October 22, 2012

Kennedy’s Cuban Missile Crisis Speech

50 years ago today, on October 22nd, 1962, President John F. Kennedy delivered a nation-wide televised address about the discovery of Soviet missiles in Cuba and the U.S. plan of action during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Watch or listen to Kennedy’s speech during one of the major confrontations of the Cold War.

Cuban Missile Crisis Address to the Nation by John F. Kennedy on Audio Download and Streaming Video

The confrontation ended on October 28, 1962, when Kennedy and United Nations Secretary-General U Thant reached a public and secret agreement with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev. Had a nuclear conflict, or possibly World War III, been initiated it has been estimated that 100 million Americans and over 100 million Soviets would have perished.

50 years later eight countries have detonated nuclear weapons and acknowledge that they possess nuclear weapons: the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, the People’s Republic of China, India, Pakistan, and North Korea. And it is widely believed that Israel possesses nuclear weapons, though it does not acknowledge having them. South Africa has the unique status of a nation that developed nuclear weapons but has since disassembled its arsenal. The Federation of American Scientists estimates there are more than 19,000 nuclear warheads in the world as of 2012, with around 4,400 of them kept in “operational” status, ready for use.