Why was the Cuban Missile Crisis a turning point in Cold War Relations?
The Cuban missile crisis had relieved the tensions and possibilities of a nuclear war between the two superpowers.The USA had attempted to destroy Castro’s regime, with the April 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion where 1,400 Cuban rebels attempted to invade the island.The USSR had come to the aid of Cuba, providing nuclear missiles aimed at major cities in USA.
The USA ordered a naval blockade to prevent Soviet ships from transporting the missiles to Cuba.
The threat of a nuclear war was apparent and eventually the two superpowers made an agreement stating the removal of the US missile sites in Turkey in exchange for the USSR missile sites in Cuba, aborting the possibility of nuclear annihilation. The two superpowers were at the brink of a nuclear holocaust but the crisis made them realise the policy of brinkmanship was dangerous so they abandoned it, which is why the crisis is viewed as a turning point.
The crisis had also improved US-USSR relations. USA and the USSR were prepared to avoid a future crisis after they realised the policy of brinkmanship nearly caused a nuclear war. A telephone hotline was set up between the White House and the Kremlin to provide swift communication and in August 1963, a Test-Ban treaty was signed, outlawing the test of nuclear weapons. Therefore, the Cuban Missile Crisis was a turning point in Cold War relations because the two superpowers developed a friendship, putting the effort in to reduce risk of a recurrence. On the contrary, it could only be described as a turning point in this period because they were reducing the risk of a crisis but they did not preserve their relations later on.
The crisis had also led to world peace. The superpowers had avoided a nuclear war and in doing so prevented the destruction of the world. The USA did not bother Cuba again and the Soviet missiles were removed from Cuba. The superpowers realised that peaceful negotiations can help solve predicaments and both leaders were credited for their part in maintaining world peace. The crisis is a turning point as before, the world wasn’t peaceful with USA trying to rid the world of communism and the relations between superpowers were negative. However, in this time period, they had restored world peace by negotiating terms.
The Cuban Missile Crisis influenced Cold War relations strongly. The two superpowers had now realised the dangers of adopting the policy of brinkmanship and made an effort to avoid a recurrence of the crisis again by understanding the importance of swift communication.