Thirteen Days Book Essay Online

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# Thirteen days : a memoir of the Cuban missile crisis
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schema:about ; # Bases militares Rusia--Cuba
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schema:about ; # 1962
schema:about ; # Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962
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schema:creator ; # Robert F. Kennedy
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schema:description "Introduction / Robert S. McNamara -- Introduction / Harold Macmillan -- Tuesday morning, October 16, 1962 -- The President ... knew he would have to act -- A majority decision ... for a blockade -- It was not up to one single man -- The important meeting of the OAS ... -- I met with Dobrynin ... -- The danger was anything but over -- There were almost daily communications with Krushchev -- Expect very heavy casualties in an invasion -- This could mean war -- Those hours in the Cabinet Room ... -- The President ordered the Ex Comm ... -- Some of the things we learned ... -- The importance of placing ourselves in the other country's shoes."@en ;
schema:description "During the thirteen days in October 1962 when the United States confronted the Soviet Union over its installation of missiles in Cuba, few people shared the behind-the-scenes story as it is told here by the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy. In a clear and simple record, he describes the personalities involved in the crisis, with particular attention to the actions and attitudes of his brother, President John F. Kennedy. He describes the daily, even hourly, exchanges between Russian representatives and American."@en ;
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Content-negotiable representations

Thirteen Days Summary

SuperSummary, a modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides that feature detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, quotes, and essay topics.  This one-page guide includes a plot summary and brief analysis of Thirteen Days by Robert F. Kennedy.

Thirteen Days, by Robert F. Kennedy, or RFK, is a memoir that takes place during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The crisis lasted from October 16, 1962 to October 28, 1962, and was part of the Cold War between America and the Soviet Union. The direct cause of the crisis was when the United States discovered that the Soviets had offensive weapons on Cuba, even though Premier Nikita S. Khrushchev had promised—both privately and publicly—the contrary.

The Cuban Missile Crisis was just one event of many during the Cold War, which lasted from 1947 to 1991. It was significant because it showed that not only could the tension grow out of control, but that both sides had the ability to rein it in again. The Cold War was so called because there wasn’t actual use of force, though there was plenty of threat from both the Eastern Bloc and the Western Bloc. During this time, and especially during the Cuban Missile Crisis, nuclear holocaust was feared throughout the United States and other nations.

Robert F. Kennedy was a United States senator, the attorney general, and brother to President John F. Kennedy, commonly referred to as JFK. Kennedy begins his memoir at the start of the Cuban Missile Crisis: JFK calls upon an Executive Committee of the National Security Council. Termed “Ex Comm” for short, the members provide the president with recommendations during the crisis.

Ex Comm quickly splits into factions. The Defense Secretary, McNamara, wants to use quarantines and blockades to deal with the crisis. The other faction wants to order an airstrike and then invade. It seems the only thing they can agree on is that they are running out of time and must make a choice. JFK opts to go with the blockade. He gets support from OAS, or the Organization of American States, and allies in Western Europe.

On the home front, he alerts American forces and addresses his Cabinet and the leaders of Congress. JFK then goes on television to address the public, providing his rationale for choosing blockade and quarantine, and discussing possible military actions that might be required to deal with the crisis.

JFK implores Khrushchev not to push back against the quarantine. He doesn’t want there to be another world war, with two having already taken place in the first half of the twentieth century. Meanwhile, RFK goes to the Russian Embassy to review how the situation escalated to a crisis so quickly. Khrushchev doesn’t seem to want to grant JFK’s request, and Soviet ships continue onward. JFK prepares for the US to engage with a Soviet submarine.

At the UN Security Council, V.A. Zorin is confronted by photographic evidence provided by Adlai Stevenson. This evidence is devastating. JFK allows Bucharest, a Soviet tanker, to continue to Cuba in order to give Khrushchev another opportunity not to intensify the situation. JFK orders more photographic surveillance, which reveals rapid construction.

What happens next seems rife with possibilities for miscommunication. Khruschchev writes a letter to JFK that says they should not succumb to “petty passions” or “transient things.” He says he won’t use Soviet missiles in an offensive attack and, if JFK removes the blockade, he will remove the missiles from Cuba. Before JFK can respond to this message, he receives another from the Kremlin. This second letter is belligerent. The Soviets also shoot down a U-2. JFK responds by asking RFK and Sorenson to write a letter responding to Khrushchev’s first letter; he decides to ignore the second one. He reminds Khrushchev that he knows about the Soviet Union’s actions in Cuba, and that he needs a positive answer to his letter. This will not only peacefully resolve the crisis, but keep nuclear weapons under American control.

The Soviets agree to withdraw. JFK respects Khrushchev because he didn’t just do what he wanted or what the Soviet Union wanted, but what was right for humankind, in withdrawing his missiles. Placing trust in one another was crucial, especially during a time when there was so much distrust between Eastern and Western cultures. The Cold War was an era of espionage, secrets, and lies. That JFK and Khrushchev could find a path to peace is one of the driving forces behind Thirteen Days.

JFK was assassinated in 1963. Shortly after, RFK resigned so that he could run for senator. He won in New York, which he hoped would give him a strong base for a future presidential election. Five years after his brother was killed, RFK was assassinated after winning the California Democratic primary for the presidential nomination.

Thirteen Days was adapted into a television play in 1974, titled The Missiles of October. RFK’s book was released in 1969, in the year after his assassination. In 2000, there was a film made of the same name, but it was actually based on another book, which told of tapes in which JFK revealed more information than he had been willing to give previously.



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