It was a heart stopping moment in the history of the nuclear build up. Kennedy announced a naval quarantine of Cuba to prevent the delivery of any more weapons.
The threat of war intensified over the next six days as the US and the Soviet Union stated their demands and waited to see how each would respond to the other. Meanwhile, US military commanders prepared for war. Finally, after several touch-and-go events, the two sides reached an agreement.
- The United States would remove its missile bases in Turkey.
- Russia would dismantle its bases in Cuba with the understanding that the US would pledge not to invade Cuba.
Both sides honored their agreements but in the years that followed the build up of nuclear weapons escalated.
Deborah Wiles, author of Countdown remembers this terrible time and was probably more aware of the dangers than some of the rest of us were. I'll let her explain.
I have yet to read Countdown with it's revolutionary documentary novel format. But I will read it soon!
I'm excited to say that Deborah is coming to my hometown next April for Hickory's Little Read. I wonder if she'll need someone to carry her bags?