Thirteen Days (2000)

You'll Never Believe How Close We Came

Plot outline

In October 1962, the Kennedy administration struggles to contain the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Personal notes



In October 1962, the Kennedy administration struggles to contain the Cuban Missile Crisis. - Kenneth Chisholm and assmn316

In October, 1962, U-2 surveillance photos reveal that the Soviet Union is in the process of placing nuclear weapons in Cuba. These weapons have the capability of wiping out most of the Eastern and Southern United States in minutes if they become operational. President John F. Kennedy and his advisors must come up with a plan of action against the Soviets. Kennedy is determined to show that he is strong enough to stand up to the threat, and the Pentagon advises U.S. military strikes against Cuba--which could lead the way to another U.S. invasion of the island. However, Kennedy is reluctant to follow through, because a U.S. invasion could cause the Soviets to retaliate in Europe. A nuclear showdown appears to be almost inevitable. Can it be prevented?

The year is 1962. USAF U-2 spy planes discover that the USSR is placing nuclear ballistic missiles in Cuba. The Chiefs of Staff warn President Kennedy and his cabinet that the missiles have the potential to kill up to 80 million Americans, and destroy a large number of USAF bomber bases - thus crippling the Americans' ability to retaliate and leaving the country an easy target for Soviet invasion. Fortunately, the missiles are not yet operational, and the President and his staff try to figure out how to get the missiles out of Cuba - whether by diplomatic means or by force. Initially, diplomatic attempts fail as the Soviets lie and stonewall the President. Secretary of Defence Robert McNamara comes up with a different plan - a naval blockade of Cuba to keep new missiles from reaching the country. When the Russians ignore the blockade and try to run it, things quickly go from bad to worse. Will the Americans & Soviets come to a peaceful settlement - or will nuclear war result? - Derek O'Cain

In the early days of October 1962, U.S. spy planes photograph the impending installation of Soviet missile sites in Cuba. While there is widespread agreement that the missiles must not be allowed, there is no clear way to ensure that. The military feels that their destruction followed by the invasion of Cuba is likely the only option. President Kennedy realizes however that to do so, would lead the Soviet Union to invade West Berlin with the result being an all out war. He pushes his subordinates, coordinated by brother Bobby, to come up with an alternative solution. Secretary of Defence Robert McNamara proposes a naval blockade of Cuba which the U.S. initiates with the backing of the Organization of American States. Throughout the 13 day crisis, the President and his inner circle struggle to rein those who would take unilateral action and through back channels, tries to communicate with the Soviet leadership and provide them with a face-saving solution to their mutual dilemma. - garykmcd