By Norman Polmar
The nearest we have ever come to the top of the world
"DEFCON-2 is the simplest unmarried quantity at the Cuban Missile predicament released and is a vital contribution to the historical past of the chilly battle. past the army and political evidence of the difficulty, Polmar and Gresham cartoon the personalities that created and coped with the obstacle. in addition they convey us how shut we got here to the sting with out changing into sensationalistic."—Larry Bond, bestselling writer of risky Ground
Spy-satellite and aerial-reconnaissance photographs demonstrate that one of many United States's bitterest enemies should be buying guns of mass destruction and the capability to exploit them opposed to the yankee fatherland. management officers refuse to just accept intelligence execs' interpretation of those photographs and order an finish to undercover agent missions over the offending kingdom. greater than a month later, after vicious infighting, the president orders the undercover agent missions to renew. the recent photographs exhibit an array of ballistic missiles, able to sporting nuclear warheads and outstanding deep inside U.S. territory. it seems that the missiles may be totally operational inside one week.
This isn't really a plot setup for a suspense novel; it's the precise tale of the main terrifying second within the 45-year chilly conflict among the USA and the Soviet Union: the Cuban Missile obstacle. DEFCON-2 tells this story because it hasn't ever been advised before—from each side, with the aid of hundreds and hundreds of lately declassified U.S. and Soviet files, in addition to interviews with a variety of former spies, army figures, and govt officers who communicate out the following for the 1st time.
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Extra info for DEFCON-2: Standing on the Brink of Nuclear War During the Cuban Missile Crisis
Ironically, it was the near use of these smaller weapons that almost turned the Cuban Missile Crisis into World War III. Earlier the same day, an American U-2 spyplane on an Arctic atmospheric sampling mission became lost and accidentally overflew Soviet territory in Siberia. In response, the Soviet air defense forces launched MiG fighters to intercept the reconnaissance aircraft, which was finally headed back to base in Alaska. To help escort the U-2 home, the Alaskan Air Command launched a pair of its own interceptors: F-102s armed with Falcon AAMs that had tactical nuclear warheads.
In the United States, that attitude was reflected in the knowledge that the United States had overwhelming strategic nuclear superiority over the Soviet Union, and that the imbalance of strategic weapons might never again be as favorable as it was at that time. S. Minuteman and Polaris strategic missile programs. Both Kennedy and Khrushchev knew that they could keep their hardliners in check and their fingers off the triggers that could ignite a nuclear conflagration. Despite the notions of novelists, screenwriters, and even a few historians, there were no “rogue elephants”—generals plotting coups—in either the United States or the Soviet Union.
Such actions were unacceptable to the Kennedy administration. After the humiliating failure to overthrow Castro with the Bay of Pigs invasion in April 1961, the president entrusted his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, to lead the effort to covertly overthrow Castro. But Castro proved to be a wily and tough opponent. Nikita Khrushchev came to the Cuban Missile Crisis by another path, trying to resolve a number of Soviet problems in a single, bold stroke. Those included preserving the Castro regime in the face of American efforts to overthrow it, while at the same time trying to redress the Soviet inferiority in strategic nuclear weapons that could strike the American homeland.
DEFCON-2: Standing on the Brink of Nuclear War During the Cuban Missile Crisis by Norman Polmar