A Surprising Discovery from the Cuban Missile Crisis

The Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 is one of my newer modules. And as so often happens, I encounter something that is quite surprising in the process of researching and delivering the session.

Just so you know, the quick summary of the event is that the Soviet Union moved nuclear missiles secretly to Cuba. The move placed hostile weapons at the hands of clear U.S. adversaries within easy reach of the American east coast and southeastern regions. After two weeks of tense negotiations that brought the U.S. and U.S.S.R. to the brink of nuclear war, the Soviets agreed to withdraw the missiles. Months later, the U.S. withdrew an older set of missiles from Turkey, a location that had offended the Soviets.

My discovery is this. Almost unbelievably, the most pivotal and dangerous set of interaction was not between the Americans and Soviets, it was between President John Kennedy and his advisors on one hand and the American military on the other. These two groups loathed each other, disrespected each other, and mistrusted each other. They clashed, argued, bickered, and generally sought to undermine each other’s effort.

Your divisions within your followers can kill you. Learn from Kennedy and the military in 1962.