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§Of World Interest

November 30 – The United Nations General Assembly elects U Thant of Burma as the new UN Secretary-General.



On February 5th, French President Charles de Gaulle called for Algeria's independence.

Protracted negotiations in the Algerian war for independence from France led to a cease-fire between French troops and the FLN on March 18th. The "Evian Accords" signed in Évian-les-Bains, France by France and the F.L.N. (Front de Libération nationale), put an end to the war in Algeria with a formal cease-fire proclaimed for March 19, and formalizing the idea of cooperative exchange between the two countries. Then-French president Charles de Gaulle wanted to maintain French interests in the area, including industrial and commercial primacy and control over Saharan oil reserves. In addition, the European French community (the colon population) in Algeria was guaranteed religious freedom and property rights as well as French citizenship with the option to choose between French and Algerian citizenship after three years. In exchange, Algeria received access to technical assistance and financial aid from the French government. Algerians were permitted to continue freely circulating between their country and France for work, although they would not have equal political rights to French citizens. The OAS right-wing movement opposed the negotiations through a series of bombings and an assassination attempt, at Le Petit Clamart, against general de Gaulle. Over 1 million French citizens living in Algeria at the time, called the "pieds-noirs," left Algeria for France. In early July, supporters of Algerian independence won a 99% majority in a referendum in France causing Charles De Gaulle to accept Algerian independence on July 2nd. France recognized it the next day.

July 5 - Algeria became independent from France. Over a million people died in the war leading up to this independence. Farms were burned, towns leveled, horrific torture and napalm was used.

On July 31st, Algeria proclaimed independence. Ahmed Ben Bella was named the first President.

August 16th, Algeria joined the Arab League.


Burundi gained its independence on July 1st.


Katangan prime minister Moise Tshombe began negotiations on March 15th to rejoin Congo. On April 6th, Belgium reestablished diplomatic relations with Congo.


December 19 – Britain acknowledges the right of Nyasaland (now Malawi) to secede from the Central African Federation.


Rwanda gained its independence on July 1st.

§South Africa

August 5th, the South African government arrested Nelson Mandela in Howick, and charged him with incitement to rebellion.


December 9 – Tanganyika (now Tanzania) becomes a republic within the Commonwealth, with Julius Nyerere as president.


October 9 – Uganda becomes independent within the Commonwealth of Nations.



August 22nd, there was a failed assassination attempt made against French President Charles De Gaulle.

October 5 - The French National Assembly censures the proposed referendum to sanction presidential elections by popular mandate; Prime Minister Georges Pompidou resigns, but President de Gaulle asks him to stay in office.

November 27 – French President Charles De Gaulle orders Georges Pompidou to form a government.

November 29 – An agreement is signed between Britain and France to develop the Concorde supersonic airliner.


The Captured American U-2 spy plane pilot, Francis Gary Powers, was exchanged for captured Soviet spy Rudolf Abel in Berlin on February 10th in Berlin.

October 8 - The German magazine Der Spiegel publishes an article about the Bundeswehr's poor preparedness; the Spiegel scandal erupts.

October 26 – Spiegel scandal: German police occupy Der Spiegel offices in Hamburg.

November 5 - Franz Josef Strauß, the West German defense minister, is relieved of his duties over the Spiegel scandal, due to his alleged involvement in police action against the magazine.

November 26 - Spiegel scandal: German police end their occupation of Der Spiegel's offices.!!!Great Britain July 12 – The Rolling Stones make their debut at London's Marquee Club, Number 165 Oxford Street, opening for Long John Baldry.

In what the press dubbed "the Night of the Long Knives", United Kingdom Prime Minister Harold Macmillan dismissed one-third of his Cabinet on July 13th.

August 16 - Beatles drummer Pete Best is fired and replaced by Ringo Starr.

August 23 – John Lennon secretly marries Cynthia Powell.

October 5 – The Beatles release their first single for EMI, Love Me Do.

December 10 – David Lean's epic film Lawrence of Arabia, featuring Peter O' Toole, Omar Sharif, Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins, and Anthony Quinn premieres in London.

December 22 – "Big Freeze" in Britain: There are no frost-free nights until March 5, 1963.


The oyster culture that had come to Tholen disappeared from the island after the severe winter of 1962-1963, when almost the entire oyster population was eliminated by the hard frost.

November 26 - Mies Bouwman starts presenting the first live TV-marathon fundraising show (Open Het Dorp), which lasts 23 hours non-stop.

November 28 – Former queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands dies, aged 82.

