06/04/13 - Tuesday's Topical Currents is with nuclear historian Ward Wilson, author of FIVE MYTHS ABOUT NUCLEAR WEAPONS. Millions of American baby-boomers grew up haunted by the possibility of nuclear annihilation. After negotiations in the 1980s, both US and Soviet nuclear stockpiles were reduced. Wilson says the idea that that nuclear weapons have created a deterrence to war and contributed to negotiations is misleading. That’s Topical Currents at 1pm on WLRN-HD1 rebroadcast at 7pm on WLRN-HD2 and audio on-demand after the live program.
The Cuban-American Democrat. It is an unusual breed in Florida.
Since the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 made the Democratic administration of John F. Kennedy look bad, and caused many Cubans to flee their homeland forever, El Exilio community in South Florida especially has been strongly Republican.
But that's beginning to change. Some exit polling indicated Cubans nearly split their vote between President Obama and Mitt Romney this past election, something that has never happened.
The Russian-American cat and mouse game that played out in Miami. Also, where the soldiers would spend their free time.
October 1962 was life-changing for Miami native Charles Carter. Though he was only 16, he skipped school to go to an Army Recruiting Office the morning after President Kennedy's speech revealed Russian missiles in Cuba. Because he was underage, his parents had to give permission for him to enlist. Luckily, they did. And soon Carter found himself manning a missile site in the 'Glades -- one of four hastily erected around South Florida in the fall of '62 (pictured in above photos taken by Carter).
Fifty years ago we came within a pushed-button of nuclear war with the Soviet Union.
Dr. Henry Mack, IV remembers it well.
The 81-year-old resident of Sunrise, Florida was one of those with a finger on that button during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Dr. Mack was an Army officer back then, commanding a Nike Missile base in Carleton, Michigan and an order away from launching a nuclear warhead. "It was probably the most challenging assignment that I had in my 20 years of service; knowing that I could be the single individual that started World War III."
If you aren’t old enough to remember, ask someone over 50. That day, when President Kennedy revealed in a national TV broadcast that there were missiles in Cuba, was life altering for many, especially in South Florida.
It was a day that inspired Miami native Charles Carter, who was 16, to skip school and go to the Army Recruiting Office. With his parents' consent, he successfully enlisted in the military and was assigned to one of the four, hastily built missile sites in the Everglades - a mere 90 miles from a potential nuclear threat.
Producer Rich Halten spoke to Carter and several other people who lived through that time, tapping their memories about the Cuban Missile Crisis, as this week marks the 50-year anniversary.
Archival audio is from the Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archives.
We were also fortunate to gather tales and memories from members of the Public Insight Network to enhance the already incredible story Halten produced. You can listen to the radio story above, and you can read what contributors remembered and thought of those two horrifying and sleepless weeks below.
Cuban President Fidel Castro replies to President Kennedy's naval blockade via Cuban radio and television on October 23, 1962. Kennedy enacted the blockade in response to the deployment of Soviet nuclear weapons in Cuba.
The small town of Bejucal, 20 miles south of Havana, looks much as it did in October 1962. Horse carts carry passengers and fresh-cut green bananas through narrow streets lined with pastel-colored homes.
The sleepy town doesn't seem like the kind of place to put an arsenal of nuclear weapons. But a military bunker here was the biggest storage depot on the island for the Soviet nuclear weapons 50 years ago.
Recent research and a new book by the son of a Soviet insider are putting the Cuban Missile Crisis of a half century ago in a scary new light. Juan Tamayo of the Miami Herald reports we were closer to nuclear war than we have realized. Here's the part about the 98 nuclear missiles that Nikita Khrushchev almost left with Fidel Castro.
Fifty years ago, the United States stood on the brink of nuclear war.
On Oct. 16, 1962, the national security adviser handed President John F. Kennedy black-and-white photos of Cuba taken by an American spy plane. Kennedy asked what he was looking at. He was told it was Soviet missile construction.
The sites were close enough — just 90 miles from the U.S. — and the missiles launched from there could reach major American cities in mere minutes.
The Cold War was heating up to a near-boiling point.