In September 1962, exactly half a century ago, events unfolded that would push the United States and the Soviet Union to the brink of nuclear war in October. Join Foreign Policy as we take a closer look at the month preceding the Cuban missile crisis.
Sept. 1, 1962
Four brigades of Soviet troops begin arriving in Cuba -- however, U.S intelligence does not confirm their presence on the island until October 25. Soviet soldiers are disguised as agricultural technicians in almost identical checkered shirts, shown above leading troops. The Soviets jokingly call the Cuban mission "Operation Checkered Shirt."
Sept. 2, 1962
The Soviet cargo ship Kimovsk leaves Sevastopol in Crimea carrying eight R-12 missiles.
Sept. 3, 1962
The U.S. State Department concludes that the surface-to-air missile sites (SAMs) in Cuba are not a threat to American territory but that a "line should be drawn at the installation of nuclear weapons."
The Soviet cargo ship Chernyakhovek leaves for Cuba from Nikolaev, Ukraine. Soviet Rocket Forces staff are on board.