Comparison of the 1938 Munich Crisis and 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis and the Role of Nuclear Arms

2586 words 11 pages
Comparison of the 1938 Munich Crisis and 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis and the Role of Nuclear Arms

In annals of the 20th century, the Munich crisis of 1938 and the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 are two of the more riveting examples of crisis diplomacy (Richardson 1994). Comparisons of the two cases yield a robust discourse on their similarities and differences. The two cases illustrate the complexity of international leadership through ‘summit diplomacy’ (Dobbs 2008; Faber 2008; Reynolds 2008).
The outcomes of the two historic events are vastly different. For instance, the Munich crisis eventually became a prelude to World War II that dragged Great Britain to war with Germany. The Cuban Missile Crisis turned out to be
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He was of course being over-optimistic. This was no surprise because Kennedy did not want to start a war and was considered an ‘owl’ (Richardson, 211) that preferred contingency and diplomacy. Soviet Nikita Khrushchev, a ‘hawk’ , sent a written message to Kennedy saying that the US quarantine of international waters and air space was to him an act of aggression and that the US is driving humankind into the abyss of a world nuclear-missile war’.
The US demanded that the Soviet Union dismantle its missile bases in Cuba and withdraw all its weapons in the Caribbean island. The USSR publicly recoiled at US pressure. However, the crisis gave rise to covert back-channel exchanges between the two leaders aimed at reducing the risk of a nuclear conflict. The USSR agreed to US demands in exchange for US agreement never to invade Cuba. Secretly, the US agreed to Soviet’s demand for the dismantling and removal of a number of intermediate-range ballistic missile called Jupiter in Turkey. The Soviet removed its missiles from Cuba and Kennedy received public adulation (Dobbs 2008). However, for honoring his secret deal with the US, Khrushchev was criticized in the Soviet Union for giving in too easily to US demands (Allison& Zekilow, 383).
Paradoxically, the nuclear brinkmanship between the two rival superpowers led to closer cooperation and coordination to prevent war. It