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Kennedy Imposes Naval Blockade on Cuba, 1962

As Cold War tensions escalate, the Post on Oct. 23 reports on the Cuban Missile Crisis and how the Soviet Union might respond to the president's order.

  • Type
  • Source
    The Washington Post
  • Date
    October 1962
  • Section
    Front Page
  • Copyright

With the end of World War II in 1945 came the Cold War, the ideological battle for power between the United States and the Soviet Union, and their allies. Tensions mounted as each side sought to build and consolidate their power, primarily through nuclear proliferation.

Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro aligned himself with the Soviet Union after he took power in 1959. Due to Cuba’s close proximity to the United States, the Soviet decision to construct rocket bases on the communist island triggered the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962. After surveillance photos showed the presence of nuclear missiles there, President John F. Kennedy ordered Navy ships to ring the island and stop and search incoming vessels for additional weapons.

The Washington Post‘s front page on Oct. 23, 1962, is devoted almost entirely to the crisis, including a drastic drop in the stock market, a halt to mid-term campaigning by Kennedy, and beefed up news coverage by Cuban and U.S. news outlets. The Post also speculates on Cuban and Soviet military reactions to Kennedy’s blockade as they engaged in a “test of will.”


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