Another forgotten crisis

Posted October 31, 2013 at 1:02 pm


While almost everyone knows about the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962, few people remember or know about the international crisis of October 1973. On Oct. 25, 1973, President Nixon stunned the country when he placed US forces here and abroad on an unprecedented worldwide military alert.

That October 40 years ago Friday, the Yom Kippur War between Israel and the Arab nations was winding down. But, the Soviet Union under its leader, Leonid Brezhnevm, was not quite ready to give in and let their Arab allies lose to Israel. So on the evening of Oct. 24, Brezhnev sent Nixon a terse note threatening to use Soviet troops in the Middle East and calling for, according to Time Magazine, “the complete destruction of the state of Israel.”

For several days, the two superpowers stood at the brink of war with Nixon and his Soviet counterpart each ready to push the button and launch missiles.

Finally, in late October, the two agreed to let a cease-fire run its course and let neutral nations supervise UN peacekeeping forces in the Middle East. The nuclear crisis eased.

This incident, “the Missiles of October 1973,” came at a time of great crisis in the United States. The Vice President had just resigned, the Special Prosecutor and Attorney General of the United States had been fired by the president or forced to resign, oil shipments to our country had been embargoed and their was talk of rationing and gasoline maybe hitting 50¢ a gallon. Tip O’Neill had introduced a resolution to look into the impeachment of President Nixon, whose administration was being consumed by Watergate. A lot of this is remembered by people over 50, but the crisis between the US and Soviet Union kind of gets overlooked.

Just a little history lesson you probably did not learn about in school.


David Shipp

Castro Valley CA

P.S. Just sent payment for another year of the Sun; had let my subscription lapse and don’t want to miss too many issues.