CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS
In the wake of the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion in April 1961, the Soviet Union’s presence and influence in Cuba grew, and with it, the construction of missile shelter tents to house medium-range nuclear missiles, a steady delivery of armaments, and the arrival of Soviet technicians for construction and to help train local forces. In May of 1961 Castro declared Cuba a socialist state aligned with the Eastern Bloc, and reached out to the Soviet Union for help to counter perceived incidences and threats of aggression from the United States. The ensuing hostilities and counter threats between the two nations almost came to a head by mid-October. However, the crisis was averted by the end of the month, when Premier Nikita Khrushchev agreed to remove the missiles from Cuba, and President Kennedy lifted the naval blockade he had imposed on the island. On December 21, an agreement was reached for the release of 1,113 Bay of Pig veterans in exchange for food and medicine.
Florida’s geographical location at the southernmost tip of the continental United States and the absence of major cities and densely populated areas would probably not have made the state an ideal target for a nuclear attack, as the fallout impact would not be as devastating as at targets elsewhere. Nevertheless, the state became ground zero for preparation for strikes and counter attacks in the event of Soviet hostilities or provocation from the regime in Cuba, a situation caused by its location a mere 90 miles from the coast of Cuba, and the recent arrival of large numbers of Cuban citizens fleeing the Castro regime.