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Inside the Cuban Missile Crisis

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Inside the Cuban Missile Crisis

How an American Sub in the Mediterranean Played Its Part

In collaboration with the Naval Submarine League

Evening Program

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Tuesday, November 10, 2020 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET
Code: 1L0311S
This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
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  • This program is part of our Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
  • Platform: Zoom
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In October 1962, the United States and the Soviet Union faced off over Russia’s decision to place nuclear missiles in Cuba to deter an American invasion. President Kennedy ordered a naval blockade around the island to prevent additional missiles from being delivered. 

After several days of tense negotiations, Premier Khrushchev agreed to dismantle weapons in Cuba and return them to the Soviet Union if the U.S. publicly declared it would not invade Cuba. It’s now widely known that Kennedy also agreed to dismantle all U.S.-built ballistic missiles deployed in Turkey, weapons that were capable of reaching the Soviet Union.

Far fewer people know of the additional steps taken by the U.S. to de-escalate the situation while continuing to assure European security against potential Soviet aggression. The USS Sam Houston, the nation's seventh Polaris submarine, played a significant role in that effort during its deployment in the Mediterranean.

Naval historian David Rosenberg and retired Admiral Cecil Haney, former commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, provide context. They are joined by two retired officers who experienced the tensions as they played out: Rear Admiral George Ellis, who was at the Belgian headquarters of NATO’s Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, and Captain Al Perry, who was aboard the Sam Houston.

This program is made possible in part by Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries; Northrop Grumman Corp.; Systems Planning & Analysis; and USAA.

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