How JFK Almost Caused World War 3 | Adam Ruins Everything

(upbeat music) – [Narrator] During the
Cuban Missile Crisis, our young, handsome
President Kennedy, along with his advisors, acted
quickly and decisively in the face of clear Soviet aggression. – These missiles in Cuba
change the balance or power so significantly that
we only have one option. War! – This is an unprovoked act of aggression. – Gentlemen, I will not
start World War Three. We will look Khrushchev
right in the eye and make him understand that we will never give in. – Yes, this is the version
JFK’s supporters told us, but it’s an extremely misleading account. For one, the US caused the
crisis, not the Soviets. – [Narrator] Come on,
you nagging no goodnik. How could you say that when
the Soviets put missiles in Cuba, pointing right at the US? – Because the US had just
put missiles in Turkey, pointing right at the Soviets. (subtle dramatic music) – Sweet salty caviar! What is that? – In 1961, JFK gave an order
to put 15 nuclear tipped Jupiter missiles on the Turkish border. Khrushchev was furious. – Put missiles in Cuba. Is only fair. Let’s give them taste
of their own borscht. Nuclear borscht. – [Narrator] Hold on grown
up Jonathan Lipnicki. You mean to tell me that the US started it?
– Yep. In fact, Kennedy’s advisors
later realized just how provocative their actions were. – Yeah, I take back what
I said earlier, Jack. We should have seen
this coming a mile away. – But surprisingly, these
tit for tat moves actually did little to shift the balance of power. – It’s okay, Bob. At least we still have way
more nukes than they do. – [Narrator] What? We were
in a nuclear arms race. I thought we were neck
in neck with the Soviets. – Hardly. In 1960, the US had over
18,000 nuclear weapons, while the Soviets only had 1,600. That’s more than a 10 to one advantage. (groans) – Maybe we need to get a storage unit. – [Narrator] Okay, factee
McGee, then why did JFK make such a big deal out of this? Why was it even a crisis
in the first place? – Because, more than
anything, Kennedy was worried about looking weak. (screaming)
(crash) Kennedy felt he had to
appear tough on Communism. If it hadn’t been for that,
the Cuban Missile Crisis might never have happened. – I don’t wanna go to war,
but if we do nothing about these missiles in Cuba,
I’ll seem weaker than White House coffee. (groans) – I got it! How about a naval blockade? We stop any ship carrying weapons from entering Cuban waters. – [Narrator] Yes, the blockade. What a brilliant strategic
move by our young, disarmingly handsome president. – Not really. The blockade actually
escalated the crisis. The US had no legal right to do it. So it was technically an act of war. – A blockade! Kennedy is not (mumbles)
squirrel with mouth full of nuts! – In fact, Khrushchev
wanted nothing more than to de-escalate and end the conflict. – Fine, I will observe
Jack’s little blockade. But tell USA we will
take missiles out of Cuba when they take missiles out of Turkey. Khrushchev is reasonable man! – We can’t do that. If the public finds out
I gave in to this totally reasonable request,
they’ll think I’m a little softy baby boy. – You’re right, Jack. Let’s nuke the hell out of them. – Whoa, whoa. I will not go down in
history as the man who ended the world. Now, let’s take a potty break. Bobby, there’s only one
way out of this mess. We have to give in, but secretly. After you tinkle, here’s
what I want you to do. I want you to… (whispering) – [Narrator] JFK’s brother,
Robert Kennedy, brokered a secret deal with the
Soviets, and it would be years before anyone found out. – We will take our missiles out of Turkey, but you guys have to pinky
swear never to tell anyone. Oh, but, we’re gonna
tell the public that we kicked your ass. Cool? Okay, bye. (bright music)

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