Cuba and the Cold War | From Castro's rise to power to the missile crisis
CHANNEL | Radio 4
FIRST BROADCAST | 17 October 2002
DURATION | 11 minutes 15 seconds
Former Moscow correspondent Allan Little recounts the night Russian nuclear warheads were secretly transported through the Cuban countryside and reveals how a chance encounter between a Russian emigre, a KGB spy and two New York journalists averted nuclear war. Despite the provocative move to construct nuclear missile bases in Cuba, Khrushchev was alarmed to discover that war with the USA was imminent. This is a chilling story based on previously unseen documents and insider interviews.
On 18 November 1956, during a speech to Western diplomats at a reception in Moscow, Nikita Khrushchev was quoted as saying: 'Whether you like it or not, history is on our side. We will bury you.' Khrushchev was in power from 1953 until 1964. He denounced Stalin, his predecessor, and installed a successful agricultural programme. Among his publications were works on 'peace and friendship'. In 1957, he oversaw the USSR's launch of Sputnik, the first satellite to orbit the Earth. In 1960, a US spy plane was shot down over the Soviet Union, which further increased tension between the two superpowers. This culminated in the stand-offs in Berlin in 1961 and Cuba in 1962.
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While the USA prepared for war, what was happening inside the USSR and Cuba?
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