Publish Date: Nov. 9, 1962
Cover Story: The Adventurer
How TIME Covered the News: The U.S.’s testy relations with Castro’s Cuba reached a low point following the botched Bay of Pigs invasion. The U.S.S.R.’s Nikita Khrushchev came to the Caribbean isle’s aid with a plan to plant Soviet missiles on Cuban soil. That led to the most dangerous standoff of the Cold War—an exercise in brinkmanship and 11th hour diplomacy that, in TIME’s view, backfired on the Soviets.
“The haste with which Khrushchev grasped the opportunity and mounted his Cuban missile program tends to confirm the Washington theory that he hoped to have the weapons ready for some fancy nuclear blackmail with the U.S. this fall. At an estimated cost of $1 billion, the missiles were relatively inexpensive, but once they were in place, Moscow might at last sign the long-threatened peace treaty with East Germany and order the West out of Berlin. Considered now, in the light of its failure, the plan suggests a certain Dr. No aspect of the mad scientist threatening to blow up the U.S., but it also had a sort of classic simplicity.”