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Website of the Week

Website of the Week Archive

Jan. 15, 2001

The Real Thirteen Days: The Hidden History of the Cuban Missile Crisis, 

The National Security Archive, an independent organization that collects declassified government documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, has assembled a fascinating array of original documents, photos, and audio recordings on the Cuban Missile Crisis. 

Listed here are examples of the material found at this site:

  • “National Security Action Memorandum No. 181,” Presidential Directive on actions and studies in response to new Soviet Bloc Activity in Cuba, August 23, 1962.
  • “Radio-TV Address of the President to the Nation from the White House,” October 22, 1962.
  • Prime Minister Fidel Castro’s letter to Premier Khrushchev, October 26, 1962.
  • President Kennedy’s letter to Premier Khrushchev, responding to proposal to end the crisis, October 27, 1962.
  • Premier Khrushcehv’s letter to Prime Minister Castro, informing him of a deal to withdraw the missiles, October 28, 1962.
  • White House, “Post Mortem on Cuba,” October 29, 1962.
  • Photographs of Soviet missile installations and antiaircraft guns taken by U-2 spy planes in October 1962.

If you have seen the Kevin Costner movie, Thirteen Days, you'll be interested in this material. By the way, movie's website is

Related Websites and Resources

  • The John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library and Museum,, includes numerous audio recordings and original documents. Select the "History Day Resources" link from the homepage or use the "Search" feature to look for documents relating to the Cuban Missile Crisis.
  • The Avalon Project at the Yale Law School presents documents found in Foreign Relations of the United States: 1961-1963, the Cuban Missile Crisis and Aftermath
  • The Law Library's copy of the Foreign Relations of the United States series is found under call number JX233.A3 in the Classified Stacks. The volumes for 1961-63 are available in microfiche.
  • Also in the Law Library's collection are the following books:
    • Thirteen Days: A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis, by Robert F. Kennedy with introductions by Robert S. McNamara and Harold Macmillan, 1969. E183.8.R9K42 at Classified Stacks.
    • The Cuban Missile Crisis, by Abram Chayes, 1974. E841.C48 at Classified Stacks.
  • Other books on the Cuban Missile Crisis that are available at other UW Libraries include:
    • National Trauma and Collective Memory: Major Events in the American Century, by Arthur G. Neal, 1998.
    • Missiles in Cuba: Kennedy, Khrushchev, Castro, and the 1962 Crisis, by Mark J. White, 1997.
    • One Hell of a Gamble: Khrushchev, Castro, and Kennedy, 1958-1964, by Aleksandr Fursenko and Timothy Naftali, 1997.
    • The Kennedy Tapes: Inside the White House During the Cuban Missile Crisis, edited by Ernest R. May and Philip D. Zelikow, 1997.
    • For more books on the subject, search the UW Libraries Catalog,, with keywords "cuban missile crisis". 


©2008, M.G. Gallagher Law Library, University of Washington