4.2 Cuban Missile Crisis

10. The Time of Television and Computers
4.2. The Cuban Missile Crisis
1 / 44
Slide 1: Tekstslide
HistoryMiddelbare schoolhavoLeerjaar 3

In deze les zitten 44 slides, met interactieve quizzen, tekstslides en 7 videos.

Onderdelen in deze les

10. The Time of Television and Computers
4.2. The Cuban Missile Crisis

Slide 1 - Tekstslide

What is this lesson about?
The Cold War led to a nuclear and conventional arms race between the Soviet Union and the USA. Although both tried to co-exist with each other, the strife between the two nations to become the most powerful one almost ended in full-scale nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Slide 2 - Tekstslide

people in this lesson
Fidel Castro
Mao Zedong

Slide 3 - Tekstslide

Word Duty

nuclear arms race: competition for supremacy in nuclear warfare, especially during the Cold War between the USA and the Soviet Union, and their respective allies.

space race: competition for supremacy in spaceflight capability especially during the Cold War between the USA and the Soviet Union.

De-Stalinisation: political reform in the Soviet Union after the death of Stalin in 1953 that rejected Stalin’s cult of personality.

Cuban Missile Crisis: a 1962 Cold War conflict between the USA and the Soviet Union over the deployment of Soviet missiles in Cuba, that almost ended in 
a full-scale nuclear war


Slide 4 - Tekstslide

Important dates in this lesson:

1945:  First atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki (by USA)
1949: USSR makes its own atomic bomb
          China becomes a communist state
1953: Stalin dies. His successor is Nikita Khrushchev
1957: first satellite (Sputnik) sent into orbit (by USSR)
1961: first man in space: Yuri Gagarin (USSR)
          Bay of Pigs invasion
1962: Cuban Missile Crisis
1969: first man on the moon: Neil Armstrong   (USA)

Slide 5 - Tekstslide

Slide 6 - Video

Powerful nuclear weapons

During the Cold War era, the USA and the Soviet Union became engaged in a nuclear arms race: each superpower tried to develop more powerful weapons than the other. Primarily they focussed on the creation of nuclear weapons. For instance, after the Soviet Union had created its first atomic bomb, the USA invented the H-bomb, a hydrogen bomb that was 450 times more powerful than the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the Americans in 1945. In addition, they tried to surpass each other in conventional weapons and created enormous stockpiles of tanks, guns and missiles.

How did the government say you should protect yourself in case of a nuclear attack? Watch the video in the next slide.

Missiles at a Soviet Military Parade in Moscow. These missiles had nuclear warheads and a range of 1,100 miles. Dated 1961.

Slide 7 - Tekstslide

Slide 8 - Video

1. Do you think the method ‘Duck and cover’ would have been effective against a nuclear attack? Explain your answer.

Slide 9 - Open vraag

2. Explain how the nuclear arms race
was an effect of the Cold War.

Slide 10 - Open vraag

At the same time, both the USA and the Soviet Union tried to achieve the lead in the so-called space race, trying to be the first into space. In 1957, the Soviet Union was the first to send a satellite into orbit; four years later, they launched the first man into space, Yuri Gagarin. The space race had its peak in 1969, when the USA succeeded in putting the first man, Neil Armstrong, on the moon. But for these two countries, the space race was very expensive.

Laika the dog was the first living creature into orbit, launched by the Russians in 1957 in a capsule called Sputnik 2. She was commemorated with statues and, as you can see, on stamps.

Sputnik 1 was the first satellite that was sent into orbit by the Soviet Union in 1957.

Slide 11 - Tekstslide

Yuri Gagarin, first man in space

Slide 12 - Tekstslide

"One small step for man, 
but a giant leap for mankind"
Neil Armstrong, first man on the moon.

Slide 13 - Tekstslide

Slide 14 - Video

3a. Which statements are true?

1 The H-bomb was just as strong as the atomic bomb, but had a wider range.
2 The USA and the Soviet Union became involved in a space race.
3 The Soviet Union was the first nation to send a satellite into space.
4 Neil Armstrong was the first human in space.
5 The space race was very expensive for both countries.

1, 3, 4
2, 4, 5
2, 3, 5
3, 4, 5

Slide 15 - Quizvraag

3b. Re-write the false statements from
question 3a so that they are true.

Slide 16 - Open vraag

Peaceful Coexistence?

In 1953, Stalin died: his successor, Nikita Khrushchev, wanted to change the Stalinist policy and so announced the De-Stalinisation of the Soviet Union. This involved the renaming of cities named after Stalin and the destruction of statues and monuments dedicated to Stalin and other signs of his personality cult. However, even though people did not have to fear the terror of Stalin anymore, the Soviet Union remained a dictatorship and living conditions did not improve for the people.

