The Cuban Missile Crisis, also known as the October Crisis of 1962, the Caribbean Crisis, or the Missile Scare, was a 1 month, 4 day confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union which escalated into an international crisis when American deployments of missiles in Italy and Turkey were matched by Soviet deployments of similar ballistic missiles in Cuba. The confrontation is often considered the closest the Cold War came to escalating into a full-scale nuclear war.
In response to the presence of American Jupiter ballistic missiles in Italy and Turkey, and the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion of 1961, Soviet First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev agreed to Cuba's request to place nuclear missiles on the island to deter a future invasion. An agreement was reached during a secret meeting between Khrushchev and Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro in July 1962, and construction of a number of missile launch facilities started later that summer.
Meanwhile, the 1962 United States elections were under way, and the White House denied charges for months that it was ignoring dangerous Soviet missiles 90 mi from Florida.