From October 16-28, 1962, the United States and the Soviet Union faced off in one of the most dangerous moments of the Cold War. After a U.S. spy plane took pictures of Soviet nuclear missiles being deployed in Cuba – just 90 miles from Florida – and diplomatic discussions did not bring any results, the U.S. Navy launched a “quarantine” regime around the island to prevent Soviet ships from bringing in more weapons.
Every vessel going to Cuba was to be searched by the U.S. military. The Soviet side considered this a blockade, and an act of aggression. Soviet ships were ordered to ignore the quarantine and continue their way to Havana.
A 40,000-strong Soviet military contingent armed with tactical nuclear weapons was already deployed in Cuba and was ready to use its arsenal to prevent an invasion. Several medium-range ballistic nuclear missiles capable of reaching the U.S. mainland were also already deployed in Cuba.
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