Small Island, Big Shadow: Cuba and the US
Fifty years ago this week, a U.S. military jet photographed strategic nuclear missiles that had been installed by the Soviets in Cuba. Over the next 13 days, the world watched with white knuckles, wondering if the Cold War was about to turn very, very hot.
In this episode, we consider the outsized influence that Cuba has had throughout American history. Over the course of the hour, the History Guys consider several major episodes in US-Cuba relations, including the filibustering expeditions of the 19th century, the Spanish-American War of 1898, the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, and the Mariel Boatlift of 1980. In each case, they learn that the episode’s standard storyline gets a whole lot more interesting if you dial its starting point back in time.
- James Blight, Balsillie School of International Affairs
- Julio Capo, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
- Kristin Hoganson, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
- Ned Sublette, author and musician
Resources galore! Explore a list of outside sources compiled by the BackStory team to provide a more complete picture of the history behind U.S.-Cuba relations, and peruse a bibliography of works consulted in the making of this show.
Listen to individual show segments.
Read the listener comments that helped shape this episode.