05/30/2013 - 16:18

The Cuban Missile Crisis: A nuclear order of battle, October and November 1962

Hans M. Kristensen

Kristensen is the director of the Nuclear Information Project with the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) in Washington, DC. His work focuses on researching and writing about the status of...

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Robert S. Norris

Norris is a senior fellow with the Federation of American Scientists in Washington, DC. A former senior research...

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This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, when the United States and the Soviet Union walked back from the brink of a nuclear war. In this issue of Nuclear Notebook, the authors analyze the order of battle of nuclear forces that were available to military and civilian officials in both the United States and the Soviet Union in October and November of 1962. This detail, they point out, has remained widely overlooked by authors, experts, and researchers over the past five decades. Once these nuclear forces are defined, the authors write, the true nature of the crisis was even more serious and dangerous than previously thought.