On October 26, 1962, 50 years ago today, the United States was in the middle of the Cuban Missile Crisis following the discovery earlier in the month of Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba. During the crisis the United States raised the readiness level of SAC forces to DEFCON 2. For the only confirmed time in U.S. history, the B-52 bombers were dispersed to various locations and made ready to take off, fully equipped, on 15 minutes’ notice.
The Cuban Missile Crisis was a major cold war era confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union that threatened to become a nuclear conflict.
Research this event in the Digital National Security Archive collections. The Digital National Security Archive (DNSA) collects and digitizes declassified U.S. government documents. The Cuban Missile Crisis 1962 collection includes documents from the State Department, the National Security Council, and U.S. embassies abroad, the President and his advisors. The UC Davis Libraries have access to DNSA.
Cuban Missile Crisis (direct link to collection) – search collection by keyword, date, name, organization, participants)
Cuban Missile Crisis Revisited (direct link to collection) – Cuban Missile Crisis Revisited: An International Collection of Documents, From the Bay of Pigs to the Brink of Nuclear War
Below is an excerpt of a top secret internal paper from Oct 26, 1962 detailing options available to the United States. Click on image to go directly to the archive.