Anatoli Gribkov & William Smith

For a few days in mid-October 1962, the world teetered on tghe brink of all-out nuclear war between the United States, led by President John F. Kennedy, and the Soviet Union, commanded by Premier Nikita Khrushchev.

Photo: CIA Map, 1962 Cuba

It began when U.S. spy planes detected Soviet missiles being shipped to, and installed in, Cuba.

President Kennedy weas determined not to allow what was seen as an act of Soviet aggression in our hemisphere, whil Khrushchev was acting in what he believed was defensed of Cuba against possihble U.S. aggression.

The situation quickly escalated into a showdown that brought us to the edge, but ultimately, cooler heads prevailed.