December 8 - Former Dutch queen Wilhelmina buried at the New Church in Delft.

December 30 - Netherlands are covered with several feet of snow.

§Papal States

Pope John XXIII excommunicated Fidel Castro on January 3rd.

October 11 – Second Vatican Council: Pope John XXIII convenes the first ecumenical council of the Roman Catholic Church in 92 years.

December 8th, the first period of the Second Vatican Council closed.


April 3rd, Jawaharlal Nehru was elected de facto prime minister of India.

§Middle East


June 1 – Adolf Eichmann is hanged in Israel.


Shortly after assuming power in 1962, Ahmad's son, the Crown Prince Muhammad al-Badr was deposed by revolutionary forces, who took control of Sanaa and created the Yemen Arab Republic (YAR). Egypt assisted the YAR with troops and supplies to combat forces loyal to the Kingdom. Saudi Arabia and Jordan supported Badr's royalist forces to oppose the newly formed republic starting the North Yemen Civil War. Conflict continued periodically until 1967 when Egyptian troops were eventually withdrawn.

§North America


December 11 - The last execution by hanging in Canada takes place.


On January 9th Cuba and the Soviet Union signed a trade agreement which was followed on the 22nd by the suspension of Cuba's membership in the Organization of American States (OAS). Just following this action, on February 3rd, the U.S. announced a trade embargo against Cuba and on the 7th banned all U.S.-related Cuban imports and exports.

April 14th, a Cuban military tribunal convicted 1,179 Bay of Pigs attackers. They release 1,113 participants to the U.S. on December 24th, in exchange for food worth $53 million.

Cuban Missile Crisis

U.S. armed forces staged a mock invasion of a Caribbean island in 1962 called Operation Ortsac. The purpose of the invasion was to overthrow a leader whose name was, in fact, Castro ("Ortsac" spelled backwards). Although Ortsac was a fictitious name, Castro soon became convinced that the U.S. was serious about invading Cuba. Shortly after the Bay of Pigs invasion, Castro declared Cuba to be a socialist republic and entered close ties with the Soviet Union leading to a major upgrade of Cuban military defense.

In February, the U.S. began an economic embargo against Cuba. Around this time they also launched Operation Mongoose, a covert operation to overthrow Castro, starting with parachute drops of weapons and material along with several attempted infiltrations by CIA field operatives to organize and train an armed resistance. These plans were almost always disrupted, the arms drops were captured on several occasions, and it appeared all of the CIA operatives were captured shortly after arriving. On September 27th another group of operatives was captured, and Lansdale would later complain that Mongoose was hopeless at this point.

Mongoose was not the only operational plan to overthrow Castro during this period. It was later revealed that the CIA had also been dealing with crime bosses John Roselli and Sam Giancana in an attempt to arrange an assassination. Cuban ex-patriots, ostensibly led by Eugenio Rolando Martínez, were in the process of starting a sabotage campaign, although this never took place. Direct military invasion was also studied in depth, and an operational plan for pre-invasion bombardment was presented by Curtis LeMay in September. US overflights of Cuban airspace and minor harassment at Guantánamo Naval Base were also the subject of repeated diplomatic notes from Cuba.

It was in this environment that Cuba and the Soviet Union agreed to place nuclear weapons in Cuba, with the understanding that an invasion would potentially be met by a nuclear response. Khrushchev devised the deployment plan in May of 1962, and by late July, over sixty Soviet ships were en route to Cuba, some of them already carrying military material. John McCone, director of the CIA, had recently been on honeymoon to Paris where he had been told by French Intelligence that the Soviets were planning to place missiles in Cuba, so he warned President Kennedy that some of the ships were probably carrying missiles; however, the President—along with Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy (his brother), Secretary of State Dean Rusk, and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara—concluded that the Soviets would not try such a thing. Kennedy's administration had received repeated claims from Soviet diplomats that there were no missiles in Cuba, nor any plans to place any, and that the Soviets were not interested in starting an international drama that might affect the U.S. elections in November.

U.S. nuclear advantage

The United States had a decided advantage over the Soviet Union leading up to the crisis. For example, by the close of 1962 the United States had far more nuclear weapons, with more than 300 land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and a fleet of Polaris missile submarines. The Soviet Union, by contrast, possessed only four to six land-based ICBMs in 1962, and about 100 short-range, primitive V-1-type cruise missiles that could only be launched from surfaced submarines. The Soviet R-16 ICBM program suffered a major setback in October 1960 when the Nedelin catastrophe wiped out a large part of the technical team setting the project back by a year.

