When one looks beyond the facts, the Cuban missile crisis was just more of the balance of powers between the US and the Soviet Union. It was entangled in the Berlin crisis and the Soviets had three underlying motives, none of which was to force a nuclear war. The first motive was to deter the US attack on Cuba, the second was to obtain leverage over the Berlin issue and the third was to undermine the US nuclear superiority in the balance of powers (Betts 1987, 110).
Following the Second World War, the Soviet Union together with the US, Britain and France occupied Germany for reconstruction and stabilization purposes. Ultimately, the country was divided into two with the Soviet Union taking responsibilities for East Germany and the remaining World War II allies taken responsibility for West Germany. Neither side could agree on concessions and strategies and by 1961, the situation had escalated into what has been described as the Berlin Crisis (Stern 2005, 18). The power struggle between the US and the Soviet Union during the ongoing Cold War and the US’s nuclear and military superiority did not help. By 1961, Russian leader Nikita Krushchev vowed that when he met with US President J. F. Kennedy in June that year he would “push hard for concessions in Berlin and elsewhere” (Stern 2005, 18).
Based on the facts and circumstances in which Krushchev made that statement, historians have taken the position that the Cuban Missile Crisis was no more than a ploy on the part of the Soviet Union to compel Western powers, particularly the US to accept the settlement of Germany, and Berlin in particular on its terms and conditions. The idea was to use “quick and dramatic means” for strengthening the Soviet Union’s military, diplomatic and psychological position on a number of geopolitical matters, particularly the German issue (Divine 1988, 135).
The Soviet’s would claim however, that