October marks the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, a tense 13 day period in 1962 during which the U.S., Russia and Cuba balanced on the verge of war.
Those two weeks were "the most dangerous moments the world has ever faced, either before or since – the closest we came to nuclear destruction," historian and journalist Michael Dobbs told the Associated Press.
Back to 1962. An American spy plane had discovered Soviet ballistic missile sites in Cuba with the ability to launch nuclear warheads that could hit the U.S. mainland without much warning. After more than a week of negotiations, U.S. President John F. Kennedy and Russian Premier Khrushchev agreed to a deal in which Russia promised to remove the missiles from Cuba and the U.S. guaranteed it would not invade the island. The U.S. also agreed to remove missiles from Turkey, a part of the agreement that was kept secret.
On October 28, Khrushchev announced on Soviet radio: “The Soviet government in addition to previously issued instructions on the cessation of further work at the building sites for the weapons, has issued a new order on the dismantling of the weapons which you describe as offensive and their return to the Soviet Union.”
'Clouds Over Cuba,' a new documentary film, chronicles the context and events of the crisis. "At the Kremlin, the crisis is seen as a critical defeat. The Soviets sting not just from the loss of the strategic advantage in Cuba, but from the perception around the world that they are the “losers” in the confrontation. Khrushchev personally takes much of the blame. However, in many ways, it is his humanity that is most apparent in the communications between the two super powers," the film analyzes.
'The project' collected over 175 historical photos, videos and documents that detail the crisis.
Relive those suspensful 13 days with some of the project's best photos in the slideshow below. (*Captions by Clouds Over Cuba)
Check out the interactive documentary 'Clouds Over Cuba' here or watch the trailers in the videos below.