Episode 2: A Pretty Bad Fix

October 18, 2022

In the first few days of the Cuban Missile Crisis, President Kennedy and his advisors faced an extremely difficult choice on whether to attack Cuba, and how to do it without engulfing the world in a nuclear war.

In this episode, you’ll hear some of the conversations from the top secret meetings between Kennedy and his advisors as he considered his options. Meanwhile, the President would have to act in public as if nothing is going on to keep the Soviets from finding out what he knew until they were ready to make a decision. With the public still unaware, the President would face several challenges – including opposition from his top military advisors – as he decided what to do next.

Featuring interviews with Michael Dobbs, Max Hastings, Fredrik Logevall, Tom Nichols, and Serhii Plokhy.

View the transcript from this episode.

From the JFK Library Archives

View documents and photographs referenced in this episode.

Oral history interview with Robert I. Bouck #1, June 25, 1976

From the JFK Library

JFK Library Forum: Thirteen Days: An Insider's Perspective, October 1, 2002 (via C-SPAN)

JFK Library Forum: The Cuban Missile Crisis and the Media, October 28, 2002 (via GBH Forum Network)

Additional Material

Miller Center: Meeting on the Cuban Missile Crisis, October 16, 1962, 11:50 am

Miller Center: Meeting on the Cuban Missile Crisis, October 16, 1962, 6:30 pm

Miller Center: Meeting on the Cuban Missile Crisis, 18 October 18, 1962, 11:10 am

Miller Center: Meeting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the Cuban Missile Crisis, October 19, 1962, 9:45 am

See full source list for this series.


Hosts and producers: Matt Porter and Jamie Richardson

Co-producer: Rick King

Supervisory Producer: Valerie Linson

Research Assistants: Sara Laroussi and Megan McKee

Independent Fact Checker: Ben Schafer

Thank you to The Miller Center at the University of Virginia for providing the White House tapes used in this series.

Thank you to JFK Library archives staff for assistance with researching and digitizing additional material.

Special thank you to Ambassador Caroline Kennedy for permission to use the audio from Jacqueline Kennedy’s 1964 oral history interview.

Podcast Art: Brian Kang

Music: Premium Beat by Shutterstock