For those of us old enough to remember this time, it was a truly terrifying week. Each morning I went to school unsure if I would return home again before nuclear war broke out. I even recall the chilling words on the BBC radio news, "a need for war may arise".
Later analysis suggests we were even closer than we thought at the time to an all out nuclear exchange and the end of civilisation. It was thanks to the politicians on both the American and Russian sides that eventually tensions were reduced. Thereafter, the Cold War was never quite the same again, and over the following decades we slowly edged towards its end.
What lessons can be learned?
- Great care is needed in complex international crises,
- Never trust the military (they would have bombed Cuba in this case),
- Jaw jaw is better than war war,
- Think about the people we elect into great offices of state as one day our lives may depend on their judgement in a time of very great stress.