LAUNCH PAD UK Britain and the Cuban Missile Crisis

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Thor nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles stood on a round-the-clock wartime state of alert ready to be fired; these were the ‘other’ missiles of the Cuban Missile Crisis, which made Britain, in effect, America’s launch pad. During the height of the crisis both RAF Bomber Command and the US Strategic Air Command were poised at the highest states of readiness. Both were ordered to a level of war readiness unparalleled throughout the whole of the forty years of Cold War. There is evidence to suggest that, had the US needed to launch an air strike against Russian missiles in Cuba, President Kennedy might have been willing to absorb a Soviet nuclear assault on a NATO ally without retaliation, if it would have avoided escalation to World War Three.

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