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This Sceptred Isle

TW3, the Death of Marilyn Monroe, and the Cuban Missile Crisis
In 1962 the Conservative government was disunited and Macmillan was tired. They began to lose by-elections. Macmillan sacked his Chancellor, Selwyn Lloyd and then seven other cabinet minister. This was known as the Night of the Long Knives and Macmillan's sobriquet, Supermac, was tarnished and many now Mac the Knife.

The Americans had supported a plan to overthrow Castro in Cuba. It failed. But the US now set trade sanctions on Cuba. This pushed Cuba further towards the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union started to build medium range missile sites in Cuba. The Americans blockaded Cuba and negotiated with the Soviet Union to withdraw the missiles. This they finally did. Although the public face of the agreement was "a triumph for common sense" it was generally accepted that Khrushchev had backed down and it was from this moment that he started to lose his grip on the Soviet Politburo.

1962 was a year of enormous espionage activity in London, Washington and Moscow. Oleg Penkovsky, who had been handled by the British agent, Greville Wynne, was arrested (and later shot). Wynne was arrested and later exchanged for a Russian agent in prison in Britain. But the biggest public shock of 1962, was none of these things. It was the death of Marilyn Monroe, film star and sometime lover of President Kennedy.

Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe
MARILYN MONROE (1926-1962)

  • Born Norma Jean Baker
  • Husbands included baseball star Joe Di Maggio and intellectual playwright Arthur Miller
  • Miller wrote a screenplay for her appropriately called The Misfits.
  • Said to have committed suicide
  • Many believe she was murdered and any evidence she was the mistress of President Kennedy and his brother Robert removed

did you know?
In 1962 Decca refused to give a contract to The Beatles. The record company said they were not good enough.

Select historical period

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1957 Treaty of Rome
Macmillan succeeds Eden as Tory Prime Minister
1958 The EEC begins
Life Peerages Act is passed
1959 Oil is discovered in the North Sea
The Vietnam War begins
1960 Cyprus and Nigeria become independent
1961 South Africa leaves the Commonwealth
1962 Cuban Missile Crisis
Death of Marilyn Monroe
The National Economic Development Council is formed
1963 The Profumo Affair
Alec Douglas-Home succeeds Macmillan as Prime Minister
1964 Labour win General Election. Harold Wilson Prime Minister
1965 Winston Churchill dies
Sir Alec Douglas-Home resigns as Tory Party leader
Edward Heath succeeds Douglas-Home
1966 Barclay's Bank introduces the first British credit card
1967 Sterling is devalued

Spies for Soviet Union
Donald Maclean
Guy Burgess
Kim Philby
William Vassall
Gordon Lonsdale

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