Few in Washington, D.C. seriously believed that several dozen or so ballistic missiles in Cuba could change the essential strategic balance of power: the Soviet Union was hopelessly outgunned, but their close proximity gave the United States little warning if any at all if they were to be launched. It is now known conclusively that the United States had around 8 times as many nuclear weapons as the Soviet Union in 1962: 27,297 warheads to the USSR's 3,332. Before his arrest on the first day of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Colonel Oleg Penkovsky had served as an intelligence agent for the Americans and British; he was also a colonel in Soviet intelligence. Melman notes that "the proceedings of his trial in April 1963 revealed that he had delivered 5,000 frames of film of Soviet military-technical information, apart from many hours of talk with western agents during several trips to western Europe". Melman argues that top officers in the Soviet Union concluded "that the US then possessed decisive advantage in arms and intelligence, and that the USSR no longer wielded a credible nuclear deterrent".

In 1961, the U.S. started deploying 15 Jupiter IRBM (intermediate-range ballistic missiles) nuclear missiles near İzmir, Turkey, which directly threatened cities in the western sections of the Soviet Union, including Moscow through its 1500 mile range and flight time of about 16 minutes. These missiles were regarded by President Kennedy as being of questionable strategic value; an SSBN (ballistic submarine) was capable of providing the same coverage, with both stealth and superior firepower.

Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev had publicly expressed his anger at the Turkish deployment, and regarded the missiles as a personal affront. The deployment of missiles in Cuba — the first time Soviet missiles were moved outside the USSR — is commonly seen as Khrushchev's direct response to the Turkish missiles. Nikita Khrushchev had previously expressed his doubts to the poet Robert Frost about the readiness of the "liberal" United States to fight over tough issues.

Soviet medium-range ballistic missiles on Cuban soil, with a range of 2,000 kilometres (1,200 statute miles), could threaten Washington, D.C. and around half of the U.S.'s SAC bases (of nuclear-armed bombers), with a flight time of under twenty minutes. In addition, the U.S.'s radar warning systems oriented toward the USSR would have provided little warning of a launch from Cuba.

The United States established three radar bases under Operation Falling Leaves, one of which was in Thomasville, Alabama. The radars were experimental models ahead of their time. Each of the three bases scanned different atmospheric zones above Cuba watching for missile launch. Each base was also connected with a hotline to NORAD control.

A U-2 flight in late August photographed a new series of SAM (surface-to-air missile) sites being constructed, but on September 4, 1962 Kennedy told Congress that there were no offensive missiles in Cuba. On the night of September 8, the first consignment of SS-4 MRBMs was unloaded in Havana, and a second shipload arrived on September 16. The Soviets were building nine sites — six for SS-4s and three for SS-5s with a range of 4,000 kilometres (2,400 statute miles). The planned arsenal was forty launchers, an increase in Soviet first strike capacity of 70%. This matter was readily noticed by the Cuban population, and perhaps as many as a thousand reports of such reached Miami, and were evaluated and then considered spurious by U.S. intelligence.

On October 8, Cuban President Dorticos gave a speech at the U.N. General Assembly, noting that "If... we are attacked, we will defend ourselves. I repeat, we have sufficient means with which to defend ourselves; we have indeed our inevitable weapons, the weapons which we would have preferred not to acquire and which we do not wish to employ." A number of unconnected problems meant that the missiles were not discovered by the U.S. until a U-2 flight of October 14 clearly showed the construction of an SS-4 site near San Cristobal in Pinar del Río Province in Western Cuba. The photographs were shown to Kennedy on October 16. By October 19th the U-2 flights (then almost continuous) showed four sites were operational. Initially, the U.S. government kept the information secret, telling only the fourteen key officials of the executive committee. The United Kingdom was not informed until the evening of October 21st. The following day all non-essential personnel were evacuated from Guantánamo, and the US military was put on world-wide DEFCON 3 alert.

The US response

At 7 PM October 22, President Kennedy delivered a televised address announcing the discovery of the installations and proclaimed that any nuclear missile attack from Cuba on any nation would be regarded as an attack by the Soviet Union on the United States, and would be responded to accordingly. He also placed a naval "quarantine" (blockade) on Cuba to prevent further Soviet shipments of military weapons from arriving there. The word quarantine was used rather than blockade for reasons of international law (the blockade took place in international waters) and in keeping with the Quarantine Speech of 1937 by Franklin D. Roosevelt. Kennedy reasoned that a blockade would be an act of war, and war had not been declared between the U.S. and Cuba.

