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DOOMSDAY LOOMED TIMELINE

In September 1962, the Soviet Union announced increased aid to Cuba. The "aid" included missiles hidden aboard Soviet freighters.

Tuesday, October 16

President Kennedy learns about missiles, but makes no public announcement. His crisis-management team recommends air strikes against missile sites.

Saturday, October 20

Pentagon says American troops gathering in South Florida and the Caribbean are part of routine war exercises and nothing else.

Sunday, October 21

Deciding against a surgical air strike, Kennedy approves a "quarantine" instead. Still no public announcement.

Monday, October 22

Kennedy tells the nation Soviet missiles are in Cuba. He says he will hold the Soviets responsible if any missiles are launched, and retaliate with nuclear weapons.

Tuesday, October 23

Kennedy receives the first of several letters from Khrushchev, who denies that offensive missiles are in Cuba.

Wednesday, October 24

Heading for Cuba, 18 Soviet-bloc ships stop dead in the water.

Friday, October 26

As tensions rise, U.S. makes public the intelligence reports and photographs showing ongoing construction at Cuban missile bases.

Saturday, October 27

Things get worse: An American U2 spy plane is shot down over Cuba. Kennedy calls 14,000 Air Force reservists to active duty.

Sunday, October 28

Kennedy and Khrushchev announce an agreement. Soviets will withdraw missiles from Cuba for America's promise not to invade Cuba.

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