Defcon-2: standing on the brink of nuclear war during the Cuban missile crisis
Here, in the first complete and authoritative history of the Cuban Missile Crisis, these stories are exposed for the first time:
• Why the planned American invasion of Cuba was a blueprint for a nuclear bloodbath and possibly the harbinger of total nuclear war.
• The first full accounting of men and equipment sent in 1962 by Soviet Union to Cuba.
• The almost meaningless measures taken by both sides for control, security, and release of tactical nuclear weapons, many of which stood on hair-trigger alert with junior officers.
• Why the first shots of World War III were nearly fired at sea early by Soviet submarines, and by U.S. Air Force fighter jets over the Bearing Sea, on the same day.
And the book includes new insights into:
• Operation Anadyr, the largest overseas military deployment in the history of the USSR.
• The intelligence failures of Kennedy’s senior national security and foreign policy advisors and, ultimately, the President himself for relying on them.
• Nuclear Warheads. Until recently, the public has believed most of the Soviet atomic warheads were turned back before they could be landed. In fact the Soviet Union successfully moved 134 missile warheads and bombs to the island, with at least another 24 just offshore ready to be unloaded.
• Communications. Despite their capability to order the start of World War III in just a matter of minutes, neither Kennedy or Khrushchev could get a simple text message to each other in less than 12 hours. And to do that, they had to use the Western Union telegram service, with messages being picked up and delivered by minimum-wage couriers on bicycles!
• Invasion Plans. The United States had readied a massive invasion force to occupy Cuba, destroy the Soviet missiles, and remove Fidel Castro from power. However, Operation Anadyr landed over 40,000 troops in tourist clothing that were undetected from aerial reconnaissance.
• Otherwise Normal Operation. While American and Soviet leaders “worked to resolve” the missile crisis diplomatically, the elevated military alert during the missile crisis meant that otherwise normal flights often looked like a prelude to attack, raising the level of international tensions to the breaking point.
• The Second Crisis. Breathing a collective sigh of relief after the tension of the “thirteen days” of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Soviet missiles withdrawal agreement was nearly scuttled by Fidel Castro’s intransigence with a handful of obsolete jet bombers. This “second crisis,” re-ignited the threat of nuclear world war, just when the superpowers thought they were safe
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Most Dangerous Moments
Imbalance of Terror
Coming to America
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