Cuba and Pearl Harbor: Hindsight and Foresight

  • Citation: Wohlstetter, Roberta. "Cuba and Pearl Harbor: Hindsight and Foresight." Foreign Affairs 43.4 (1965): 691-707.
    • Topics:
    • Great Power Conflict
    • Keywords:
    • United States
    • Cuba
    • Soviet Union
    • Pearl Harbor
    • Cuban missile crisis
    • nuclear weapons

To recall the atmosphere of September and October 1962 now seems almost as difficult as to recreate the weeks, more than two decades earlier, before the attack on Pearl Harbor. But if we are to understand the onset of the Cuban missile crisis, it is worth the effort. Indeed we may learn something about the problems of foreseeing and forestalling or, at any rate, diminishing the severity of such crises by examining side by side the preludes to both these major turning points in American history. In juxtaposing these temporally separate events, our interest is in understanding rather than in drama. We would like to know not only how we felt, but what we did and what we might have done, and in particular what we knew or what we could have known before each crisis.

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