Saturday, February 4, 2012

Researching the Cuban Missile Crisis

For the last three years I have been pulling together research on the Cuban Missile Crisis.  It is hard to believe that we are coming up this year on the 50th anniversary of the crisis.  I’ve always been fascinated by this event because it was the closest we came to a third world war. 
NARA - Kennedy Presidential Library, Map of Cuba from the crisis  Handwritten notations on the map show missile sites. 

Three years sounds like a long time to research – but trust me, it has been worth the wait.  There are some outstanding books out there covering the totality of the crisis, the politics, the decision making, etc..  My book concentrates purely on the military aspects of the crisis – a massive what-if of sorts.  What if we had been forced to invade Cuba?  What were those plans, what were the defenses, and what were the ramifications around the globe if the war had unfolded? 

It has taken me three years of Freedom of Information Act requests to begin to get some of the material declassified.  My book will break some new ground in terms of the missile crisis research.  I have already uncovered new sources that have never been published or referenced before, sources that will give us new views into the events that nearly plunged us into nuclear war.  

You have to be pretty patient when getting materials declassified.  Some of this stuff was sealed under Executive Orders for half a century.  I’m glad I started work on this three years ago.  Even so, it will be a rush to get finish the work.   I’m fairly confident that it will be worth the wait though.  Last week I pulled my materials already gathered and I was stunned at what I had amassed over three years. 

I didn’t get to witness the crisis first-hand.  I was born in November of 1962, as the crisis was winding down.  My father was stationed at Fortress Monroe VA during the events in October of that year.  For me, I have to rely on sources of material to help me understand what happened. 

If you are out there are know something about the defense of Berlin or the plans to invade Cuba in 1962 – I’d love to talk to you.  I am constantly amazed by what people kept copies of, or can remember about the event.  I can be reached at 

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