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The curriculum unit The Cuban Missile Crisis: Considering its Place in Cold War History probes the complex relationship between the United States, Russia, and Cuba, and examines the crisis that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war.

Videos for Readings: The videos below follow the outline of the printed curriculum unit. The headings correspond to the headings in the student readings.

Videos for Lessons accompany lessons in the teacher's guide of the printed curriculum unit.

Scholars Online: Videos for Readings

The Cuban Missile Crisis: Considering its Place in Cold War History


Jim Blight
Brown University

janet Lang
Brown University

Sergei Khrushchev
Brown University

Joseph Cirincione
Center for American Progress

Philip Brenner
American University

Adrián López Denis
Brown University

Mark Garrison
Brown University

Michael Bustamante
Council on Foreign Relations

Introduction: October 16, 1962

What was the Cuban Missile Crisis? [Joseph Cirincione - 1:57]

Part I: From Colonialism to Statehood

What was the relationship between Cuba and the United States in the 19th century? [Philip Brenner - 1:29]

An American Empire

Why have the United States and Cuba had such a close relationship historically? [Adrián López Denis - 1:38]

How did the 1895 war for independence change Cuba's relationship with the United States? [Philip Brenner - 3:10]

What was the Platt Amendment? [Philip Brenner - 1:46]

Part II: Cold War Tension

What was the Cold War? [Mark Garrison - 2:07]

What is deterrence? [Joseph Cirincione - 1:29]

The Cold War in the Western Hemisphere

How did many Cubans view U.S. influence in Cuba in the 1950s? [Blight/Lang - 1:24]

The Castro Era

How did Cuba become an ally of the Soviet Union? [Philip Brenner - 1:44]

What were U.S.-Cuban relations like leading up to the Cuban Missile Crisis? [Blight/Lang - 1:42]

What was the Bay of Pigs invasion and why was it significant? [Blight/Lang - 2:11]

What did Kennedy learn from the Bay of Pigs invasion? [Blight/Lang - 1:44]

Why did Cuba align itself with the Soviet Union? [Blight/Lang - 2:42]

What did the Soviet people think of Fidel Castro? [Sergei Khrushchev - 0:58]

Did Khrushchev think he could manipulate Kennedy? [Sergei Khrushchev - 2:08]

What was Nikita Khrushchev like as a person? [Sergei Khrushchev - 1:23]

October 1962: The Moment of Decision

How did different national perspectives lead to three different names for the crisis? [Philip Brenner - 1:53]

How did different national perspectives lead to three names for the crisis? [Blight/Lang - 1:26]

Epilogue: On the Brink

What advice did General Curtis LeMay give Kennedy? [Blight/Lang - 1:25]

How did Kennedy’s thinking change during the crisis? [Blight/Lang - 3:04]

How did Kennedy react to Khrushchev’s letters of October 26 and 27? [Blight/Lang - 2:44]

How did Khrushchev react to Castro’s letter of October 26? [Blight/Lang - 2:10]

What was the Cuban Missile Crisis like from the Soviet perspective? [Sergei Khrushchev - 3:08]

How did Americans, Soviets, and Cubans react to the crisis? [Blight/Lang - 2:40]

Castro’s Crisis

What lessons did Cubans takes from the crisis? [Blight/Lang - 1:15]

What We Know Now: “One Hell of a Gamble”

What could have happened if the United States had attacked Cuba? [Blight/Lang - 2:27]

How did Soviet submarines increase the chance of nuclear war? [Blight/Lang - 3:30]

How close did we come to nuclear war? [Blight/Lang - 3:04]

Optional Reading: Forty Years of U.S.-Cuban Relations

What do Cubans on the island think about the Cuban government? [3:20]

What is U.S. policy towards Cuba? [Michael Bustamante - 1:53]

What is the rationale for U.S. policy towards Cuba? [Michael Bustamante - 3:01]