However, Nikita Khrushchev claimed that the blockade was illegal, and ordered ships to bypass the quarantine. This becomes known to US officials on the night of October 23rd at a civil function in Washington. Lieutenant General Vladimir Dubovik made several comments that suggested they will ignore the blockade, and when Ambassador Dobrynin arrived later he did not refute the account. A statement by TASS, the Soviet news agency, claimed that US ships wwould be attacked in response to any attack on Soviet shipping.

The blockade went into effect at 10 AM October 24th. At the time, nineteen ships were en-route to Cuba from the Soviet Union. Sixteen of these were clearly identified as reversing course, and only the tanker Bucharest continued towards the US lines. The other two, the Gagarin and Komiles were later discovered only a few miles from the US lines, and that they were being escorted by a Soviet submarine positioned between the two ships. The USS Essex was instructed to block the progress of the submarine, including the use of "small explosives" if need be. At 10:25 AM John McCone received an intelligence message and announced that the ships have gone dead in the water. Dean Rusk leaned over to McGeorge Bundy and noted "We're eyeball to eyeball, and I think the other fellow just blinked."

Only an hour later, at 11:24 AM a cable drafted by George Ball to the US Ambassador in Turkey and the US Ambassador to NATO notified them that they were considering making an offer to withdraw missiles from Turkey in exchange for a withdrawal from Cuba. Later, on the morning of October 25th, respected journalist Walter Lippman proposed the same thing in his syndicated column. For many years this has been interpreted as a trial balloon floated by the Kennedy administration, although the historical record clearly suggests this was not the case.

At the time the crisis continued unabated, and that evening TASS reported on an exchange of telegrams between Nikita Khrushchev and Bertrand Russell, where Khrushchev warned that the US's "pirate action" would lead to war. However this was followed at 9:24 PM by a telegram from Khrushchev to Kennedy which Kennedy received at 10:52 PM, in which Khrushchev stated that "if you cooly weight the situation which has developed, not giving way to passions, you will understand that the Soviet Union cannot fail to reject the arbitrary demands of the United States", and that the Soviet Union views the blockade as "an act of aggression" and their ships will be instructed to ignore it.

That night, the Joint Chiefs of Staff instructed Strategic Air Command to go to DEFCON 2, for the first time in history. The message, and the response, are deliberately transmitted uncoded, in order to allow Soviet intelligence to capture them.

At 1:45 AM (now the 25th), Kennedy responded to Khrushchev's telegram, stating that the US was forced into action after receiving repeated assurances that no offensive missiles were being placed in Cuba, and that when these assurances proved to be false, the deployment "required the responses I have announced... I hope that your government will take necessary action to permit a restoration of the earlier situation".

At 7:15 AM, October 25th, the USS Essex and USS Gearing attempted to intercept the Bucharest, but failed to do so. Fairly certain the tanker did not contain any military material, it was allowed through the blockade. Later that day, at 5:43 PM, the commander of the blockade ordered the USS Kennedy to intercept and board the Lebanese freighter Marcula. This took place the next day, and the Marcula was cleared through the blockade after its cargo was checked.

At 5:00 PM Dean Rusk announced that the missiles on Cuba were still actively being worked on. This report was later verified by a CIA report that suggested there had been no slow-down at all. In response, Kennedy issued Security Action Memorandum 199, releasing nuclear weapons to be loaded onto aircraft under the command of SACEUR, who have the duty of carrying out the first air strikes on the Soviet Union.

The next morning, Kennedy informed the executive committee that he believed only an invasion would remove the missiles from Cuba. However he was persuaded to give the matter time and continue with both military and diplomatic pressure. He agreed, and ordered the low-level flights over the island to be increased from two a day to once every two hours. He also ordered a crash program to institute a new civil government in Cuba if an invasion went ahead.

At this point the crisis was ostensibly at a head. The USSR had shown no indication that they would back down, and had made several comments to the contrary. The US had no reason to believe otherwise, and was in the early stages of preparing for an invasion, along with a nuclear strike on the Soviet Union in the case they respond militarily, which was assumed.

At 1:00 PM October 26th, John Scali of ABC News had lunch with Aleksandr Fomin at Fomin's request. He noted that "war seems about to break out" and asked Scali to use his contacts to talk to his "high-level friends" at the State Department to see if the US would be interested in a diplomatic solution. He suggested that the language of the deal would contain an assurance from the Soviet Union to remove the weapons under UN supervision and that Castro would publicly announce not to accept such weapons in the future, in exchange for a public statement by the US that they would never invade Cuba. The US responded by asking the Brazilian government to pass a message to Castro that the US would be "unlikely to invade" if the missiles were removed.

