The public was never informed either of the detailed grievances aired,
or drastic steps taken by Kennedy.
The Soviet media presented a three-point case which was taken up by the
Communist Press all over the world: The USA was determined to overthrow
the Castro regime; Cuba was fighting for her independence; the Soviet
Union had rushed in to help a smaller country whose sovereignty was in
Only after 24 October did the Cuban crisis monopolize the media, when
they reported the blockade. There were loud Izvestia
headlines: "Bandits!", "Leave
Cuba Alone!", "The USA is Playing
with Fire. Stop the warmongers!".
|On 24 October, Pravda
headlined: "Hands Off Cuba",
and the world was called up to "curb the
demented American aggressors". No mention was made of
Soviet troops, and even less, of ballistic missiles being deployed
The Volgograd Pravda, October 24,
1962, sends 'Friendly greetings to the heroic Cuban people who chose
to go the Socialist way'. (
) Friendship and collaboration between
Cuban and Soviet people are growing stronger'.
For days the Press kept launching bitter attacks on "warmongers"
and repeatedly wrote that the Soviet Union would not hesitate to go to
war if need be.
On 24 October, the front page of Red Star,
the official organ of the Ministry of Defence, showed an Intercontinental
Ballistic Missile and a battery of anti-aircraft guns.
Protest meetings against "American piracy"
were staged in barracks, universities and factories. Troud,
the Trade Unions'organ, showed a picture of the meeting held at
the Vladimir-Ilyich Moscow electro-mechanical plant. But life in the capital
went on unaffected by the media campaign.
The shows of the New
York City Ballet at the Congress Hall, of Jerome Hines, the
opera singer, at the Bolshoi, drew large
audiences. On 27 October a demonstration was staged in front of
the US Embassy.
When truckloads of young pioneers were instructed to hold banners
castigating US imperialism and colonialism, the police saw to it
that there were no excesses.
Izvestia, October 25, 1962:
"The planet faces no conflagration"
"Common sense should prevail".
In a poem, the regime-appointed bard N.Doriso writes that "the
sun shall break through the blockade".
An American pirate wielding an atomic hammer and a lariat named
"blockade", shouts: "Cuba threatens us".
The Volgograd Pravda, October 26, 1962
headline: 'The people of Cuba are poised for response'. Captions:
'Blockade', and 'Trade relations with Cuba'.
|As of 26 October, Pravda
began to explore possible ways out. Reports of popular protest no
longer hit the headlines. Instead, editorialists insisted that it
was urgent to avoid a war and that reason should prevail: there was
a leader on "the withdrawal of foreign troops
and the closing of military bases abroad", i.e. in Turkey.
|The media were as silent
as the political authorities and gave the public no day-to-day information
about the crisis. Only on 27 October in the evening did the population
learn that there were Soviet missiles in Cuba, when they tuned in
on Radio Moscow. A parallel was drawn
between the Cuban missiles and US Jupiters
The Volgograd Pravda, October 27, 1962 headline:
'The people's will shall prevail'. Headline/caption: 'Keep your
hands off Cuba!', Headline: 'We are with the heroic island in spirit'.
In spite of this implicit acknowledgement , the Press kept ironizing
over the evidence Stevenson had presented to the UN, saying that the photos
were "gross forgeries" issued
by the Pentagon.
Caption of a cartoon by Efimov: "The type of freedom they would
thrust upon the world". The plaque reads: "Piracy-Crime-Jungle
the emphasis on the efficiency of collective farming, the Izvestia
allowed only a few lines of their front page to the Cuban affair,
while calling for the "elimination of
the war threat" and demanding that the aggressors be
"pilloried", with a cartoon
Two days later, the media were doing their utmost to show that the end
of the crisis was to be credited to the Kremlin's deliberate strategy
aimed at preserving the security of a small nation threatened by imperialist
aggressors on the one hand, and at fending off war on the other. Thus,
on 30 October, the Izvestia could boast that
"reason had prevailed", since
"the US had been forced to promise that they
would not invade Cuba".
|In other countries, the
Communist Press extolled Nikita Khrushchev as the man who had saved
the world from war. Like Radio Sofia,
the media in the popular democracies highlighted American aggressive
policies and the merits of Khrushchev, the peace-minded saviour of
Cuba: "Dear beloved Nikita Sergeyevich,
we thank you from the bottom of our hearts!".
Caption of a cartoon by Fomichev: "See how Cuba, the continental
colossus, threatens my small US island".