History Brief: Public Reaction to the Cuban Missile Crisis

13 Jun 2017 02:51 4
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This video gives a brief description of the general public's reaction to the Cuban Missile Crisis in October of 1962. Get teaching resources for the Cold War here: http://amzn.to/2kLF9TH

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When President John F. Kennedy announced that US intelligence had revealed that the Soviet Union was setting up nuclear missile sites in Cuba, there were many different types of reactions from the American public.

Kennedy informed the American people on the evening of October 22, 1962, and the initial reaction most experienced was a sudden state of shock. They listened in fascination and horror as the President announced his intentions to set up a quarantine around the tiny island nation of Cuba.

However, as the days progressed, and the Crisis worsened, public reaction turned from shock to panic. Many citizens truly believed that a nuclear exchange was imminent, and therefore, did everything they could to prepare for such an eventuality.

Grocery and supply stores were overwhelmed with customers racing for items the public felt it needed. Families began stockpiling nonperishable food and supplies such as water, toilet paper, flashlights, and batteries.

Some families constructed fallout shelters and stockpiled supplies inside of them. Unfortunately, most couldn't afford shelters, so they stockpiled their necessities inside basements or another location in or near their home.

Many saw religious implications in the global events that were unfolding. They were certain that the approach of nuclear war signaled the beginning of “the end of the world”. Special church services were held during the crisis, and many sought to confess their sins before any bombs began falling.

Aside from the panic, there was also a wave of protests that swept across the nation. Angry citizens protested against nuclear weapons, declaring that these dangerous devices would eventually lead to the death of everyone. Also, a small minority believed the US was acting as the aggressor in this situation and that America should simply leave Cuba alone.

These were just a few of the various reactions to the Cuban Missile Crisis. Each person, and family, reacted in their own unique way.

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