October 22, 1962
In a nation-wide television announcement on all major networks President Kennedy revealed the discovery of Soviet medium range ballistic missiles in Cuba. He announced an immediate quarantine of the island republic and an unequivocal policy about the missiles:
“It shall be the policy of this nation to regard any nuclear missile launched from Cuba against any nation in the Western Hemisphere as an attack on the United States, requiring full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union.”
In the next two days, the Peoples’ Republic of China proclaimed that 650,000 Chinese men and women supported the Cuban people, and the Russian Premier, Nikita Khrushchev, denounced the blockade as “aggression” and said that it would be ignored.
After a tense week of threats, feints and negotiations, during which much of the world thought that war—perhaps nuclear war—would result, the Soviet government agreed to remove the armaments from Cuba in exchange for the withdrawal of United States missile from Italy and Turkey.