What’s the real story on the Cuban Missile Crisis?

Assignment: Watch the below clip of Thirteen Days. Is this an accurate portrayal of the Cuban Missile Crisis? Would you have made similar decisions? Use the primary sources provided and your own background knowledge to evaluate the clip.

Work in two to three man groups and create a succinct 5-10 minute presentation by the end of class detailing your argument and the primary sources that helped you reach that conclusion.

August 29, 1962: U-2 photograph of SA-2 surface-to-air missile (SAM) site under construction at La Coloma.

October 5, 1962: CIA chart of “reconnaissance objectives in Cuba.”

October 15, 1962: U-2 photograph of IL-28 bomber crates at San Julian airfield.

October 17, 1962: U-2 photograph of first IRBM site found under construction.

October 25, 1962: Low-level photograph of San Cristobal no. 1 showing extensive tracking from surging construction and possible missile readiness drills.


USSR, directive, TOP SECRET, Malinovsky’s Order to Pliyev, October 22, 1962.

Prime Minister Fidel Castro’s letter to Premier Khrushchev, October 26, 1962.

Chronology Compiled for The President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB), “Chronology of Specific Events Relating to the Military Buildup in Cuba,” Undated [Excerpt].

U.S. blockade of Cuba in effect, UPI October 24, 1962.


Tuesday, October 16, 11:50 A.M., Cabinet Room, The White House.

Tuesday, October 16, 12:15 P.M., Cabinet Room, The White House.

One thought on “What’s the real story on the Cuban Missile Crisis?

  1. Hey,

    I really enjoyed reading through your thoughts and activity on the Cuban Missile Crisis. It sounds like it could be a really interesting assignment and I did a couple of similar assignments in my undergrad work (looking at historical inaccuracies in movies) that I really enjoyed!

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