Although studies of the Cuban missile crisis abound, the story “from below” of those fateful days of October 1962 remains largely to be written. This is particularly true for the Soviet side. Little is known about the way the Soviet population, and particularly youth, the prime category for propaganda, perceived what is widely regarded as the most dangerous crisis of the Cold War. Youth were indeed the target of a massive mobilization campaign, but one that was ridden with many shortcomings, or, using the musical metaphor, dissonances. The propaganda machine (mainly the press but also radio and film) had been cultivating anti-Americanism and solidarity with the Cuban people for quite some time, but when the crisis suddenly arose, many “choir members” were unable to modulate their voice to the right key, if there ever was one. Secrecy and improvisation in the Communist Party’s highest organs, coupled with the trauma of World War II, bore the fruits of inertia, formalism, pacifism, and above all, embarrassed silence, eventually contributing to an extreme and often ambivalent palette of reactions.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.