My recent work on historical projects related to Civil Defense and the Cold War era are strikingly similar to the events unfolding in North Korea. According to USA Today, North Korea is planning to launch a multi-stage rocket that is capable of carrying nuclear warheads. CNN reports that North Korean officials stated that the missile test is part of a series of military tests to prepare for “upcoming all-out action” against the United States. It is as though we have stepped back in a time and landed in October 1962 all over again. It is moments like these ( where history somehow repeats itself ) where I wonder how Americans from a bygone era react to traumatising current events similar to past ones.
The Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962 was a critical time during the Cold War where things got hot. From October 16 to 28 1962 President Kennedy and his advisors frantically attempted prevent the Soviet Union from delivering more missiles to the Island of Cuba. The missiles that were in place were capable of delivering a nuclear war head to nearly any city in the United States. The standoff ended without a nuclear showdown between the super powers. The Soviet Union removed the missiles from Cuba, only if the United States promised not to invade Cuba.
The world was on the brink of thermonuclear annihilation those 13 days. The United States was prepared to do whatever necessary to hold off the Soviet Union. Americans prepared themselves in many different ways. Some prayed, others went on with their business and hoped for the best, others built, stocked, and took cover in their fallout shelters waiting for World War III. Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed, and the human race continues to exist.
So, are we experience what history will call the “North Korean Missile Crisis” where the world’s existence is once again in jeopardy? The irony is that Capitalism faces off again Communism again, just as it had back then. Reuters reports that the United State had hope the young North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, would usher in improvements with U.S. relations. The missile tests and threat of using nuclear warheads fractures any progress that was made, or any that could be made. The outcome of the missile tests and the consequences of nuclear threats will be interesting. The Cold War may be over, but its legacy of the nuclear threat is still an issue today, as developing less stable governments get their hands on the technology.
Are Americans experiencing another missile crisis? What is your memory/experience of the Cuban Missile Crisis?