I am just finishing work on a my book on the Cuban Missile Crisis (The Fires of October) and I thought now would be a good time to start posting a reflection back on the crisis – day-by-day. This is the 50th anniversary of the crisis, thirteen days that the world held its breath during.
The missile crisis has an almost cult-like following by historians (if such a thing exists). The reason is that there are so many different aspects to the crisis to explore. There’s the crisis management and decision making processes that unfolded. There’s the military build-up and the concept of an escalation to a global nuclear war. The angle I’m writing about is the planned invasion of Cuba – OP Plan 316-62 which has been largely overlooked over the years. Stepping into writing the Cold War is something that makes me cringe a little. I’m not part of the ‘club’ yet with the historians who cover this subject. I’m hoping they see some merit in the last three years of research I did on the topic.
My reason for starting today, October 14, is that is the day that the crisis began to unfold. A U2 surveillance flight by Major Richard Heyser over Cuba took photographs that would lead to the ignition of the crisis. There had been previous flights, but his was the first that brought back tangible evidence of the strategic Soviet build-up on the island.
Each day or so I will post up some other nice little tid-bits on the crisis. Bookmark me and stay tuned.