Skip to comments."The War” Myths Endure after 70 years
Posted on 10/14/2012 12:42:06 PM PDT by moneyrunner
From the Associated Press: Cuban missile crisis beliefs endure after 50 years
In the five decades since the nuclear standoff between Washington and Moscow, much of the long-held conventional wisdom about the missile crisis has been knocked down, including the common belief that Kennedy's bold brinksmanship ruled the day.
On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the Cuban missile crisis, historians now say it was behind-the-scenes compromise rather than a high-stakes game of chicken that resolved the faceoff, that both Washington and Moscow wound up winners and that the crisis lasted far longer than 13 days.
In the spirit of the Associated Press article by Peter Orsi, I believe its past time to re-examine some of the myths surrounding the dispute between England, France, Germany, Italy, the USSR, Japan, China, Netherlands, the US (and others) often referred to as World War II.
Despite what many believe, this so-called war ended as the result of intense diplomatic negotiation between the major governments involved.
Declassified documents, oral histories and accounts from decision-makers involved in the standoff have turned up new information that scholars say provides lessons for leaders embroiled in contemporary crises.
There were, of course, people who wanted to wage total war rather than come to an understanding, but FDR resisted pressure from foreign leaders like Winston Churchill who advised him to demand nothing less than unconditional surrender and who even went so far as to propose that we invade continental Europe.
But cooler heads prevailed and meetings were held by American, British, and Soviet representatives and leaders in Germany and Japan. We were about to provide a face-saving out for Mr. Hitler but an unfortunate accident while cleaning his pistol made that impossible. In the end, negotiations were concluded with German President Karl Dönitz which led to the end of the misunderstanding in Europe.
In the Pacific, negotiations were soon begun after fighting ended in Europe. In the end a deal was struck between Mr. MacArthur and Mr. Hirohito in which Mr. Hirohito was widely reported to have gotten the better deal, keeping his job as emperor, his palace and a firm guarantee that he would not be hanged. MacArthur was later fired from his job and, to rub salt in the wounds, failed in his effort to be nominated to office running as a Republican.
The myth that the US Army, Navy, Air Force and the Marines had much to do with ending this potential conflict is due to the incredible propaganda effort on the part of the Military Industrial Complex.
Now we know better.
September 18, 2009
HAVANA, September 18 (RIA Novosti) - Modernization of the Soviet-made military equipment and training of Cuban military personnel will be the focus of Russian-Cuban military cooperation in the near future, the chief of the Russian General Staff said on Friday. Gen. Nikolai Makarov arrived on a working visit to Cuba on Monday, met with Cuban President Raul Castro and the country's military leadership, and visited a number of military installations.
"During the Soviet era we delivered a large number of military equipment to Cuba, and after all these years most of this weaponry has become obsolete and needs repairs," Makarov said.
"We inspected the condition of this equipment, and outlined the measures to be taken to maintain the defense capability of this country...I think a lot of work needs to be done in this respect, and I hope we will be able to accomplish this task," the general said.
Makarov said the Cuban request for assistance with training of military personnel will also be fully satisfied.
Although the Cuban leadership has repeatedly said it has no intention of resuming military cooperation with Russia after the surprise closure of the Russian electronic listening post in Lourdes in 2001, bilateral military ties seem to have been improving following the visit of Russian Security Council chief Nikolai Patrushev and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin to Cuba in July last year.
A group of Russian warships, led by the Admiral Chabanenko destroyer visited Cuba in December last year during a Caribbean tour.
The media has been abuzz today at the prospect of Russian nuclear bombers being stationed in Cuba if the US goes ahead with plans for missile defense bases in Eastern Europe.
The story has riled the US enough that a US general has been wheeled out to tell the worlds press that any Russian attempt to build another nuclear base in Cuba would cross US red line.
The story broke earlier this week, when Russian newspaper Izvestia quoted an un-named source from within the Russian military. He told the Russian daily:
While they are deploying the missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic, our strategic bombers will already be landing in Cuba.
The quote hasnt been independently confirmed, but the Russian Defense Ministry added fuel to the fire when they refused to comment on the story.
The prospect of Russian nuclear forces being stationed in Cuba - which is, after all, only 90 miles from the US coast - would bring back some rather unpleasant memories for the US of the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, where the Soviet Union under Nikita Kruschev launched an audacious and foolhardy bid to station nuclear missiles on the Caribbean island.
Seems like effective politickin’. No missiles in Cuba and Russia hasn’t attacked Turkey.
I almost fell for it until I started reading the jokes about WW2.
Good job at sarcasm.
All anyone needed to know about the decision making in the crisis was written by Graham Allison 40 years ago. He was spot on in his analysis of JFK’s decisions and he did not have the benefit of declassified info. Given the irrationality of Khruschev and Castro Kennedy’s performance was life saving. As no one knew of the presence of tactical nukes in Cuba or of the fact that there was no leash on using them any invasion would have been disastrous and a prolonged air attack may also have seen a few nukes sent off toward the U.S. and from that point it would be anyone’s guess.
Cuban Missle adventure, what ended it.
The United States Navy located and got over every Russian submarine at sea. The Russians knew this. Any hostility would have seen all their subs sunk. The Russians soon became reasonable. An OLD sailor sends.
Yep, that's the myth all right. And a myth Kennedy's handlers knew was sorely needed after the disastrous dithering at the Bay of Pigs and the embarrassment at the Vienna Summit in 1961 exposed Kennedy to the general perception of being indecisive and weak.
With the benefit of access to Soviet documents in 2008, Michael Dobbs may have something more to offer about just how "irrational" Khrushchev was-- or wasn't.
Never would have happened if Kennedy hadn’t gone all chicken during the Bay of Pigs showing himself to be a coward
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