50 Years Ago: The Cuban Missile Crisis

On October 15, 1962, a group of CIA analysts assigned to review aerial photographs of Cuba identified several newly established Soviet medium-range ballistic missile installations -- bases within 100 miles of the United States. The State Department was notified that night, and President John F. Kennedy was briefed the next morning, setting in motion a crisis that brought the world frighteningly close to nuclear war. The U.S. considered options, deployed troops and weapons to Florida, confronted the Soviets at the UN, and shortly set up a naval blockade of Cuba. For 13 tense days, the crisis deepened and people around the world feared the very real possibility of a new, horrific worldwide conflict. On October 27, the U.S. and Soviets reached a secret agreement, where Kennedy would order the removal of missiles in southern Italy and Turkey, and Khrushchev would remove all missiles in Cuba. Over the following weeks, U.S. forces monitored the departure of 42 missiles aboard eight Soviet ships, and the crisis was averted. Gathered here are a few glimpses from those tense Cold War days, as the world approached, then retreated from, the brink of destruction.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Yves Herman / Reuters

    Photos of the Week: 11/21-11/27

    Winter weather in China, Europe, and the United States,  a Martian panorama, a neighborhood in flames in Manila, demonstrations in Chicago, the Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City, and much more.

  • © Julian Ghahreman-Rad / 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

    Images From the 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

    The 2016 Sony World Photography Awards are now taking entries, and the organizers have been kind enough to share some of their early entries with us.

  • Ricardo Moraes / Reuters

    Red Sludge From Brazilian Dam Collapse Reaches the Atlantic

    Earlier this month, on November 5, two dams retaining tons of iron-mining waste in Brazil burst, releasing a massive flood of toxic sludge that has flowed downstream into Rio Doce, spending two weeks making its way several hundred miles downstream, finally reaching the Atlantic Ocean.

  • AP

    Today in History: November 23

    A look at various events that took place on this day, November 23, photographed over the past century. Today’s collection includes a sword-fighting Mussolini, a motorcycle-jumping Evel Knievel, William Shatner dressed as a gun-toting Santa Claus, and much more.

Join the Discussion