At 6:00 PM the State Department started receiving a message that appeared to be written personally by Khrushchev, Robert Kennedy described the letter as "very long and emotional". Khrushchev re-iterated the basic outline that had been stated to Scali earlier in the day, "I propose: we, for our part, will declare that our ships bound for Cuba are not carrying any armaments. You will declare that the United States will not invade Cuba with its troops and will not support any other forces which might intend to invade Cuba. Then the necessity of the presence of our military specialists in Cuba will disappear." At 6:45 news of Fomin's offer to Scali was finally heard, and was interpreted as a "set up" for the arrival of Khrushchev's letter. The letter was then considered official and accurate, although it was later learned that Fomin was almost certainly operating of his own accord without official backing. Additional study of the letter was ordered, and continued into the night.

Castro, on the other hand, was convinced an invasion was soon at hand, and dictated a letter to Khrushchev that appeared to be calling for an immediate pre-emptive strike on the US. He also ordered all anti-aircraft weapons in Cuba to fire on any US aircraft, whereas in the past they were ordered only to fire on groups of two or more. At 6:00 AM on October 27th the CIA delivered a memo reporting that three of the four missile sites at San Cristobal and the two sites at Sagua la Grande appeared to be fully operational. They also noted that the Cuban military continued to organize for action, although they were under order not to initiate action unless attacked.

At 9 AM Radio Moscow began broadcasting a message from Khrushchev. Contrary to the letter of the night before, the message offered a new trade, that the missiles on Cuba would be removed in exchange for the removal of the Jupiters from Turkey. Throughout the crisis Turkey had repeatedly stated they would be extremely upset if the missiles would be removed. At 10 AM the executive committee met again to discuss the situation. McNamara noted that another tanker, the Grozny, was about 600 miles out and should be intercepted. He also noted that they had never made the USSR aware of the quarantine line, and suggested relaying this information to them via U Thant at the UN.

While the meeting progressed, at 11:03 AM a new message began to arrive from Khrushchev. The message stated, in part, "You are disturbed over Cuba. You say that this disturbs you because it is ninety miles by sea from the coast of the United States of America. But... you have placed destructive missile weapons, which you call offensive, in Turkey, literally next to us... I therefore make this proposal: We are willing to remove from Cuba the means which you regard as offensive... Your representatives will make a declaration to the effect that the United States ... will remove its analogous means from Turkey... and after that, persons entrusted by the United Nations Security Council could inspect on the spot the fulfillment of the pledges made." The executive committee continued to meet through the day.

Around noon that day a U-2 flight was shot down by an SA-2 Guideline SAM emplacement, increasing the stress in negotiations between the USSR and the U.S. It was later learned that the decision to fire was made locally by a Soviet commander on his own authority, although exactly who this was is a matter of some debate. Later that day, at about 3:41 PM, several F8U Crusader aircraft on low-level reconnaissance missions were fired upon, and one was hit by a 37 mm shell but managed to return to base.

At 4 PM Kennedy recalled the executive committee to the White House, and ordered that a message immediately be sent to U Thant asking if the Soviets would "suspend' work on the missiles while negotiations were carried out. During this meeting, Maxwell Taylor delivered the news that the U-2 had been shot down. Kennedy had earlier claimed he would order an attack on such sites if fired upon, but decided to leave the matter unless another attack was made.

Drafting the response

Throughout the meeting, Kennedy suggested they take up Khrushchev's offer to trade away the missiles. Unknown to most members of the excom, Robert Kennedy had been meeting with the USSR Ambassador in Washington to feel out if their intentions were genuine. The excom was generally against the proposal as it would undermine NATO, and the Turkish government had repeatedly stated they were against any such trade. If Kennedy could be forced to give up nuclear weapon in Turkey through actions in another part of the world, no European nation could consider itself safe from having their safety similarly bargained away.

As the meeting progressed, a new plan emerged and Kennedy was slowly won over. The new plan called for the president to simply ignore the latest message, and return to Khrushchev's earlier one. Kennedy was initially hesitant, feeling that Khrushchev would no longer accept the deal now that a new one had been offered, but Llewellyn Thompson argued that he might accept it anyway. Theodore Sorensen and Robert Kennedy left the meeting and returned 45 minutes later with a draft letter to that effect. The president made several changes, had it typed, and sent it.

