The Cuban Missile Crisis was perhaps the closest the world has ever come to all-out nuclear war, and it all started with a photo.
On October 15, 1962, Dino Brugioni, a senior analyst at the US’s newly formed National Photographic Interpretation Center, identified missile trailers measuring approximately 65 feet in length in an aerial reconnaissance photo. Those trailers were a match for the Soviet SS-4, a medium-range ballistic missile that could reach a huge amount of the United States, including Washington, DC.
Upon seeing this photo, US President John F. Kennedy ordered more aerial recon flights, conducted by the CIA using a high-altitude U-2 spy plane. Kennedy used these photographs to make a plan of action about confronting the Soviet Union over their secretive installation of offensive missiles in Cuba.
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