Fifty years ago, the world as we know it came within a hair’s breadth of being destroyed. In the October 1962 Cuban missile crisis, all the pieces were in place for the initiation of a catastrophic nuclear war. Soviet chairman Nikita Khrushchev had secretly deployed strategic nuclear weapons to his new ally, Cuba’s Fidel Castro, whom the U.S., led by President John F. Kennedy, was threatening to attack and invade. On October 22, Kennedy addressed the nation and the world on radio and television. He announced that the Soviet missiles in Cuba had to be removed by the Soviets, or the U.S. would remove them in a military strike. Cuba was suddenly the hinge of the world—a world poised on the precipice of the nuclear abyss.
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