After the excom meeting finally broke up, a smaller meeting continued in the Oval Office. The group argued that the letter be underscored with an oral message to Ambassador Dobrynin stating that if the missiles were not withdrawn, military action would be used to remove them. Dean Rusk added one proviso, that no part of the language of the deal would mention Turkey, but there would be an understanding that the missiles would be removed "voluntarily" in the immediate aftermath. The president agreed and the message was sent.

At Dean Rusk's request, Fomin and Scali met again. Scali asked why the two letters from Khrushchev were so different, and Fomin claimed it was due to "poor communications". Scali replied that the claim was not credible and shouted that he thought it was a "stinking double cross". He went on to claim that an invasion was only hours away, at which point Fomin stated that a response to the US message was expected from Khrushchev shortly, and he urged Scali to tell the State Department no treachery was intended. Scali said that he didn't think anyone would believe him, but agreed to deliver the message. The two ent their separate ways, and Scali immediately typed out a memo for the excom.

It was well understood that ignoring the second offer and returning to the first put Khrushchev in a terrible position. Military preparations continued, and all active duty Air Force personnel were recalled to base for possible action. Robert Kennedy later recalled the mood, "We had not abandoned all hope, but what hope there was now rested with Khrushchev's revising his course within the next few hours. It was a hope, not an expectation. The expectation was military confrontation by Tuesday, and possibly tomorrow..."

At 8:05 PM the letter drafted earlier in the day was delivered. The message read "As I read your letter, the key elements of your proposals - which seem generally acceptable as I understand them - are as follows: 1) You would agree to remove these weapons systems from Cuba under appropriate United Nations observation and supervision; and undertake, with suitable safe-guards, to halt the further introduction of such weapon systems into Cuba. 2) We, on our part, would agree - upon the establishment of adequate arrangements through the United Nations, to ensure the carrying out and continuation of these commitments (a) to remove promptly the quarantine measures now in effect and (b) to give assurances against the invasion of Cuba." The letter was also released directly to the press to ensure it couldn't be "delayed".

With the letter delivered, a deal was now on the table. However, as Robert Kennedy noted, there was little expectation it would be accepted. At 9 PM the excom met again to review the actions for the following day. Plans were drawn up for air strikes on the missile sites as well as other economic targets, notably petroleum storage. McNamara stated that they had to "have two things ready; a government for Cuba, because we're going to need one, and secondly, plans for how to respond to the Soviet Union in Europe, because sure as hell they're going to do something there". Just after midnight, at 12:12 AM, the US informed its NATO allies that "the situation is growing shorter... the United States may find it necessary within a very short time in its interest and that of its fellow nations in the Western Hemisphere to take whatever military action may be necessary." To add to the concern, at 6 AM the CIA reported that all missiles on Cuba were now ready for action.

At 9 AM on October 28th a new message from Khrushchev was broadcast on Radio Moscow. Khrushchev stated, "the Soviet government, in addition to previously issued instructions on the cessation of further work at the building sites for the weapons, has issued a new order on the dismantling of the weapons which you describe as 'offensive.' and their crating and return to the Soviet Union."

Kennedy immediately responded, issuing a statement calling the letter "an important and constructive contribution to peace". He followed this with a formal letter "I consider my letter to you of October twenty-seventh and your reply of today as firm undertakings on the part of both our governments which should be promptly carried out".

The crisis was over.

December 24 – Cuba releases the last 1,113 participants in the Bay of Pigs Invasion to the U.S., in exchange for food worth $53 million.

§Dominican Republic

On January 16th, a military coup occured in the Dominican Republic. Three days later, on the 19th, a counter-coup occured returning the old government except for the new president Rafael Filiberto Bonnelly.


August 6th, Jamaica became independent.

§U.S. Society

On October 1st, the first Black student, James Meredith, registered at the University of Mississippi, and was escorted by Federal Marshals.

§United States

January 1 – The United States Navy SEALs are activated. SEAL Team One is commissioned in the Pacific Fleet and SEAL Team Two in the Atlantic Fleet.

January 2 – NAACP Executive Secretary Roy Wilkins praises U.S. President John F. Kennedy's "personal role" in advancing civil rights.

January 4 – New York City introduces a subway train that operates without a crew on board.

January 8 – Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa is exhibited in the United States for the first time, at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C..

January 30 – Two of the high-wire "Flying Wallendas" are killed, when their famous 7-person pyramid collapses during a performance in Detroit, Michigan.

February 3 – The United States embargo against Cuba is announced.

