International commemorative event

The Missile Crisis 60 Years On: Part 1

International Institute for the Study of Cuba at the University of Buckingham

The Missile Crisis 60 Years On

Online Panel: Saturday 22 October 2022, 3pm BST

Via Teams: To Register click HERE

Confrontation at the United Nations, October 25, 1962: deputy NPIC director David Parker points out the photographic evidence while U.S. ambassador Adlai Stevenson (at right) describes the photos. USSR ambassador Valerian Zorin is presiding at far left.
                                            Picture courtesy of the National Security Archive 

On 16 October, 1962, the CIA placed before US President Kennedy the first confirmed pictures of Soviet nuclear missile emplacements in Cuba and what became known as the Missile Crisis or October Crisis began. The news of the discovery was not made known to the public until six days later, when Kennedy made his dramatic televised address to the US population and announced a naval blockade of the Caribbean island. While the US saw the emplacement of nuclear missiles in Cuba as aggression, the Soviets and Cubans viewed their actions as defensive. There followed 13 notorious days of worldwide terror at the prospect of a nuclear war between the superpowers. In Cuba, the population prepared for a military invasion, as the leaderships in Washington and Moscow struggled to find a diplomatic way to resolve their differences.

Now, as conflict between the ‘West’ and Moscow has reignited on the continent of Europe, what lessons can we learn from the events in the Caribbean sixty years ago? What is its legacy and how should it be remembered? This online panel, organised by the International Institute for the Study of Cuba at the University of Buckingham, brings together a group of distinguished scholars to discuss the events of 1962, how it appears to us today and the relevance it may have to matters still facing the world.


Sir Rodric Braithwaite GCMG

Sir Rodric Braithwaite is a senior research fellow at the University of Buckingham. He was HMG Ambassador to Moscow  from 1988, then Foreign Policy Adviser to the Prime Minister, the Rt Hon. [now Sir] John Major, and Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee. He is the author of several books, including Armageddon and Paranoia: The Nuclear Confrontation (Profile, London 2017.) and Russia – Myths and Realities: The History of a Country with an Unpredictable Past (Profile, London 2022)


Peter Kornbluh

Peter is the Director of Cuba and Chile Documentation Projects, National Security Archive, Washington DC, USA and the co author with Professor William LeoGrande of ‘Back Channel to Cuba: The Hidden History of Negotiations between Washington and Havana.’ (University of North Carolina Press, 2015)


Philip Brenner

Professor Emeritus, School of International Service, American University, Washington DC.  co-author of Sad and Luminous Days: Cuba’s Struggle with the Superpowers after the Missile Crisis, who participated in the Havana 30th anniversary conference in 1992 at which Castro revealed hitherto unreleased documents that extended our understanding considerably.


Rafael Hernández

Rafael Hernández, a Cuban political scientist, attended the first trilateral conference about the Crisis, in Moscow, 1990, as an academic advisor to the Cuban government delegation; and participated in the planning of the Havana conference, in 1992. He is the author of Otra guerra. Ensayos sobre estrategia y seguridad internacional (1999), and has written extensively on US-Cuban relations, international security, Cuba’s foreign policy, civil society and politics. He has been visiting professor at Columbia, Harvard, Renmin (Beijing), and other universities. He lives and works in Havana, as the Chief Editor of Temas, a social science journal.


This is the first in a series of meetings on the Crisis. A second panel will be organised later in the year. 

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