The Cuban missile crisis was a major test for containment. Containment was the policy that was to try and prevent the USSR from spreading further into the world. The policy first came into action on 12th March 1947 when Truman made a speech. Kennedy later used this in 1962 when he formed a blockade around Cuba so that the USSR could not get its weapons of destruction to it. This was an act of containment because he stopped the USSR getting its weapons to Cuba and it stopped Cuba trading with the USSR so it had totally blocked off all physical contact with its ally. The argument that I am going to argue is that the Cuban missile crisis was a success for containment.
The Cuban missile crisis was a success for containment because America managed to get the nuclear missiles off of Cuba. This is a success because the USA got the USSR to take the nuclear weapons off of Cuba and secretly took their missiles off of Turkey. Kennedy did this without telling anybody in the USA that he was doing so, therefore the citizens of the USA were total unaware of anything. So in this case containment helped the USA get rid of the threat of having most of their major cities destroyed. Here is a diagram showing the range of the nuclear missiles on Cuba.
You can see America would have been very worried because Cuba could reach nearly all of the main cities.
In addition the crisis showed the success of containment in that Kennedy did not go to war endangering his country. He decided to contain Cuba which proved more effective. Here are the 3 main options that Kennedy had:-
* Go to War
* Block the USSR from Cuba
* Do nothing
Go to War
If Kennedy had decided to do this, then the world could have been destroyed in a matter of minutes. It takes just 10 minutes for a short range missile to reach its maximum range. It takes only 20 minutes for a long range missile to reach its distance. So this idea would not have been the best thing that Kennedy could have done.
Block the USSR from Cuba
If Kennedy chose this option then he would be making an act of war. So if he did this then Khrushchev would have a reason to fire at America and potentially destroy it. So this may work, but only if Kennedy did not make the blockade look to menacing.
This was not really an option for Kennedy because if he did nothing then he would look weak to the people of America and to the rest of the world. So Kennedy and his advisers did not think on this option at all due to the side effects it could have.
In the end Kennedy decided to form a blockade around the coast of Cuba. He did this but he did not call it a blockade due to the fact that it would be an act of war and he could not afford war with Cuba and the USSR. Instead he called it quarantine; he did this because putting a country under quarantine was not an act of war so the USSR and Cuba could not attack the USA.
Containment might be considered to be unsuccessful because America had to remove its weapons of destruction from Turkey. However, this is one little point compared to the fact that because Kennedy used containment to his advantage, he got the weapons of mass destruction taken away and the people of America had no idea that America was removing its missiles from Turkey. I feel that this point is far greater than the point saying that America had to remove its weapons.
All in all I feel that containment was successful in the Cuban missile crisis because the points that are stated are much more superior to the ones against. My argument shows that containment was successful and it avoided the world coming to the end.