The Cold War consists of many small crises and conflicts. Although the two main countries fighting the war was the United States and the Soviet Union, many small and newly forming countries battled on the sides of the two world powers. Two of the smaller countries involved in the Cold War was Cuba and Vietnam. These two countries were involved in the two most important and intense conflicts involved in the Cold War. One of these crises is the Cuban Missile Crisis.
The Cuban Missile Crisis was a 13 day conflict between the US, USSR, and Cuba.
The Cuban Missile Crisis was a conflict over the Soviet Union placing intermediate range nuclear missiles in Cuba. It was clear to the United States and president John F. Kennedy, that the Soviet Union was going to use the missiles unless something was going to be done about it. The crisis began on October 16, 1962, and lasted until October 28, 1962. After a U-2 spy plane flew over the island of Cuba in the images taken by the plane it showed the missiles in Cuba and appeared to be close to operational. The crisis was an intense one, considering that once the missiles became operational it was likely to turn to nuclear war.
This is an image taken over Cuba by a U-2 spy plane.
During the crisis, Kennedy decided that a naval quarantine or a blockade of Cuba was to be put in action. By doing this and calling it a quarantine, it was no act of war, and only placed to provide the best interest of the United States. The quarantine would be placed 500 miles outside of the Cuban coast, and would be surfaced. The range was chosen so that Soviet bombers placed in Cuba would not be able to reach the naval ships. By doing this the United States ships were able to stop, and search any ships passing and looking to head into Cuba. The quarantine was proven to be successful and stopped and turned around many Soviet carriers which were most likely carrying nuclear missiles to Cuba. During the time of the quarantine not a shot was fired and no act of war was put in place.
Headline from the Minneapolis Morning Tribune on the quarantine of Cuba.
A map of the naval quarantine of Cuba.
The Cuban Missile Crisis came to a peaceful agreement in which the Soviet Union would remove their missiles from Cuba. Although the United States in return would have to remove their Jupiter missiles from Turkey. Each country accepted the terms and ended the 13 day crisis. The crisis ended on October 28, 1962. The Soviet missiles were immediately removed from Cuba, and all were cleared by November 20, 1962. The United States removed their Jupiter missiles from Turkey in April of 1963. By doing this it will appear to the American people that the removal of the missiles in Turkey were not a part of the agreement made to end the Cuban Missile crisis. The agreement made between the two countries also stated that the US would have no involvement in Cuba and would see them as a country. For the United States they added that the United Nations would be allowed to monitor Cuba to assure the US that they would not be building nuclear weapons of any sort. After the crisis the US also placed an embargo on Cuba, which would not allow trade or businesses to use the country as property or for sales. Kennedy's Secretary of State Dean Rusk said of the Cuban Missile Crisis, "We were eyeball to eyeball and I think the other fellow just blinked". With that the crisis was over and nuclear war was avoided.
The Herald Tribune headline shows the end of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Although the crisis in Cuba was over, Cuba was still affected by the crisis. The crisis made Kennedy enforce an embargo on Cuba which led to the weakening of the Cuban economy. The crisis also showed that Cuba was never able to become a power or a relatively strong nation, considering that they were unable to build nuclear weapons due to the UN monitoring Cuba. The crisis also lead to a long hatred between the US and Cuba, which did not allow for Cuba to have technological advances.
This political cartoon shows how the US embargo on Cuba was affecting Cuba and other countries trying to aid them.
The second country that was impacted and had the biggest impact on the Cold War was Vietnam. After splitting into North and South Vietnam along the 17th parallel a constant conflict took place dragging both the US and Soviet Union into the conflict. The conflict then became a war between the communist in the North and the democratic countries in the South. The war in Vietnam began on November 1, 1955. At that point the US president was John F Kennedy who was entering his second major crisis during his presidency. The United States took control of the situation by naming Ngo Dinh Diem as the leader of South Vietnam, while socialist ruler Ho Chi Minh commanded the North.
A map of Vietnam during the Vietnam war.
In the year 1963 Ngo Diem was struggling to hold off the North Vietnamese and their new ally the Viet Cong which was a guerrilla group who battled in the jungles of Vietnam using the rugged terrain to their advantage. The US ordered for his assassination and killed him and his brother who were hiding in a church. Shortly after the assassination of Diem US president John Kennedy was assassinated. The death of Kennedy sparked Lyndon B Johnson to become president. Johnson was willing to keep the US in Vietnam to prevent the spread of communism.
36th president of the US Lyndon Baines Johnson
The Gulf of Tonkin on August fourth the United States officially declared war on Vietnam. After congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin resolution which allowed the president to declare war on a country. The US sent 10,000 troops into Vietnam during the war. Peace talks during the war began in March of 1968, in which the end of Johnson's presidency was nearing. Richard Nixon became the president after Johnson and created the Nixon doctrine, which believed that nations in Asia should depend more on themselves for protection rather than powerful countries. A peace settlement over Vietnam was signed on January 27, 1973. That was what ended the Vietnam war.
Vietnam became a single country after the war, and is still a communist country today. Therefore Vietnam was drastically impacted by the Cold War. It also impacted the war, as the Soviet Union was now seen as weak and China became the communist power in the world.
In conclusion, the Cold War impacted many countries besides the United States and the Soviet Union. The island nation of Cuba was impacted by the Cuban Missile crisis. The communist country of Vietnam was impacted by the Vietnam war. Although many other countries were impacted by the war, these two were arguably impacted the most.