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Cold War:  The Cuba Crisis Of 1962

In GCSE History students will look at the Cold War, which lasted from the end of World War II until the fall of the Soviet Union. One part of the Cold War they will focus on is the Cuba Crisis of 1962.

In October 1962 the Cold War nearly became a nuclear conflict. President Kennedy, of the United States, faced the threat of Soviet missiles with nuclear warheads poised to attack the USA from Castro's Cuba. This became known as the Cuban Missile Crisis and all the world waited nervously for a peaceful outcome.

Test your knowledge of the Cuba Crisis of 1962 in this enlightening quiz.

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  1. The United Nations brokered an agreement on the 28th of October 1962. Who was the Secretary-General who achieved this?
    Secretaries-General of the UN were normally chosen from neutral powers, so that they could receive support from both sides in the Cold War. Several of them came from Third World countries. Thant himself came from Burma
  2. In 1961 the US supported an invasion attempt of the island of Cuba by anti-Castro forces based in Florida. The invasion failed ignominiously, but Castro - fearing further attacks - asked the Soviet Union for weapons that would deter more US-backed assaults. What was the name of the ill-fated invasion attempt in 1961?
    The 1961 attack by US-backed forces gave the Soviet Union the opportunity to introduce into the Caribbean theatre both defensive and offensive missiles, capable of altering the nuclear arms balance in the Cold War
  3. The Cuba Crisis also ushered in a nuclear test ban treaty (1963), and a further treaty in 1968 which encouraged countries that were tempted to acquire nuclear weapons to refrain from doing so. What was this latter agreement called?
    The Cuba Crisis had brought the world to the edge of the nuclear abyss. Statesmen now sought deals that would prevent this ever happening again
  4. Kennedy's advisors were divided in their advice as to what action the US should take. Which air force general urged air attacks on Cuba followed by the toppling of the Castro regime?
    Kennedy's options ranged from doing nothing in response to the Soviet militarisation, to launching a full-scale assault on the island of Cuba
  5. Secretly the US agreed to withdraw its missiles from Turkey, a NATO member which shared a common border with the Soviet Union. The Russians had long complained that their action in Cuba was simply redressing a balance that had long been out of kilter. What kind of missiles had been deployed in Turkey?
    A total of 100 Jupiter missiles were built between 1956-1961
  6. The Cuban Crisis led to the setting up of a direct telephone link between the White House and the Kremlin, which made it easier in the future for crises to be defused. What name was given to this 'phone line?
    This 'phone line has been in regular use since 1963. Previously communication was difficult: traditionally contact between one country and another was carried out via ambassadors and foreign ministries, which could be a lengthy process
  7. Kennedy decided to surround Cuba with US warships to ensure that no further weaponry entered the island. What name did he give to this policy?
    Kennedy believed that this policy was a useful compromise between ignoring the Soviet threat and over-reacting to it in an aggressive way
  8. What type of reconnaissance aircraft did the USA use to photograph suspected missile sites on the Cuban mainland?
    Reconnaissance photographs from these flights showed that the Russians were setting up offensive missile sites in the Cuban countryside
  9. The US representative at the United Nations presented the incriminating aerial photographs to the Assembly, and asked for the Soviet delegate's reaction. Who was this US diplomat?
    The photographs gained by the US spy 'plane embarrassed the Soviet Union, which delayed making a response to the US allegations
  10. Which British Conservative prime minister was in regular touch by telephone throughout the crisis with Kennedy, and supported the US stance throughout?
    The USA received consistent support during the Cuba Crisis from its allies in NATO and other defence pacts. The British government was especially supportive, an example - perhaps - of the "Special Relationship" between the two English-Speaking nations

Author: Edward Towne

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