Guess which version we were taught in school.
Eric Alterman sums up what we now know, which in every particular runs counter to the propaganda version:
§ There was no “eyeball to eyeball” confrontation; Soviet ships were 750 miles away when they turned around.
§ The “other guy” did not “blink” in the end. The United States secretly promised to remove its missiles from Turkey (and possibly, though it is unclear, Greece) in exchange for the Soviets’ willingness to appear to have caved without concessions.
§ John Kennedy did not request the removal of the Turkish missiles before the crisis began, though he may have thought he did.
§ The United States continued its efforts to overthrow and destabilize Castro’s regime long after it promised to end them. These were continued under presidents Johnson and Nixon.
JFK proved extremely brave and remarkably agile in avoiding the dangerous military attack that his panicky advisers, including virtually all the top military, supported. But Nikita Khrushchev, while far less politically adept, proved the braver man by far when it came time to step away from the brink. The Soviet leader went to the grave with the story of Kennedy’s secret concessions despite the humiliation they ensured that he would suffer, both within the politburo and throughout the world. (Kennedy privately bragged “I cut his balls off.” Fidel Castro, in the dark about the deal, wrote Khrushchev of his nation’s “unspeakable bitterness and sadness”). Meanwhile the myriad myths have guided pretty much every president ever since and certainly helped trap Lyndon Johnson into Vietnam.
Read “The Cuban Missile Crisis: Thirteen Days… and Fifty Years,” and thanks to Newsalert.