New Media Brings Cuban Missile Crisis to Life

For Immediate Release: October 16, 2012 
Further information: Megan Piccirillo (617) 514-1665, 

Boston, MA –The 50th Anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the 13 days that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war, is being marked with several new, interactive and online activities and programs aimed at reaching a younger audience, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library announced today. 

October 16, 2012 marks the first day of the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, one of the most perilous moments in American history, and certainly the greatest test of John F. Kennedy’s presidency. For 13 days in October 1962, a confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union brought the world to the brink of nuclear destruction. As the world waited – and hoped – for a peaceful resolution to the Cuban Missile Crisis, President Kennedy and his advisors negotiated with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev to craft a diplomatic resolution for the removal of Soviet intercontinental missiles from Cuba. 

Clouds Over Cuba: An Interactive Documentary 
On Tuesday, October 16 at 8:00am ET– exactly 50 years after Soviet missiles were discovered in Cuba – the JFK Library will launch the interactive website allowing audiences around the world to experience an immersive documentary that depicts the full story of the Cuban Missile Crisis in riveting detail. Narrated by actor Matthew Modine, this interactive documentary also lets users import recordings of the secret ExComm meetings, letters between JFK and Khrushchev, and other material into their iCal and Google calendars with one click, enabling them to "attend" the meetings and receive the communications live over the 13 days. 

Clouds Over Cuba also gives viewers the option to access a frightening short film that takes place in an alternate 2012 in which the Cuban Missile Crisis escalated into nuclear war 50 years earlier. Finally, visitors to the site can explore 15 related events in greater depth via expert interviews by Sheldon M. Stern, former historian at the JFK Presidential Library and Cuban Missile Crisis historian, and Sergei Khrushchev, son of Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev. As the documentary unfolds, dozens of archival photos, videos, documents and audio recordings are automatically added to a digital dossier for the visitor to further review. Clouds Over Cuba was created in partnership with the Martin Agency and Tool of North America. 

@JFK 1962 Live Tweets the Cuban Missile Crisis 
Starting October 16, 2012, the JFK Library will live tweet the 13 days of the Cuban Missile Crisis from their historical Twitter account @JFK1962. The account will allow a new generation to understand one of the most trying times in American history, and to offer a realistic perspective of the fear and danger felt by President Kennedy, his advisors and the American people. In an effort to make the account as historically accurate as possible, @JFK1962 has borrowed largely from the secret EXCOMM tapes and declassified material to portray the most accurate representation of life during those perilous two weeks. Started in 2010 with President Kennedy’s 1960 campaign, this social media project has used news clips, material from the Library archives, and JFK’s own words to retell the 1,000 days of President Kennedy’s administration from his own viewpoint. Visit  to start following the 13 days of the Cuban Missile Crisis and the final 12 months of the Kennedy administration. 

“To The Brink: JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis” Exhibit at the National Archives 
Opened on October 12, 2012, “To the Brink: JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis” uses the secretly recorded White House tapes of President Kennedy to form the centerpiece of this major exhibit marking the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Visitors listen in as President Kennedy and his advisers work furiously to avert a nuclear war and solve the crisis through strategic diplomacy. Original documents, artifacts, and photographs complement the tapes, breathing humanity into this milestone 20th century event. 

“To the Brink” runs from October 12, 2012, through February 4, 2013, in the Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery of the National Archives Building in Washington D.C. “To the Brink” then travels to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, where it opens April 12, 2013 and runs through November 11, 2013. 

“To the Brink” Cuban Missile Crisis App for iPhones and iPads 
As the lead sponsor of the exhibit, AT&T has worked with the National Archives and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum to create a free mobile app based on the “To the Brink” exhibit currently on display at the National Archives. The "To the Brink" app brings the National Archives and JFK Library and Museum exhibit to iPads and contains many of the same photographs, documents, and recordings found in the exhibit — allowing people unable to visit the exhibit a chance to experience one of the most extraordinary moments in American history. Zoom in on President Kennedy’s notes, read the actual classified memos, and listen to President Kennedy’s words as he alerts the nation to the crisis in Cuba. Download the free app at iTunes or at

Picasso Painting Inspired by Cuban Missile Crisis on Display through January 6, 2013 
Inspired by the Cuban Missile Crisis, Pablo Picasso’s larger-than-life masterpiece, Rape of the Sabine Women (1963), is now on loan from the Museum of Fine Arts through January 6, 2012. In a televised address on October 22, 1962, President John F. Kennedy disclosed to the world the discovery of Soviet missiles armed with nuclear warheads in Cuba, announcing an American blockade to intercept vessels from Soviet bloc countries bound for Cuba. Upon hearing the news of the American-Soviet standoff, Picasso painted a series of pictures, inspired by Poussin and David, which respond to the Cuban Missile Crisis. Likely intended as a criticism of President Kennedy’s policy decisions in Cuba, Rape of the Sabine Women’s classical subject and allusions to earlier masterpieces also allow it to carry a more universal message—an outcry against war itself as senseless and destructive. 

Conference of Nation’s Leading Cuban Missile Crisis Historians 
On Sunday, October 14, the Kennedy Presidential Library hosted a major symposium that drew more than 300 visitors to hear historians, scholars, journalists, and descendants of world leaders reflect on the Cuban Missile Crisis. Sergei Khrushchev, Brown University Senior Fellow and son of Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, and Jack Schlossberg, President Kennedy’s grandson, and son of Caroline Kennedy and Edwin Schlossberg, met for the first time at the symposium, five decades after President Kennedy and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev began their precarious two week confrontation. The conference featured United States Archivist David Ferriero, former Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns, and some of the world’s most notable Cuban Missile Crisis scholars, including historian Sheldon Stern, Graham Allison, Tim Naftali, and Brian Lattell, a former CIA officer to Latin America. After reflecting on the Soviet perspective, Dr. Khrushchev highlighted the clear winners of the crisis, stating, “We [both countries] won this crisis because we can sit here and discuss it after 50 years.” 

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is administered by the National Archives and Records Administration and supported, in part, by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, a non-profit organization. The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum and the Kennedy Library Foundation seek to promote, through scholarship, educational and community programs; a greater appreciation and understanding of American politics, history, and culture; the process of governing and the importance of public service.