Soviet Union: Peace threatened Close

 

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 jeopardy.

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 in Cuba. Pravda 24/10/62
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 25/10/62
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".

Cuba threatens us
An American pirate wielding an atomic hammer and a lariat named "blockade", shouts: "Cuba threatens us".

   

Pravda 26/10/62
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 in Turkey.

Pravda 27/10/62
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.

Cartoon by Efimov
Caption of a cartoon by Efimov: "The type of freedom they would thrust upon the world". The plaque reads: "Piracy-Crime-Jungle Law".

IzvestaLaying 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 by Efimov.

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!".
Fomitchov's cartoon
Caption of a cartoon by Fomichev: "See how Cuba, the continental colossus, threatens my small US island".


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