Early in 2013, tensions between North and South Korea almost reached a head, with the United States’ almost becoming involved. That moment left many wondering if the world was once again on the brink of war. Thankfully that didn’t happen. There is an irony to this as not long before the buildup in the Koreas happened, PBS released a documentary about another moment of human history in which the world also nearly reached all out war. That moment was the now infamous Cuban Missile Crisis. And now thanks to Cuban Missile Crisis: Three Men Go To War, a new generation can hopefully learn from the past and keep a moment such as this (or another situation such as with the Koreas) from happening again.
Cuban Missile Crisis: Three Men Go to War is more proof of the value of public broadcasting. This near hour long documentary is an unbiased look at the political tensions of the time and how they almost led the “Doomsday Clock” to strike midnight. The documentary presents the building tensions through interviews with those that were very closely connected to everything that happened. Most interesting is that among those interviewed for the documentary is the son of Nikita Khrushchev, Sergei. What makes his inclusion in the program important is that it offers a new perspective on this truly important moment in history. His commentary shows that the feeling of the then U.S.S.R. being the bad guy went the other way. The feeling in Russia was much the same about the U.S. Interestingly enough, this came right around the time that the space race had started, too. Tensions between the two nations were already high as is because of this. So add in talks of military buildup, and tensions increase even more.
The commentary on the part of Sergei Khrushchev is just one commentary that makes this documentary so interesting. Other academics and high ranking military officials are also interviewed for the program, adding to the program’s interest. The commentaries combine with the actual audio footage of then President Kennedy discussing with his advisors, a plan of action concerning how to react to actions by Cuba and the Soviets make the feature all the more hard hitting. Also added in to the feature is footage of events directly tied to the crisis. This footage will take viewers back to this pivotal moment in which two of the world’s went toe to toe. The footage, the audio recordings, and the interviews all come together to make this documentary a piece that is a very good fit for any high school and even introductory level college history class. It’s just as enjoyable for any history buff that wants a brief overview of this important period in history. It is available now and can be ordered online from the PBS online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=15506546&cp=&kw=cuban+missile+crisis+three+men+go+to+war&origkw=Cuban+Missile+Crisis+Three+Men+go+To+War&sr=1.
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