Anatomy of a Crisis

  • Nigel Forward


The two crises that have been subjected to the most intensive analysis by theorists are the outbreak of the First World War in the summer of 1914 and the Cuba missile crisis of October 1962. For my anatomy lesson I shall take the Cuba crisis because it was fast-moving, recent and short. The chapter is open to criticism from purists both of science and history: by scientists because I am taking ‘events’ in the everyday sense without going out of my way to seek ‘objective data’; by historians because I have not sifted the published material in any serious way but have uncritically accepted the versions that happened to be at hand (Pachter, 1963; Abel, 1966; Hilsman, 1967; Robert Kennedy, 1969). However, the aim is not to find out something new about the Cuba crisis, but to throw light on the problems of analysing a crisis — just as the medical student dissects the corpse not to find out what is wrong with it but to learn dissection. We are students, not pathologists, in this case.


Security Council Executive Committee Ballistic Missile Open Border Political Advantage 
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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nigel Forward

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