During a debate over a Russian resolution decrying colonialism, a representative of the government of the Philippines charged the Soviets with employing a double standard, pointing to their domination of Eastern Europe as an example of the colonialism they were criticizing in their resolution. In response, Khrushchev took off one of his shoes and began to furiously pound the table. The chaotic scene finally ended when General Assembly President Frederick Boland (Ireland) broke his gavel calling the meeting to order, but not before the image of Khrushchev as a hotheaded buffoon was indelibly etched into memory.

Soviet Communist leader Joseph Stalin lying in state in the hall of Trade Union House, Moscow. (March 12, 1953). Photo by Keystone/Getty 

Slide 17 - Tekstslide

4. Which of the following was an effect of De-Stalinisation?

people did not have to fear the terror of Stalin anymore
the Soviet Union was no longer a dictatorship
living conditions improved for the people.
all three answers are correct

Slide 18 - Quizvraag

In the late 1950’s, Khrushchev wanted to reduce hostility between his country and the USA and so defuse the threat of nuclear warfare. Therefore, he introduced a policy of so-called peaceful coexistence. Khrushchev suggested that despite their ideological differences, the Soviet Union and the USA could co-exist rather than fight each other. With this policy, Khrushchev tried to appease the West and show that the Soviets had given up on communist world revolution as their long-term goal. This policy of peaceful coexistence led to improved relations between the USA and the Soviet Union, but the Cuban Revolution triggered a new crisis.

In the fall of 1959, at the height of the Cold War, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev spent 12 days touring the United States at the invitation of President Eisenhower.
In the picture you can see Eisenhower holding a miniature Sputnik, a present from Krushchev. 

Slide 19 - Tekstslide

What would 'peaceful coexistence' mean in Dutch?

Slide 20 - Open vraag

Which two systems needed to coexist peacefully
according to Khrushchev?

Slide 21 - Open vraag

Khrushchev said that the Soviets had given up on communist world revolution as their long-term goal.
Explain what that means in your own words.

Slide 22 - Open vraag

Cuban Revolution

In the 1950s, president Batista ruled Cuba as a dictator and was supported by the USA. After a left-wing revolution, known as the Cuban Revolution, Batista was forced to step down. A new government was formed under Fidel Castro, one of the revolutionary leaders and influenced by the writings of Karl Marx and Lenin. So when Castro became the leader of Cuba, he gradually changed his country into a communist state: he introduced a centrally planned economy and began collectivising agricultural farmland. Cuba became the first communist country in the Americas. This worried the American government, because Cuba is located close to the USA. 

although liberated by the Soviets, the new Yugoslav peresident Tito was able to break his country free from Stalin's control in 1948.
Source A
Banknote in Cuba showing Fidel Castro and rebel soldiers entering Havana after his victory in 1959.

Slide 23 - Tekstslide

Study source A. Why was it very smart of Fidel Castro
to print this picture on banknotes?
Use the word 'propaganda' in your answer.

Slide 24 - Open vraag

Many Cubans welcomed Fidel Castro’s 1959 overthrowing of the dictatorial President Batista, yet the new order on the island just about 
100 miles from the USA made American officials nervous. 
Batista had been a corrupt and repressive dictator, but was considered to be pro-American and was an ally to US companies. At that time, American corporations and wealthy individuals owned almost half of Cuba’s sugar plantations and the majority of its cattle ranches, mines and utilities. Batista did little to restrict their operations. He was also reliably anti-communist. Castro, by contrast, disapproved of the approach that Americans took to their business interests in Cuba. It was time, he believed, for Cubans to assume more control of their nation.

Source B
Article about Batista. From:

Slide 25 - Tekstslide

Read source B. Why did the USA leave Batista alone
even though he ruled as a dictator?
Give two reasons.

Slide 26 - Open vraag

When Cuba signed a trade agreement with China, the American president decided to intervene and authorise a plan to overthrow Castro. Many Cubans had travelled to the USA after Castro’s takeover and the Americans trained these exiles to invade Cuba. In April 1961, over 1,400 paramilitaries landed at a beach named the Bay of Pigs, while eight USA-supplied bombers attacked Cuban airfields. However, the Cuban Army defeated the invaders within three days, so the Bay of Pigs Invasion failed. When the USA involvement in the failed invasion became known to the world, the already poor relationship between the two countries worsened.

LEOMINSTER DAILY ENTERPRISE, Massachusetts MA April 17, 1961 

Slide 27 - Tekstslide

Next slide: a video about the Bay of Pigs Invasion.
Watch if you are interested only.

