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Digital National Security Archive (DNSA): Cuban Missile Crisis: 50th Anniversary Update

About this Collection

Marking the 50th anniversary of the most harrowing episode of the nuclear age -- the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 -- the National Security Archive and ProQuest are pleased to present an extraordinarily rich new update consisting of the very latest declassified documentation on the missiles of October (and November).

These fresh materials, supplementing the ground-breaking collections that are already a part of the Digital National Security Archive, contain news-making and never-before-published records from U.S. and Soviet archives. Among these are a compilation of highlights (translated from Russian) from the personal archive of Anastas Mikoyan, the Soviet leader who developed a special relationship with Castro and negotiated the end of the crisis in November; the U.S. Navy tracking reports during the crisis on Soviet submarines which - unbeknownst to the Americans - were armed with nuclear torpedoes; briefing documents for the Joint Chiefs of Staff planning an invasion of Cuba; and formerly Codeword-classified U.S. intelligence materials relating to Soviet deployments in Cuba of FKR cruise missiles which the CIA did not realize were armed with Hiroshima-sized nuclear warheads. These weapons underlay a warning by Khrushchev -- believed to be baseless bluster by Kennedy and his advisers -- that the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo would "disappear the first day" after a U.S. invasion of Cuba.

Also in this update, fully-indexed, are 4 volumes of the CIA's internal history of the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961, the crucial precursor to the Missile Crisis. These previously secret primary sources, obtained by the National Security Archive through Freedom of Information Act requests and archival sleuthing, are once again allowing scholars and students to rewrite the history of a crisis that was even more perilous than policymakers knew at the time - a crisis for which, even then, President Kennedy estimated the odds at between one-in-three and even of leading to nuclear war.