The popular history of the Cold War has the United States going to the brink of thermonuclear confrontation with the Soviets over Berlin and Cuba. Led by our young war-hero president in both cases we snatched peace from the jaws of the dogs of war and little children could safely play in the streets and sleep tight in their beds at night. It is, for the most part, a fairy tale.
When they ceased being our gallant allies at the end of the second world war and we allowed their iron curtain to descend over half of Europe the Soviets, with their communist dream of world domination, become bold. On Truman’s watch China fell to communism and we lost half of Korea and over 50,000 American servicemen keeping the other half and stopping them at Japan’s door step.
Then came Eisenhower. He called their bluff with Nasser in Egypt. He had the Dulles brothers explain in no uncertain terms what would happen if they intervened at Suez – and they did not. He left office with legitimate pride in the fact that they had not gained one inch of territory during his administration.
Kennedy came into office all tits and teeth – apparently more of a television personality than presidential timber – and the Soviets were quick to challenge him in Berlin. Rather than “risk” war he allowed them to build a barbed wire topped wall that would stand for nearly thirty years as a constant reminder to the west that we regularly traded with a nation that sent political dissidents to their Gulag. Having succeeded there the next test was Cuba. With their puppet Castro in place what better sight to position ICBM’s to threaten the United States with? By the skin of our teeth and with a greater debt being owed to Curtis LeMay and the Joint Chiefs than the administration we stopped them.
Despite the best efforts of Johnson and Carter at appeasement we were able to hold on until Reagan stopped them definitively – even Nixon and Bush the elder with their Rockefeller wing world views could not save them – by proving the adage that happy is the nation that in times of peace prepares for war.
This is not a bad book. It may even be an accurate portrayal of the scenes at sea but there is a reason that junior ensigns don’t make strategic decisions and Huchthausen was a junior ensign. Read as a yarn it is certainly superior to anything Tom Clancy ever produced.
October fury Peter A. Huchthausen United States. Navy History Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962 Hoboken, N.J. : J. Wiley & Sons, c 2002 Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. v, 281 p. : ill., maps ; 25 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 271-274) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG
Drama on the high seas as the world holds its breath It was the most spectacular display of brinkmanship in the Cold War era. In October 1962, President Kennedy risked inciting a nuclear war to prevent the Soviet Union from establishing missile bases in Cuba. The risk, however, was far greater than Kennedy realized.
October Fury uncovers startling new information about the Cuban missile crisis and the potentially calamitous confrontation between U.S. Navy destroyers and Soviet submarines in the Atlantic. Peter Huchthausen, who served as a junior ensign aboard one of the destroyers, reveals that a single shot fired by any U.S. warship could have led to an immediate nuclear response from the Soviet submarines.
This riveting account re-creates those desperate days of confrontation from both the American and Russian points of view and discloses detailed information about Soviet operational plans and the secret orders given to submarine commanders. It provides an engrossing, behind-the-scenes look at the technical and tactical functions of two great navies along with stunning portraits of the officers and sailors on both sides who were determined to do their duty even in the most extreme circumstances.