Miller Center

Riding The Tiger

“I discovered that being a President is like riding a tiger. A man has to keep on riding or be swallowed.” Harry S. Truman

Miller Center Commemorates 50th Anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis

President Kennedy meets with Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko in the Oval Office.

President Kennedy meets with Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko in the Oval Office. The President knows but does not reveal that he is now aware of the missile build-up. October 18, 1962. Photo courtesy of The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston, PD.

On Monday, the Miller Center hosted a Forum to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Heather Michon blogged about the panel on Knowing Charlottesville. The panel revealed that the Cuban Missile Crisis was much more than a stand-off between the United States and the Soviet Union. Furthermore, the opening of Soviet and Cuban archives has revealed that President John F. Kennedy was much more willing to negotiate than previously understood by the public. As Marc Selverstone put it, “Diplomacy, not force, turned the tide.” Castro was also kept in dark about back channel negotiations between the U.S. and Soviet Union. While Americans moved on from the terror of the crisis fairly quickly, the shadow of those October days lingered over Cuban-Soviet relations for decades.

Read on for Heather’s full summary of the Forum.