The U.S. realized how devastating that could be, but yet the country still had enough power to work with the U.S.S.R. And Cuba to reach an agreement (Frankel, 2005). If it were not for intelligence that indicated that those bases were being built, the U.S. might not have known what was taking place there and the missiles could have been fired, which would have destroyed much of the United States.
Who knows, at that point, what would have happened to the world? Much of the intelligence that was provided to the U.S. during that time came from people and organizations that were already in place because of the Cold War (Frankel, 2005). Had they not been there, things might have gone much differently, so the Cold War was a vital part of the intelligence that was provided during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
The Cold War - Its Role in Cuban Intelligence
Whether the cold war was inevitable, or whether it could have been avoided, is something that has plagued historians and researchers for many years. It was going on during the problems with Cuba, and it affected the intelligence that was given to the U.S. And the way that the country reacted to the Cuban problems.
In this section, the position will be taken that the cold war was indeed inevitable because of all of the issues and problems that came before it, and this is discussed in order to show that the Bay of Pigs Invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis were not isolated incidents. They came during a tense time in history where two superpower nations - the U.S. And the U.S.S.R. - were already at odds with one another. This changed those events and made them more significant, as well as changed the way that they were handled, because there were more things going on than most people were aware of.
By the time the cold war started in 1947, there was little that could have been done to avoid it (Gaddis, 1997). The cold war originally came about due to a strong breakdown in the post-war relations that were seen between the United States and the Soviet Union after World War II. These two powerful nations were the main victors in WWII, and they both stated in 1945 that they were committed to showing cooperation and unity (Gaddis, 1997). While most people knew that the relations were breaking down, only those who were privy to the intelligence that the U.S. had realized to what extent that was taking place.
However, this agreement that the U.S. And the U.S.S.R. had did not last long, as blame was quickly placed regarding the breakup of what was then called the allied coalition. This coalition had defeated Hitler, and each side began to blame the other side for the generation of ideological, political, and military rivalry (Roberts, 1999). These various rivalries worked to divide Europe into several competing blocs and created a strong and dangerous power struggle between liberal democratic capitalism and communism (Roberts, 1999).
This power struggle seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere, and there was little that many people could do to stop it. By the time anything could have been done to stop it, the cold war was already happening, and once it really began there was no realistic way that the United States and the Soviet Union were going to end it rapidly, and no realistic way that either country was going to say that it was in the wrong and change the way that the country did things to avoid further problems.
As soon as the cold war began, historians and researchers began to debate what had caused it. There were several phases for these debates, and they came with different time periods (McCauley, 1990). For example, from the time the cold war started through most of the 1970s, American foreign policy was the focus of the issue (McCauley, 1990). Some believed that the cause of the cold war was the fact that America resisted the expansion that the Soviet Union was trying to make (Roberts, 1999). Others were more critical of America and argued that the cold war actually came about because the United States was both unreasonable and aggressive after WWII, which provoked the Soviet Union (Roberts, 1999).
By the time that the 1970s were drawing to a close, most of those that had argued strongly on one side or the other were prepared to compromise and state that the cold war was not the fault of the Americans or of the Soviet Union, but merely occurred because both countries were pursuing what was believed to be foreign policy and security interests that they saw as legitimate (Roberts, 1999). Because of this, historians then generally believed that unavoidable clashes and mutual misunderstandings between the Soviet Union and the United States were what actually led to the cold war and the problems that it caused (Roberts, 1999).
By the time that the 1980s were moving along, there were other suggestions that were being made regarding the cause of the cold war (Painter, 1999). The smaller players in the war such as France, Britain, and West Germany came under closer scrutiny and there were opinions that dealt with the idea that Churchill, Bevin, Adenauer, and Bidault were politicians that had a strong influence on American foreign policy during that time (Painter, 1999). Because of this, the blame was expanded from the fault of one particular country, to no one's fault, to the fault of a specific set of countries (Roberts, 1999).
By the 1990s, the opinions on the cold war had changed yet again. Soviet foreign policy appeared to be the focus during that decade (Painter, 1999). Even though the foreign policy of that country was thoroughly studied, the largest opinion once again became the idea that there was really no specific country that could be blamed for the cold war (Painter, 1999).
In essence, it was everyone's fault and no one's fault, as opposed to being the fault of a specific country or person. This is the opinion that largely still holds today (Roberts, 1999). While this is significant, it does not really address the belief of whether these same historians felt that the cold war was inevitable, or whether they felt that something could have been done to stop it, and that is an important concern.
Despite the lack of historians weighing in on the issue, it still appears that the cold war was inevitable. The reason that this appears to be the case is not because the United States was right or wrong, or because the Soviet Union was right or wrong, or because any of the other countries that were lesser players in the issue were right or wrong. Instead, the reason for the inevitability of the cold war is largely due to the simple fact that there is such an inherent difference between democracy and communism. Because of this difference, the disagreements that take place are not those that can be resolved by sitting down around a table and hashing out a compromise. At least, it is unlikely that they could be solved this way.
Communism and democracy are so very different that there are very few things that they can agree on or compromise on. The United States and the Soviet Union were also the two most powerful nations in the world at that time and therefore the struggle was ongoing to see who would be more powerful. It appeared that neither country wanted to share the 'most powerful' designation with the other, and this is also part of what led to the cold war.
This lack of willingness to share is something that most people associate with young children and not with large countries, but it is something that belongs to many individuals, and those that run families, corporations, and even countries are no exception to this rule. Avoiding the cold war would have required the backing down of one country or another, and the unwillingness to do this made the cold war inevitable.
It is plain to see that there was much more to the Bay of Pigs Invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis than was seen by most people who were not privy to the insider information that intelligence brings. While there were definitely reports in the media and other ways that the information could be given out these were not complete and comprehensive compared to the knowledge that the government had. When it comes to having a strong understanding of why these events took place and how they were seen in the context of the cold war, only intelligence can show that there were larger reasons behind things than many people thought.
Events like the Bay of Pigs Invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis are forever etched…