X-plaining the Cuban Missile Crisis
John Lewis Gaddis calls the Cuban Missile Crisis of Oct 1962 “the moment at which the world came closer than ever before, or since, to a nuclear conflagration”. Historians of all stripes view the crisis as an epochal moment in the history of the Cold War (and indeed the world) where eyeball-to-eyeball, the Americans and Soviets edged towards a nuclear conflict because of the shipment of Soviet missiles to Cuba as a tit-for-tat measure against America placing Jupiter missiles in Turkey. And at the end of the tense 13 days, it was Nikita Khruhschev who blinked.
Of course all that history has to be changed now since I watched X-Men: First Class last night at the cinema. I have to go back and change my A-Level History notes on this part of Cold War history. I have to tell my students from now that nuclear war was averted in 1962 not because Kennedy issued a naval blockade, or because Khrushchev presented two conflicting ultimatums. Instead, it was all because Sebastian Shaw wanted World War III to happen; because Magneto was bent on revenge to kill him; because Charles Xavier was roped in by the CIA to stop Shaw; and because Angel spit a ball of fire that burned Banshee’s right wing-flap. Cool, I like this version of history better!