The timeline of the Crisis
Day 1: Tuesday, October 16
President Kennedy is told that the Cubans have ICBM’s (InterContinental Ballistic Missile).
DAY 2: Wednesday, October 17
President Kennedy discusses what he should do about the ICBM’s in Cuba.
DAY 3: Thursday, October 18
President Kennedy meets with Soviet Foreign and advises him that America will not tolerate Soviet missiles in Cuba. Gromyko denies the presence of any Soviet weaponry in Cuba.
DAY 4: Friday, October 19
JFK meets with the Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, and the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to discuss military options.
DAY 5: Saturday, October 20
President Kennedy returns to Washington to discuss the discovery of additional Soviet missiles in Cuba.
DAY 6: Sunday, October 21
President Kennedy orders a naval blockade of Cuba as soon as possible. The operation is reviewed and approved.
DAY 7: Monday, October 22
President Kennedy addresses the American public and announces his plan to implement a naval blockade of Cuba. U.S. military go into DEFCON 3.
DAY 8: Tuesday, October 23
The OAS (Organization of American States) supports the decision to quarantine Cuba. Reconnaissance photos reveal that Soviet missiles are ready for launch. McNamara, Kennedy review and discuss options of confrontation.
DAY 9: Wednesday, October 24
Soviet ships reach the quarantine line, but receive radio orders from Moscow to hold their positions. Detailed briefing on new reconnaissance photos from Cuba and discussion of the need to disperse planes at Florida bases in the event of attacks by MIGs based in Cuba. McNamara talks of a very dangerous situation since ships approaching the quarantine line are being shadowed by a Soviet submarine. U.S. military go into DEFCON 2, the highest in U.S. history to that point (penultimate step to nuclear war).
DAY 10: Thursday, October 25
U.S. Ambassador Adlai Stevenson confronts the Soviets at the U.N. but they refuse to answer. Review of the movement of ships toward the quarantine line and potential US responses.
DAY 11: Friday, October 26
EX-COMM receives a letter from Khrushchev stating that the Soviets would remove their missiles if President Kennedy publicly guarantees the U.S. will not invade Cuba. The CIA reports that the construction of the missile sites is continuing and accelerating.
DAY 12: Saturday, October 27
While one U-2 spy plane accidentally flies into Russia, while another is shot down over Cuba. EX-COMM receives a second letter from Khrushchev stating that, in addition to a public promise not to invade Cuba, the U.S. removes its missiles from Turkey.
DAY 13: Sunday, October 28
The crisis is over. In a speech aired on Radio Moscow, Khrushchev announces that he has agreed to remove the ICBM’s from Cuba.
President Kennedy continues to enforce the quarantine until a month after the removal of missiles in Cuba.