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The 1960's
The Cuban Missile Crisis

The Cuban Missile Crisis
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 7 to 9
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   8.27

     challenging words:    fiasco, oust, reconnaissance, dictator, brink, happening, lethal, alliance, ally, bombings, advisors, warfare, atomic, blockade, tense, mid-summer
     content words:    United States, Fidel Castro, American-backed Cuban, Soviet Union, John F., Premier Nikita Khrushchev, President Kennedy, On October, Cold War

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The Cuban Missile Crisis
By Jane Runyon

1     The face of war was changed forever by the United States in 1945. The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with atomic weapons opened a new chapter in warfare. No one had ever before used such powerful weapons in battle. Most people in the world hold onto the hope that nuclear weapons will never be used in the future. That hope came very close to being dashed in 1962. The world was on the brink of a war. Life as we know it might have been changed forever.
2     Fidel Castro became dictator of Cuba in 1959. He knew that the United States was trying to oust him from office from the time he began. He led a Communist government that the United States didn't particularly want just 90 miles from the country's mainland. The Bay of Pigs had been a fiasco. The weak attempt by American-backed Cuban refugees had been an embarrassing defeat. Castro knew this would not be the last attempt that the United States would make. He was intent on finding a strong country to ally himself with for protection.
3     The Soviet Union was in need of someone to form an alliance with also. They were falling behind in the arms race with the United States. They were not able to create as many nuclear weapons as the United States was. Even more disturbing to the Soviets was the concern that the United States had set up nuclear missiles in Turkey. These missiles would have been only 150 miles from the Soviet border. A greater concern was the capability of these missiles. The Soviets' missiles could only reach targets within Europe. The United States' missiles were capable of reaching across oceans to anywhere in the world.

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