Nation: The Showdown

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For days and weeks, refugees and intelligence sources within Cuba had insisted that the Soviet Union was equipping its Caribbean satellite with missiles, manned by Russians, that could carry nuclear destruction to the U.S. But the reports were fragmentary and sometimes contradictory. And U.S. reconnaissance planes, photographing Cuba from the Yucatan Channel to the Windward Passage, could detect no such buildup. President Kennedy was not yet persuaded to take decisive action.

On Oct. 10 came aerial films with truly worrisome signs. They showed roads being slashed through tall timber, Russian-made tents...

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