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Nixon Administration during Cuban Missile Crisis

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  • Nixon Administration during Cuban Missile Crisis

    Apologies if this has been previously discussed. But I've always wondered how the Cuban Missile Crisis wpuld have played out if Nixon had won the 1960 election. He was a notorious hawk on Communism.

    Would he have attacked or invaded Cuba to get rid of the sites and get rid of Castro?

    Would the Soviets then retaliate on West Berlin/West Germany?

    Would WW3 happened because of it?

    Or would he have followed a similar course to Kennedy and get the missiles removed in exchange for missiles in Turkey?

  • #2
    Should be interesting as Nixon here would be without Kissinger.

    Now, have I not read that there were also tactical nuclear weapons in Cuba at the time and that the Soviet General had a free hand in their use if needed?

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    • #3
      From my understanding the Soviets had deployed frogs and given their local battlefield commanders discretion but I could be wrong.

      From what I understand, the Joint Chiefs tried working Kennedy to hit them with air strikes and then launch a follow up invasion to prevent it from ever happening again. I don’t see how they could ensure hitting all of them though, plus the longer range missile sites at the same time.

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      • #4
        The Bay of Pigs needs to be taken into account.
        If RMN had backed airstrikes, as JFK did not, would that have led to a prolonged conflict that might have interrupted Moscow's plans for missile bases in Cuba?
        Trust me?
        I'm an economist!

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        • #5
          Originally posted by tbm3fan View Post
          Should be interesting as Nixon here would be without Kissinger.

          Now, have I not read that there were also tactical nuclear weapons in Cuba at the time and that the Soviet General had a free hand in their use if needed?
          Nixon, was known for his foreign policy bonafides before he was POTUS. The Kitchen Debate with Khrushchev or the 1958 goodwill tour of South America. He certainly had a profound effect on the US. Taking the US off the gold stand, COLA ,EPA, Clean Water Act, Détente, War on drugs and opening the door to China. Watergate.

          Stephen Ambrose best work was his Nixon Trilogy.

          Not to underestimate Dr. Henry "South America, a dagger pointed at the heart of Antarctica" Kissinger.

          .Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power by Robert Dallek and Nixon and Mao: The Week That Changed the World by Margaret MacMillan both excellent books.

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          • #6
            Nixon did get the US out of Vietnam. I wonder how he would have handle the Mayaguez incident.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Dazed View Post
              Nixon did get the US out of Vietnam. I wonder how he would have handle the Mayaguez incident.
              Mayaguez was a tactical blunder. POTUS would have made not difference.

              Mayaguez, followed some years later with Desert One in 1980 and then Grenada in 1983, caused a total relook at DOD and caused massive reform in the military, Goldwater–Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act.

              Nixon, Ford....hell, Abraham Lincoln of George Washington would not have made a difference!
              “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
              Mark Twain

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              • #8
                Originally posted by statquo View Post
                From what I understand, the Joint Chiefs tried working Kennedy to hit them with air strikes and then launch a follow up invasion to prevent it from ever happening again..

                The reaction of General Shoup, Marine Corps Commandant at the time, was interesting. He seemingly was adamant against a ground invasion.

                This is from "None so Blind: Planning the Bay of Pigs Invasion" by Peter Oxley

                “A smaller number of strategists and experts who were directly involved in planning voiced opposition or at least encouraged caution. General David M. Shoup was one who tried to remind the CIA of the practicalities of an invasion effort, and used maps and diagrams, rather than esoteric arguments to make his case. At one point, he managed to make an impression by showing a map of U.S. overlaid with map of Cuba. His audience expressed surprise when they realized how large the island is. General Shoup then overlaid those two maps with a map of Tarawa Atoll, which was a tiny dot in comparison, and pointed out that it had taken three days and eighteen thousand Marines to capture Tarawa (Halberstam, 1972, pp. 66-67).”



                From what I understand, General Shoup was not enamored of the United States involvement in Vietnam. Also of note is at this time the Marine Corps Commandant was not a regular member of the JCS, but only “consulted on matters concerning the Corps.” Wasn’t till the late 70s that USMC Commandant General Lewis Wilson became a full sitting member.


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                • #9
                  David M. Shoup commanded the 2nd Marines at Tarawa so he more than just anyone on the planet knew what he was speaking about regarding what it would take to invade Cuba.
                  “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
                  Mark Twain

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