Research Starter: Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962
Research Starter

In 1962, U.S. spy planes confirmed that the Soviet Union was installing nuclear missiles in Cuba to deter an American invasion of the island. While President John F. Kennedy and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev negotiated a deal to remove the missiles, Floridians prepared for the possibility of a nuclear attack. Fallout shelters were stocked and readied. Government officials and citizens alike participated in drills. Florida Governor C. Farris Bryant practiced with an emergency radio system in the fallout shelter located in the basement of the governor’s residence in Tallahassee. In the event of a nuclear attack, this shelter would have become Florida’s seat of government. After 13 days of negotiations, the Soviet Union agreed to remove its missiles from Cuba in return for Kennedy’s promise to remove similar missiles from Turkey. Floridians continued to prepare, however, for the possibility of nuclear war in a new confrontation.

Telegram from President John F. Kennedy Thanking Governor Farris Bryant and the People of Florida for Support During the Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962

Telegram from President Kennedy Thanking Governor Bryant and the People of Florida for Support During the Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962

Florida Memory

State Archives of Florida

State Library of Florida

Published Sources

  • James G. Blight, The Armageddon Letters: Kennedy, Krushchev, Castro in the Cuban Missile Crisis (Lanham, MD: Rowan & Littlefield Publishers, 2015).
  • Nick Wynne, Edge of Armageddon: Florida and the Cuban Missile Crisis (Outskirts Press, 2017).