After the failed U.S. attempt to overthrow the Castro regime in Cuba with the Bay of Pigs invasion, and while the US President Kennedy administration planned Operation Mongoose, in July 1962 Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev reached a secret agreement with Cuban premier Fidel Castro to place Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba to deter any invasion attempt. On October 14 a U.S. U–2 aircraft took pictures clearly showing sites for nuclear missiles under construction in Cuba. On October 22, Kennedy ordered a naval “quarantine” of Cuba. That same day, Kennedy sent a letter to Khrushchev declaring that the United States would not permit offensive weapons to be delivered to Cuba, and demanded that the Soviets dismantle the missile bases, and return all offensive weapons to the U.S.S.R. The Joint Chiefs of Staff announced a military readiness status and naval forces accelerated plans for a military strike on Cuba.
On October 24, Khrushchev responded to Kennedy’s message with a statement that the U.S. “blockade” was an “act of aggression”. Nevertheless, during October 24 and 25, some ships turned back from the quarantine line. Khrushchev sent Kennedy a message on October 26 for truce. The next day, October 27, Khrushchev sent another message indicating that any proposed deal must include the removal of U.S. Jupiter missiles from Turkey. That same day a U.S. U–2 reconnaissance jet was shot down over Cuba. That night, Kennedy set forth in his message to the Soviet leader proposed steps for the removal of Soviet missiles from Cuba under supervision of the United Nations, and a guarantee that the United States would not attack Cuba. Attorney General Robert Kennedy then met secretly with Soviet Ambassador, Anatoly Dobrynin, and indicated that the United States was planning to remove the Jupiter missiles from Turkey anyway, but this could not be part of any public resolution. On 28th, Khrushchev issued a public statement that Soviet missiles would be dismantled and removed from Cuba. The crisis was over but the naval quarantine continued until the Soviets agreed to remove their IL–28 bombers from Cuba and, on November 20, 1962, the United States ended its quarantine. U.S. Jupiter missiles were removed from Turkey in April 1963.
Norma Jean Mortenson took up modeling in 1944 while she was 18. In 1946, she signed a short-term contract with 20th Century Fox, taking as her screen name Marilyn Monroe (derived from her mother’s family name Monroe and Marilyn, a musical performer of 20s). She had a few bit parts and then returned to modeling, famously posing nude for a calendar in 1949. She began to attract attention as an actress in 1950 after appearing in minor roles in the The Asphalt Jungle and All About Eve. Her acting career took off in the early 1950s with performances in Love Nest (1951), Monkey Business (1952), and Niagara (1953). Celebrated for her voluptuousness and wide-eyed charm, she won international fame for her sex-symbol roles in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), How to Marry a Millionaire (1953), and There’s No Business Like Show Business (1954). The Seven-Year Itch (1955) showcased her comedic talents and features the classic scene where she stands over a subway grating and has her white skirt billowed up by the wind from a passing train.
In 1955, she gave a strong performance as a hapless entertainer in Bus Stop (1956). She made The Prince and the Showgirl–a critical and commercial failure–with Laurence Olivier in 1957 but in 1959 gave an acclaimed performance in the hit comedy Some Like It Hot. Her last role, in The Misfits (1961), was directed by John Huston and written by Miller, whom she divorced just one week before the film’s opening. There have been a number of conspiracy theories about her death, most of which contend that she was murdered by John and/or Robert Kennedy, with whom she allegedly had love affairs. These theories claim that the Kennedys killed her (or had her killed) because they feared she would make public their love affairs and other government secrets she was gathering. Two decades after the fact, Monroe’s housekeeper, Eunice Murray, announced for the first time that the attorney general had visited Marilyn on the night of her death and quarreled with her, but the reliability of these and other statements made by Murray are questionable. An autopsy found a fatal amount of sedatives in her system, and her death was ruled probable suicide.