Thirteen Days


Management


Final Assignment


December 25, 2003





Table of Contents



Preface…………………………………………………………………….......


Chronology of Events…………………………………………………………


Overview……………………………………………………………………...


Questions……………………………………………………………………...


Q1. “Thirteen Days” is a classic example of group work dynamics and both intra and inter group politics. The situation was “real,” different perceptions however defined their own sense of reality. What factors can you identify that may have defined “reality” in different ways for the sub groups namely, Kennedy and O’Donnell, the Joint chiefs, The CIA etc?


Q2. Do you see any antecedent conditions and symptoms of groupthink in the EXCOM? Perceptions are contagious, how was the conformity and worse “Group think” avoided in the EXCOM.


Q3. Apply the group decision making elements you have learnt to the inner working of the EXCOM. Do you agree of disagree with it.


Conclusion…………………………………………………………………….


Bibliography…………………………………………………………………..


Preface:



The Cuban Missile Crisis, the term was coined after the thirteen extraordinary days when the world stood on the brink of an unimaginable catastrophe. A major confrontation between the U.S. and the Soviet Union developed over the presence of Soviet nuclear-armed missiles in Cuba. In October 1962 a U.S. spy plane detected a ballistic missile on a launching site in Cuba. President John F. Kennedy placed a naval blockade around the island, and for several days the U.S. and the Soviet Union hovered on the brink of war. Secretary General of the U.S.S.R, Nikita Khrushchev finally agreed to remove the missiles in return for a secret commitment from the U.S. to withdraw U.S. missiles from Turkey and never to invade Cuba. The incident fueled the nuclear arms race.


Thirteen Days shows how President Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, Kenny O’Donnell and the ExComm overcome the turmoil within the White House avoid groupthink and apply proper decision making elements to bring a successful outcome to the situation.





Overview:


Thirteen Days, is a portrayal of the drama surrounding the Cuban missile crisis, and an analysis of the ordeal. The two sides to this conflict which was played out in the post-World War II era. On one hand you have the Communists of the Soviet Union, whose desire to bring all of Europe under their heel and on the other stands the Americans who wished to prevent the further spread of Communism. The tensions begin to mount after the Soviet Union had surrounded itself with Communist satellite countries, and was taking every opportunity to impose Communism onto any other country possible.


When Joseph Stalin died, power went to Nikita Khrushchev. His goal was to have the Soviet Union be an equal to the United States militarily and economically. When Fidel Castro took over Cuba by means of a revolution and established his government as the first openly Communist government in the western hemisphere. He petitioned the Soviet Union for aid, which was cheerfully given him. These events went against US’s current policies and were brought down to a boiling point by the arrival of Soviet technicians and soldiers on the island, followed by shipments of Soviet technology. Frequent U-2 flyovers had produced evidence of the beginning construction of missile sites, which the Russians claimed were to be of a purely defensive nature.


Realization that the Soviets had actually begun construction on offensive nuclear missile sites, with missiles capable of reaching most major U.S. cities. This realization sparked a massive government operation to discover everything possible about this new threat, and at the same time to cover it up to not cause a general panic. Since the failure of Bay of Pigs operation, Kennedy no longer followed the advice of his military advisors, but instead decided to rely on the advice from the ExComm whose council was to prove vital in all areas of the crisis, and essential to the successful outcome. The level of security levied on this group was so great that even their wives were not to be told of anything. Potentially the greatest advice this group of advisors gave Kennedy kept the U.S. out of what could have turned into a global disaster.


They strongly advised against the military’s option of a direct air bombardment of the missile sites and a Marine invasion of the island of Cuba. Kennedy decided to use the ExComm’s recommendation of a “quarantine” of Cuba to prevent further Soviet supplies from reaching Cuba. After this, the tensions continued to rise until negotiations with Khrushchev began to be established. Utilizing the advice