Apocalypse then — 13 days when the world trembled

Fifty years ago this week, a nuclear third world war was imminent. In mid-October 1962, a superpower confrontation began when the US military photo reconnaissance service discovered that the Soviet Union was installing nuclear missiles in Cuba. The crisis ended peacefully after 13 tense days and the event has since then been analyzed from one end to the other by historians and political scientists. (Today I leave that angle aside with the recommendation to to read the excellent book Essence of Decision by Graham Allison. Make sure that you get the revised version, updated with Soviet information that surfaced after the Cold War.)

The crisis involved common people in all sorts of professions. Here is a good article about the the photo interpreters who did some of the “heavy footwork” on the American side: (Link >>>>)

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