February 4 – The Sunday Times becomes the first paper to print a colour supplement.

February 6 – Negotiations between U.S. Steel and the United States Department of Commerce begin.

February 7 – The United States Government bans all U.S.-related Cuban imports and exports.

February 10 – Captured American spy pilot Francis Gary Powers is exchanged for captured Soviet spy Rudolf Abel in Berlin.

February 12 – Six members of the Committee of 100 of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament are found guilty of a breach of the Official Secrets Act.

February 14 – First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy takes television viewers on a tour of the White House.

March 1 – An American Airlines Boeing 707 crashes on takeoff at New York International Airport, after its rudder separates from the tail, with the loss of all life on board.

March 7 – Ash Wednesday Storm: A snow storm batters the Mid-Atlantic.

April 6 – Leonard Bernstein causes controversy with his remarks before a concert featuring Glenn Gould with the New York Philharmonic.

April 21 – The Century 21 Exposition World's Fair opens in Seattle, Washington.

June 6 – President John F. Kennedy gives the commencement address at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York.

June 11 – President John F. Kennedy gives the commencement address at Yale University.

June 11-12 – Frank Morris, John Anglin and Clarence Anglin become the only apparently successful escapees from the Alcatraz Island prison. There is no conclusive evidence that they survived the attempt. A letter exists that claims they survived but handwriting analysis proved inconclusive.

July 9 – American artist Andy Warhol premieres his Campbell's Soup Cans exhibit in Los Angeles.

July 10 – AT&T's Telstar, the world's first commercial communications satellite, is launched into orbit, and activated the next day.

July 17 – Nuclear testing: The "Small Boy" test shot Little Feller I becomes the last atmospheric test detonation at the Nevada Test Site.

August 4 – Marilyn Monroe accidentally overdoses on a mix of sedatives and Champagne a few hours before midnight.

August 10 – Marvel Comics publishes Amazing Fantasy#15, which features the superhero character of Spider-Man, created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.

September 12 – President John F. Kennedy, at a speech at Rice University, reaffirms that the U.S. will put a man on the moon by the end of the decade.

September 25 – Sonny Liston and Floyd Patterson fight for the boxing world title.

September 27 - Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring is released, giving rise to the modern environmentalist movement.

September 30 – CBS broadcasts the final episodes of Suspense and Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar, marking the end of the Golden Age of Radio.

October 1 - The first black student, James Meredith, registers at the University of Mississippi, escorted by Federal Marshals.

October 1 - Johnny Carson takes over as permanent host of NBC's Tonight Show, a post he would hold for 30 years.

October 6 - The first exhibit and sale of "The Vincent Price Collection of Fine Art" took place in a Sears store in Denver, Colo. Original works of the great masters - Rembrandt, Chagall, Picasso, Whistler and more - as well as those of the best contemporary artists at the time were offered for sale in this first exhibit and throughout the program's existence.

October 12 – The infamous Columbus Day Storm strikes the U.S. Pacific Northwest with wind gusts up to 170 mph (270 km/h); 46 are killed, 11 billion board feet (26 million m³) of timber is blown down, with $230 million U.S. in damages.

October 13 – Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? opens on Broadway.

November 3 – The term "personal computer" is first mentioned by the media.

November 7 – Richard M. Nixon loses the California governor's race. In his concession speech, he states that this is his "last press conference" and that "you won't have Dick Nixon to kick around any more".

November 17 – In Washington, D.C., U.S. President John F. Kennedy dedicates Dulles International Airport.

November 23 – United Airlines Flight 297 crashes, killing all 17 on board.

December 2 – Vietnam War: After a trip to Vietnam at the request of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield becomes the first American official to make a non-optimistic public comment on the war's progress.

December 8 - The 1962 New York City newspaper strike begins, affecting all of the city's major newspapers; It would last for 114 days.

December 30 - An unexpected storm buries Maine under five feet of snow, forcing the Bangor Daily News to miss a publication date for the first and only time in history

§U.S. Health

An American Medical Association nutrition report indicated that low-fat high-sugar diets may actually encourage the development of cholesterol.

§U.S. Law

March 26 – Baker v. Carr: The U.S. Supreme Court rules that federal courts can order state legislatures to reapportion seats.

June 25th the United States Supreme Court ruled in Engel v. Vitale that mandatory prayers in public schools were unconstitutional.

Illinois becomes the first State in the Union to decriminalize homosexual acts between consenting adults in private.

§U.S. Religion

March 27 - Archbishop Joseph Francis Rummel of Louisiana ordered all Roman Catholic schools in the New Orleans diocese to end their policies of racial segregation.

