1 x 56min for PBS & 1 X 80min for IFB
"Nuclear catastrophe was hanging by a thread .....and we weren't counting days or hours, but minutes." Soviet Army Chief of Operations, Anatoly Gribkov
On October 22nd, 1962, President John F. Kennedy informed the world that the Soviet Union was building secret missile bases on the Island of Cuba, 90 miles off the shores of Florida. The events of the next 13 days brought the world closer to nuclear disaster than it had ever been before or since. This is the story of the Cuban Missile Crisis, exploring how the earth teetered on the very brink of nuclear holocaust and the fate of the planet lay in the hands of three iconic characters – Nikita Khrushchev, Fidel Castro and John F Kennedy.
As the 50th Anniversary of the Crisis approaches, nuclear brinksmanship is still high on the international agenda today and the events of October 1962 hold invaluable lessons for a generation too young to remember just how close we came to the end.
Capturing the drama of those fateful days, this authored and cinematic film also focuses on the very strong human stories of the witnesses and participants in the Crisis: a Russian submariner reading from an intimate letter he wrote to his wife while underwater off Cuba; the Soviet missile man who pressed the button and watched his missile go off through ‘a wall of tropical rain’ to shoot down Major Rudolf Anderson’s U2 plane; Anderson’s friend and fellow U2 pilot who carried his body to the grave.
In one of his last ever interviews on the subject, Kennedy's famous speech writer and aide, Ted Sorensen, also shares his memories of the Crisis.