Year
1960
Month Day
July 09

Soviet Premier Khrushchev and President Eisenhower trade threats over Cuba

President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev trade verbal threats over the future of Cuba. In the following years, Cuba became a dangerous focus in the Cold War competition between the United States and Russia.

In January 1959, Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro overthrew the long-time dictator Fulgencio Batista. Although the United States recognized the new Castro regime, many members of the Eisenhower administration harbored deep suspicions concerning the political orientation of the charismatic new Cuban leader. For his part, Castro was careful to avoid concretely defining his political beliefs during his first months in power. 

READ MORE: Cold War

Castro’s actions, however, soon convinced U.S. officials that he was moving to establish a communist regime in Cuba. Castro pushed through land reform that hit hard at U.S. investors, expelled the U.S. military missions to Cuba, and, in early 1960, announced that Cuba would trade its sugar to Russia in exchange for oil. In March 1960, Eisenhower gave the CIA the go-ahead to arm and train a group of Cuban refugees to overthrow the Castro regime. It was in this atmosphere that Eisenhower and Khrushchev engaged in some verbal sparring in July 1960.

Khrushchev fired the first shots during a speech in Moscow. He warned that the Soviet Union was prepared to use its missiles to protect Cuba from U.S. intervention. “One should not forget,” the Soviet leader declared, “that now the United States is no longer at an unreachable distance from the Soviet Union as it was before.” He charged that the United States was “plotting insidious and criminal steps” against Cuba. 

In a statement issued to the press, Eisenhower responded to Khrushchev’s speech, warning that the United States would not countenance the “establishment of a regime dominated by international communism in the Western Hemisphere.” The Soviet Premier’s threat of retaliation demonstrated “the clear intention to establish Cuba in a role serving Soviet purposes in this hemisphere.”

The relationship between the United States and Cuba deteriorated rapidly after the Eisenhower-Khrushchev exchange. The Castro regime accelerated its program of expropriating American-owned property. In response, the Eisenhower administration severed diplomatic relations with Cuba in January 1960. 

A little more than a year later, in April 1961, the CIA-trained force of Cuban refugees launched an assault on Cuba in the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion. The invaders were killed or captured, the Castro government cemented its control in Cuba, and the Soviet Union became Cuba’s main source of economic and military assistance.

READ MORE: Communism Timeline 

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! HISTORY reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it is complete and accurate.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Venus Williams wins Wimbledon for the first time

On July 9, 2000, Venus Williams wins at Wimbledon for the first time. Her victory over defending champion, Lindsay Davenport, made Williams the first Black female Wimbledon champion since Althea Gibson won back-to-back titles in 1957 and 1958.  Overcoming a tough childhood in ...read more

Catherine the Great assumes power

On July 9, 1762, the wife of Russia’s new emperor, Peter III, rallies the army regiments of St. Petersburg against her husband and is proclaimed Empress Catherine II, the sole ruler of Russia. More commonly known as Catherine the Great, she would stay on the throne for the next ...read more

Bob Dylan records “Blowin’ In The Wind”

“This here ain’t no protest song or anything like that, ’cause I don’t write no protest songs.” That was how Bob Dylan introduced one of the most eloquent protest songs ever written when he first performed it publicly. It was the spring of his first full year in New York City, ...read more

Romanov remains identified using DNA

British forensic scientists announce that they have positively identified the remains of Russia’s last czar, Nicholas II; his wife, Czarina Alexandra; and three of their daughters. The scientists used mitochondria DNA fingerprinting to identify the bones, which had been excavated ...read more

First female army officer is appointed

In a ceremony held at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, General Dwight D. Eisenhower appoints Florence Blanchfield to be a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army, making her the first woman in U.S. history to hold permanent military rank. A member of the Army Nurse Corps since ...read more

Wimbledon tournament begins

On July 9, 1877, the All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club begins its first lawn tennis tournament at Wimbledon, then an outer-suburb of London. Twenty-one amateurs showed up to compete in the Gentlemen’s Singles tournament, the only event at the first Wimbledon. The winner ...read more

United States turns over responsibility for the DMZ

Four miles south of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), about 500 U.S. troops of the 1st Brigade, 5th Mechanized Division turn over Fire Base Charlie 2 to Saigon troops, completing the transfer of defense responsibilities for the border area. On the previous day, nearby Fire Base Alpha ...read more

President Zachary Taylor dies unexpectedly

On July 9, 1850, after only 16 months in office, President Zachary Taylor dies after a brief illness. The exact cause of his death is still disputed by some historians. On a scorching Fourth of July in Washington, D.C., Taylor attended festivities at the newly dedicated ...read more

U.S. takes San Francisco from Mexico

An American naval captain occupies the small settlement of Yerba Buena, a site that will later be renamed San Francisco. Europeans did not encounter the spectacular San Francisco Bay until 1769, although several explorers had sailed by it in earlier centuries. When Spanish ...read more

William Faulkner, pictured next to a plane circa 1930

William Faulkner joins the Royal Air Force

William Faulkner joins the Royal Air Force on this day, but will never see combat because World War I will end before he completes his training. Faulkner joined the RAF after his high school sweetheart, Estelle, married another man. He quit his hometown, Oxford, Mississippi, ...read more

A family is brutally attacked on a walk in England

Dr. Lin Russell, her two daughters, Josie and Megan, and their dog, Lucy, are all brutally attacked by a man wielding a hammer on their way home to Nonington Village, Kent, England, after a swimming gala. Forcing them to sit down in the woods, the attacker blindfolded and tied up ...read more

New York elects its first governor

On July 9, 1777, New York elects Brigadier General George Clinton as the first governor of the independent state of New York. Clinton would go on to become New York’s longest-serving governor, as well as the longest-serving governor in the United States, holding the post until ...read more

Germans surrender Southwest Africa to Union of South Africa

On July 9, 1915, with the Central Powers pressing their advantage on the Western Front during World War I, the Allies score a distant victory, when military forces of the Union of South Africa accept a German surrender in the territory of Southwest Africa. The Union of South ...read more

Enigma key broken

On July 9, 1941, British cryptologists help break the secret code used by the German army to direct ground-to-air operations on the Eastern front. British and Polish experts had already broken many of the Enigma codes for the Western front. Enigma was the Germans’ most ...read more