October 28, 2007

Great moments in Escapee history: Khrushchev blinks

On this day in 1962, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, convinced that the resolve shown by American president John F. Kennedy was far more than bluster, agreed to remove Soviet nuclear missiles from Cuba, thereby ending the Cuban Missile Crisis. Before agreeing to do so, Khrushchev extracted two promises from Kennedy - for the US to never invade Cuba and to remove American missiles from Turkey. Both promises were kept, though the existence of the latter part of the agreement was kept secret for decades.

The 13-day Cuban Missile Crisis eventually cost both leaders dearly. Little more than a year later, Kennedy was assassinated by an avowed Marxist who sought and was refused asylum in the alleged workers' paradise of his hero, Fidel Castro, two months earlier. Within a year of Kennedy's death, Khrushchev was deposed in a bloodless coup.

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