April 6 - The Maryland Court of Appeals ruled 4-3 against Madalyn Murray (later O'Hair) in her case to force the end of required Bible readings and recitations of the Lord's Prayer in public schools.

§U.S. Technology

Paul Baran, of the RAND Corporation, a U.S. government thinktank, was commissioned by the U.S. Air Force to do a study on how it could maintain its command and control over its missiles and bombers, after a nuclear attack. This was to be a military research network that could survive a nuclear strike, decentralized so that if any locations (cities) in the U.S. were attacked, the military could still have control of nuclear arms for a counter-attack.

Baran's finished document described several ways to accomplish this. His final proposal was a packet switched network.

"Packet switching is the breaking down of data into datagrams or packets that are labeled to indicate the origin and the destination of the information and the forwarding of these packets from one computer to another computer until the information arrives at its final destination computer. This was crucial to the realization of a computer network. If packets are lost at any given point, the message can be resent by the originator."

This study led to a contract award in 1968 to construct the first packet switched network, which ultimately led to the creation of the Internet.

The design of AUTODIN began in 1962 by contractor Philco-Ford.


March 23rd, the Scandinavian States of the Nordic Council signed the Helsinki Convention on Nordic Co-operation.


On February 15th, Urho Kekkonen was re-elected president of Finland.

§South America


On January 10th, an avalanche on Nevado Huascarán, the highest mountain in Peru, caused 4000 deaths.

§Trinidad and Tobago

The presence of American military bases in Chaguaramas and Cumuto in Trinidad during World War II profoundly changed the character of society. In the post-war period, the wave of decolonization that swept the British Empire led to the formation of the West Indies Federation in 1958 as a vehicle for independence. Chaguaramas was the proposed site for the federal capital. The Federation dissolved after the withdrawal of Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago elected for independence in 1962.

§South Pacific


The Indonesian Army confirmed on January 12th that it had begun operations in West Irian. August 15th, the Netherlands recognized that Irian Jaya was part of Indonesia.


Samoa gained its independence from New Zealand beginning January 1st.

§Southeast Asia

§Burma (modern Myanmar)

On March 2nd, General Ne Win came to power through a military coup.


January 26th, Ranger 3 was launched to study the Moon. It missed the Moon by 22,000 miles.

John Glenn's three orbits aboard Friendship 7 on February 20th earned him the distinction of being the first American to orbit the Earth. His flight lasted 4 hours, 55 minutes. Scott Carpenter also flew three orbits around the Earth on May 24, 1962 in a flight lasting 4 hours, 56 minutes.

Walter Schirra orbited the Earth 6 times on October 3rd for 9 hours, 13 minutes.

Alignment of the Planets February 2nd, for the first time in 403 years, Neptune and Pluto were in alignment. During the new moon and solar eclipse of February 4-5, an extremely rare grand conjunction of the classical planets occurred (it included all five of the naked-eye planets plus the Sun and Moon), all of them within 16° of one another on the ecliptic. At the precise moment of the new moon/solar eclipse, five celestial bodies (the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter) were clustered within 3° of each other, with the Earth in close conjunction with them. Taken in totality though, this grand conjunction included the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, with the Earth also in alignment with the Sun and Moon at the exact moment of the new moon/solar eclipse (eight celestial bodies in total).

'''U.S. Orbit of the Earth John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth in a small capsule named, Friendship 7, on February 20th. He orbited 3 times in 4 hours, 55 minutes.

  • February 23rd, twelve European countries formed the European Space Agency.
  • April 26th, the Ranger 4 spacecraft crashed into the Moon.
  • May 24th, as part of Project Mercury, Scott Carpenter orbited the Earth 3 times in the Aurora 7 space capsule.
  • July 10th, AT&T's Telstar, the world's first commercial communications satellite, was launched into orbit, and activated the next day.
  • July 22 - Mariner program: The Mariner 1 spacecraft flies erratically several minutes after launch and has to be destroyed.
  • July 23 - Telstar relayed the first live trans-Atlantic television signal.
  • August 27 - NASA launched the Mariner 2 space probe.
  • September 12 - President John F. Kennedy declared that the U.S. would put a man on the moon by the end of the decade.
  • December 14 - U.S. spacecraft Mariner 2 flew by Venus, becoming the first probe to successfully transmit data from another planet.


  • Gamal Abdul Nasser, President of Egypt
  • 5 August - Marylin Monroe, from an apparent suicidal drug overdose.


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