Timeline October 1962

An American U-2 reconnaissance plane discovered Soviet missiles in Cuba on October 14, 1962. On October 16, considered Day 1 of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the President's National Security Advisor showed him the photographs taken by the U-2. They showed components of Soviet medium-ranged missiles that once assembled could reach at least 50% of the United States. President Kennedy chose to blockade Cuba, both by air and sea, to prevent any more Soviet shipments of weapons from reaching Cuba.

On Day 7 of the 13 day crisis, President Kennedy showed the photographs to the American people and warned the Soviets that if the Cubans launched their missiles, the United States would launch a "full retaliatory response against the U.S.S.R." Kennedy's speech led to mass protest demonstrations in London, Cairo, Tokyo, and Rio De Janeiro and to panic buying in U.S. supermarkets. The Soviet Union responded 13 hours later that the United States could lose millions of lives because of its aggressive policy. Soviet Premier Khrushchev ordered submarines to rendezvous with Soviet ships nearing the blockade.

On Day 10, the United States confronted the Soviet Union in the United Nations. The next day, a KGB (Soviet secret service) chief contacted the ABC Network's State Department correspondent to hint that the Soviet Union might remove its missiles if the United States promised not to invade Cuba. Shortly thereafter, President Kennedy received a long teletype from Premier Khrushchev outlining the same deal. A second teletype insisted on the United States also removing its missiles from Turkey. Attorney General Robert Kennedy met with the Soviet ambassador to work out a deal. The Soviets agreed to remove their missiles from Cuba, and the United States promised not to invade Cuba. The United States also informed the Soviet Union that it had already decided to remove its now-obsolete missiles from Turkey. On October 28, Radio Moscow announced that the Soviet Union would remove its missiles from Cuba, ending the Cuban Missile Crisis.

The Cuban Missile Crisis brought the world to the brink of nuclear war, but it also led to a hot line between Moscow and Washington (see June 1963) and the Limited Test Ban Treaty (see August 1963).