine. So, the target had not been identified.

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