Thirteen Days in October: Mapping the Cuban Missile Crisis
Today, October 14, marks the day in 1962 when United States photographic intelligence revealed evidence of nuclear missile—medium-range (MRBM) and intermediate-range (IRBM)—sites in Cuba delivered from the Soviet Union. The date marks the anniversary of what became known as the “Cuban Missile Crisis” as President Kennedy set up a blockade of Soviet ships to Cuba and considered attacking Cuba if the missile sites were not dismantled and returned to the Soviet Union.
The maps above (click to enlarge) depict the geography of the world on the brink of nuclear war. The top map is from the Palgrave Concise Atlas of the Cold War published in 2003. The map shows the area of the United States and other countries that were threatened by Soviet missiles launched from Cuba. The map also shows the area covered by U.S. air patrols and key military bases, including one at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The second map is from the Historical Atlas of the United States also published in 2003. This map shows the supply route and Soviet ports used to deliver the missiles to Cuba. The countries in blue represent NATO and U.S. allies, while the peach color represents countries allied with the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. Concentric circles show the ranges of intermediate-range and medium-range missiles launched from Cuba.
The atlases are available from the Atlas Collection on the second floor of Bracken Library. Atlases circulate from the library for 28 days or longer, and the maps can easily be scanned for use in papers, presentations, and other research and learning.
For more information, please contact the GIS Research and Map Collection at 765-285-1097.