Slide 28 - Tekstslide

Slide 29 - Video

Explain why the USA tried to intervene in Cuba.
Use the key word ‘Truman Doctrine’ in your answer.

Slide 30 - Open vraag

Fearing another American invasion, Castro turned to the Soviet Union. They developed close military and intelligence ties and agreed to place nuclear missiles on the island. But the American government discovered this plan when a spy plane took photos of missile preparations in Cuba. This led to the so-called Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. The USA, who feared a missile strike from Cuba, established a military blockade to prevent more SS-4 Missiles from reaching Cuba. At the same time, US President John F. Kennedy demanded that the missiles already on Cuba should be removed and the sites there dismantled. 
Watch the video clip in the next slide and listen what Kennedy said in his speech adressing the American people:

A picture, taken by an American spy plane, clearly shows rocket installations being constructed on the Island of Cuba.
This evidence led to the Cuba Crisis.

Slide 31 - Tekstslide

Slide 32 - Video

How do you think the American president felt about retaliating against the Soviet Union?
Use an example from the video to support your answer.

Slide 33 - Open vraag

Source C
This newspaper map from the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis shows the distances from Cuba to various cities on the North American continent.

Slide 34 - Tekstslide

Study Source C.
Why was this drawing published in the USA?

Slide 35 - Open vraag

The Cuban Missile Crisis almost led to a full-scale nuclear war between the USA and the Soviet Union. However, tense negations between Khrushchev and Kennedy eventually defused the situation and the Soviet Union agreed to dismantle the missile sites on Cuba while the US agreed not to invade Cuba again.
 A nuclear war was averted - for now: neither country wanted to risk the use of nuclear weapons against each other.

 The end of the Cuban Missile Crisis: Soviet cargo ship ‘Anesov’, escorted by a US Navy plane and the destroyer ‘USS Barry’, as it leaves Cuba loaded with missiles. October 1962.

Because of the Cuban Missile Crisis, a direct phone connection between the White House and the Kremlin was established. When one of the two leaders picked up the so-called red phone, it would instantly connect with the other leader.

Slide 36 - Tekstslide

Slide 37 - Video

Explain how the Cuban Missile Crisis can be seen
as a decisive moment in the Cold War.

Slide 38 - Open vraag

Hundred Flowers Campaign

During the Cold War, one of the greatest allies of the Soviet Union was China, a communist country under the leadership of Mao Zedong. However, this huge country would soon follow its own path.
Mao ruled China with an iron fist; citizens who opposed his leadership and decisions were sent to forced-labour camps or executed. In 1956, in a strange turn of events, Mao announced the Hundred Flowers Campaign to his people. Now they were allowed to express openly their opinion about the communist regime of China. Many citizens seized this opportunity to write about their feelings towards the communist regime and what they thought needed to change. Because of the many letters of complaint received, Mao decided to end this campaign. Citizens who had been too critical about the regime were now persecuted and imprisoned. The prosecution of these people was so intense that people believed the whole campaign was a trick by Mao to discover and arrest those who were against him and his regime.

Mao and Khrushchev, during the Russian leader’s visit to Peking in 1958.

Slide 39 - Tekstslide

10.2 The Cuban Missile Crisis
During the Cold War era, the USA and the Soviet Union became engaged in a ________ race and a ________ race.
For both countries this was very ____________.
In 1953 ________ died and he was succeeded by ___________ who announced the _____________ (= what?).
He also introduced the policy of Peaceful __________ (= what?)
In 1959 the Cuban dictator _______ was replaced by Fidel Castro. Castro turned Cuba into a ___________ island.
The Americans were worried because____________.... In 1961 the USA tried to overthrow Castro with the _____________
invasion. This failed / succeeded (choose).
Castro now developed more friendship with _________. Together they made plans to place __________ on the island.
When American spy planes detected the missile installations the USA feared _____________.
President _______ reacted with a military ___________ and threatened to attack any Soviet ship carrying ________.
The _____________ Crisis almost led to a full-scale ________ war. Eventually _________ gave in and dismantled the missile sites on Cuba.
In 1949 ________ turned China into a _________ state. He ruled China with an iron fist.
Dispite his ____________ Campaign, in which Chinese people were invited to give their opinion, millions of people who were critical towards the regime were _________ and ___________.
You can use this to make your own summary if you want to...

Slide 40 - Tekstslide

That's it. All clear?

Write down one question about something in this lesson that you still don't fully understand.

Slide 41 - Open vraag

Click here for extra resources

Slide 42 - Tekstslide


Slide 43 - Tekstslide


Slide 44 - Video