#OTD20 | October 22, 1962

The Cuban Missile Crisis: JFK's Historic Address to the Nation

October 22, 1962: President John F. Kennedy alerts the American public to the buildup of Soviet missiles in Cuba, ushering in the Cuban Missile Crisis.

In an unprecedented televised address, JFK informs the nation of the presence of offensive missile sites established by the Soviet Union in Cuba, just 90 miles off the U.S. coastline.

The revelation marks the beginning of a tense thirteen-day standoff between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, bringing the world to the brink of nuclear war.

"It shall be the policy of this nation to regard any nuclear missile launched from Cuba against any nation in the Western Hemisphere as an attack by the Soviet Union on the United States, requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union." - President John F. Kennedy

Kennedy's address highlights the gravity of the situation, the threat posed by the missiles, and the U.S. commitment to ensuring the defense of the Western Hemisphere.

Today, the Cuban Missile Crisis remains a poignant reminder of the Cold War's dangers, the stakes of nuclear diplomacy, and the importance of leadership during critical moments in history.

Viewing Options

The Cuban Missile Crisis is chronicled in two programs from the series AMERICA IN THE 20th CENTURY: "Cold War," and "The Sixties."


Preview short excerpts from "Cold War."


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Additional Resources

Access more information from Media Rich Learning and curated off-site sources.

John F. Kennedy Library and Museum

Read about the Cuban Missile Crisis and listen to JFK's remarks to the nation at the website of the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum.

U.S. National Archives

Read "One Step from Nuclear War: The Cuban Missile Crisis at 50: In Search of Historical Perspective" at the website of the United States National Archives.

U.S. Department of State

Read: "The Cuban Missile Crisis: October 1962" at the website of the U.S. Department of State, Office of the Historian.


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