Thirteen Days Book
1. How did the United States find out that the USSR1 was placing missiles in Cuba? 2. What did the USSR disguise a large naval shipyard in Cuba as? 3. Did the United States expect that the USSR would put offensive weapons in Cuba? 4. Did the USSR say that it would put offensive weapons in Cuba?
5. Had the USSR put offensive weapons in any of its satellites before?
“The President…knew he would have to act.”
6. Why did Robert McNamara not recommend a strategic air strike against USSR missile bases in Cuba?
7. How soon did it appear that USSR missiles would be operational? 8. Where were the missiles in Cuba pointed? 9. What was the situation in Berlin, Germany, in the fall of 1962 that made it vulnerable?
(see HIST 202 PowerPoint 01) 10. Why did a blockade of Cuba seem better to President John F. Kennedy than an attack on
Cuba? (Hint: It has to do with the tradition, history, and moral position of the United States.) 11. What kind of assistance did USSR ambassador Andrei Gromyko claim the USSR was
providing to Cuba?
“A majority opinion…for a blockade…”
12. In addition to a legal basis for a blockade2, what other conditions did advocates for a blockade have to consider?
“It was now up to one single man.”
13. What were reasons that a surprise air attack was not a good idea? 14. The United States had missiles that it considered withdrawing in an attempt to resolve the
crisis. Where were those missiles located? 15. In which country was (is) the U.S. naval base at Guantánamo Bay? 16. What was the significance of the Organization of American States’ (OAS) support for a U.S.-
led quarantine of Cuba? 17. How did U.S. troops, ships, bomber forces, and atomic weapons prepare before the U.S.
announcement of a quarantine/blockade? 18. What did Robert McNamara think it would take to invade Cuba in terms of men, air sorties,
and Marines? What was the estimate of U.S. casualties?
“The important meeting of the OAS…”
19. What kind of support did the OAS give the U.S. proposal for a quarantine/blockade? 20. What is the significance of John F. Kennedy’s statement about the possibility of baby food on
a USSR ship bound for Cuba?
1 USSR was the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. It is also often called the Soviet Union. Robert F. Kennedy frequently called it “Russia” in his book.
2 In this guide and in Robert F. Kennedy’s book, quarantine and blockade mean the same thing.21. While neither the United States nor USSR seemed to want to go to war over Cuba, for what reasons might an attack, response, “counterresponse and escalation into armed conflict” happen?
“I met with Dobrynin…”
(In this chapter, Robert Kennedy, in a meeting with Anatoly Dobrynin, revealed that the United States had known about the Soviet missiles in Cuba for several days and that Andrei Gromyko had lied to John Kennedy about them. Oddly, Dobrynin asked Robert Kennedy why John Kennedy had not told Gromyko he knew about the weapons, while Robert Kennedy asked Dobrynin why Gromyko had not told John Kennedy he knew.)
“The danger was anything but over”
(This chapter describes the televised confrontation between U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Adlai Stevenson and Soviet ambassador to the United Nations V. A. Zorin in a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly) 22. Why did John Kennedy disagree with U Thant, the acting Secretary General of the United
Nations, that the quarantine be lifted? 23. Did the USSR stop building missile sites after ships were stopped at the quarantine line?
“There were almost daily communications with Khrushchev”
24. Why did John Kennedy assume that no sane man would “deliberately plunge the world into war”?
25. Why did John Kennedy want the Marculainspected?
“Expect very heavy casualties in an invasion.”
26. What was Nikita Khrushchev’s explanation to John Kennedy for sending weapons to Cuba? 27. What did Khrushchev think was the effect on the economy for accumulating (stockpiling)
armaments? 28. What did Khrushchev want the United States to do in exchange for withdrawing from, and
sending no additional weapons to, Cuba? 29. What was the role of ABC (the U.S. television network) in negotiations between the United
States and USSR? What does this say about the quality of communication between the two countries?
“This would mean war.”
30. What did the USSR ask the United States to do in Turkey? Why did it seem like a good idea to the United States?
“Those hours in the Cabinet Room…”
31. In his letter to Nikita Khrushchev, to what was John Kennedy referring in saying “a more general arrangement regarding ‘other armaments’”?
“The President ordered the Ex Comm…”
32. Why did the United States insist on continuing to fly photographic reconnaissance planes over Cuba?
33. Who had the ultimate authority to remove missiles from Cuba?