The Cuban Missile Crisis was a 13-day dispute between Cuba and the Soviet Union on one side and the United States on the other. The event is regarded as the closest these world powers came to nuclear attacks during the Cold War. During this period, Fidel Castro was the leader of Cuba, Nikita Kruschev led the Soviet Union, and John F. Kennedy was president of the United States.
In April 1961, the United States launched an invasion of Cuba in order to overthrow Castro's regime. This attack is popularly known as the Bay of Pigs invasion. It was a failure. Thus, in 1962, the United States placed missiles in Turkey and Italy aimed at Moscow. The failure of this endeavor and the situation of the nuclear missiles spread throughout Europe motivated Kruschev to respond to Kennedy's actions by placing nuclear missiles in Cuba. Cuba and the Soviet Union were allies. During this period, the United States was concerned about the spread of communism to Latin America and was trying to eliminate the threat in any way possible. The standoff between Kennedy, Castro and Kruschev lasted 13 days and ended in a withdrawal of the Soviet Union's nuclear weapons from Cuba and the United States' weapons in Turkey.