One Hell of a Gamble: Khrushchev, Castro, and Kennedy, 1958-1964: The Secret History of the Cuban Missile Crisis

One Hell of a Gamble: Khrushchev, Castro, and Kennedy, 1958-1964: The Secret History of the Cuban Missile Crisis

Aleksandr Fursenko

Language: English

Pages: 420

ISBN: 0393317900

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Based on classified Soviet archives, including the files of Nikita Khrushchev and the KGB, "One Hell of a Gamble" offers a riveting play-by-play history of the Cuban missile crisis from American and Soviet perspectives simultaneously.

No other book offers this inside look at the strategies of the Soviet leadership. John F. Kennedy did not live to write his memoirs; Fidel Castro will not reveal what he knows; and the records of the Soviet Union have long been sealed from public view: Of the most frightening episode of the Cold War--the Cuban Missile Crisis--we have had an incomplete picture. When did Castro embrace the Soviet Union? What proposals were put before the Kremlin through Kennedy's back-channel diplomacy? How close did we come to nuclear war? These questions have now been answered for the first time. This important and controversial book draws the missing half of the story from secret Soviet archives revealed exclusively by the authors, including the files of Nikita Khrushchev and his leadership circle. Contained in these remarkable documents are the details of over forty secret meetings between Robert Kennedy and his Soviet contact, records of Castro's first solicitation of Soviet favor, and the plans, suspicions, and strategies of Khrushchev. This unique research opportunity has allowed the authors to tell the complete, fascinating, and terrifying story of the most dangerous days of the last half-century.

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atomic bombs for the Il-28s and where he asked for Luna missiles. The Defense Ministry had suggested two or three detachments, with eight to twelve missiles. Khrushchev, betraying his concerns and his belief in the value of battlefield nuclear weapons, chose the higher figure. However, he decided not to send a regiment of R-11m cruise missiles. Khrushchev understood the importance of the decision he had just made and took pains to maintain direct control of these special weapons. A day after he

contain any clues as to what secret intelligence, if any triggered, this meeting. 2. The message was the following: Director (Malinovsky) to Pavlov (Pliyev): “In connection with the tense situation around Cuba, put into effect full military readiness Cuban and Soviet forces. In case of enemy landing on the island of Cuba, take all measures to destroy the enemy by means of the Cuban and Soviet troops, with the exception of the equipment under the command of Statsenko and Beloborodov.” Major

month the Kremlin had become far more generous, though partly with others’ funds: the Presidium wanted the Czechs to absorb 15–25 percent of the cost and the Poles 10–20 percent; “then the remaining portion the Soviet government will take upon itself.” Raúl Castro’s Visit In light of the Castro brothers’ conviction that the United States would never accept the Soviet-Cuban embrace, Fidel decided to send his brother Raúl to the Kremlin to discuss defense cooperation. In early June, Alekseev

Khrushchev’s leadership of international communism. In addition to the Chinese, the Japanese, Burmese, North Vietnamese, Ceylonese, Zanzibari, Sudanese, Somalian, and Argentine representatives spoke out against Stalin’s successor.54 The root of China’s concern could be traced to the Twentieth Party Congress, in 1956, when Khrushchev acknowledged the brutality of Stalinism before an audience of members of the socialist bloc and unveiled a new foreign policy. What angered the Chinese most was the

the experience of the Bay of Pigs. In the middle of March 1962, he reported that Kennedy was not apt to approve an invasion, because a military intervention would undermine the Alliance for Progress, which was Kennedy’s preferred weapon for use against the regional appeal of Fidel Castro. Besides being a provocation, an uprising might tempt Kennedy to invade. Kennedy knew about the serious food shortages in Cuba and had called for measures that would further aggravate the situation. But the tone

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