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Cuban missile crisis: From the brink of nuclear war

'It was the first time ever when humanity had the capacity to destroy itself'

Last Updated: Oct. 23, 2012

Fifty years ago this month, the world was on the brink of nuclear war.

"The Cuban missile crisis was the most dangerous event in human history," begins The Cuban Missile Crisis: a Concise History, co-authored by David Welch.

Welch, a University of Waterloo political science professor, helps tell the story of the 1962 crisis and its lessons, in this exclusive online video.

You can play and pause the video with the slider, and watch the different sections by clicking the icons on the left. As the video plays, you’ll see extra content displayed in this box that will supplement or highlight the video material.

On Oct. 28, 1962, the standoff came to an end as the Soviet Union agreed to pull its missiles out of Cuba in exchange for a U.S. pledge not to invade the island. The Americans also agreed, as part of a secret deal, to dismantle their missile bases in Turkey at a later date.

The crisis brought about the creation of the "hotline" between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, allowing for direct and instant communication during a crisis. The 13 days in October 1962 was the closest the world has come to nuclear war.

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Producers: Janet Thomson, Manmeet Ahluwalia and Ruby Buiza | Developed by Michael Pereira and Kerry Wall

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