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date: 23 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The Cuban missile crisis has attracted an unusual degree of scholarly attention as the single most dangerous event in human history. Most commentators agree that it stands as a particularly good example – and possibly the best example – of successful crisis management. Recent scholarship has qualified this assessment in various ways, not least by making clear that it also stands as a particularly good example of the perils of faulty relationship management. Put another way, while US President John F. Kennedy and Soviet Chairman Nikita S. Khrushchev managed very successfully to step back from the nuclear brink in October 1962, they found themselves on the brink as a result of profound mutual misunderstanding and ineffective channels of communication. This article discusses the role of diplomacy during the Cuban missile crisis and cites some lessons learnt for diplomacy.

Keywords: diplomacy, diplomatic practice, John F. Kennedy, Nikita S. Khrushchev, crisis management

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