In August, Formula One rests, the soccer championship begins later this month, even the bar talk about the changing climate leaves time for rest, leisure and boredom. Usually, this month there were major crises: from the invasion of Czechoslovakia (1968) to the coup in Moscow (1991), from the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact (1938) to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait (1990), to the brawl among the wives Di Maio and Salvini.
With a little creativity and a lot of nerve, we give readers the chance to draw the course of history in their own way. Today, we speak (with poetic license) of the crisis in Cuba, imagining that the USSR of Khrushchev intends to force the American bloc ...
Sergio Pession: an unknown hero
The Oval Office is now empty to remove a babble of voices and ideas from the head. And in a moment like this, the mind should be very lucid. Chruščëv is a gangster, not a head of state, and the only language that understands these figures, is strength.
Has democracy, which made this country great, now become a hostage for that Soviet bully? What forces you to make an undecided JFK? Choose between the use of force and diplomacy. Vigor and nuclear in the first, or weakness and peace in the second. No. Chruščëv should be considered as a kidnapper pointing the gun at the head of a hostage and making demands and demands.
If we treat today with criminals, others will come later. Therefore we cannot accept further provocations, especially after the personal messages full of lies. But we can't even shoot the hostage ... or yes?
JFK, in the silence of the Oval Office, makes a final decision, in the hope that the US is actually ahead of the USSR in the missile sector, but the moral integrity of the US in the face of the world should not have been questioned. From there the events take a different turn.
Secretly transferring the presidential entourage to a secret safe location, while accredited journalists should have continued to stage interviews in the Oval Office. A US airliner with a government diplomat would shortly be diverted to Cuba by alleged Russian secret agents. Cuba will deny and tear down the device, triggering dismay all over the world. Arming of newspapers in Turkey, and delay of those in Italy due to pressure from the Vatican.
B52 ready for takeoff and nuclear weapon loads are alerted globally. The quarantine on Cuba is renamed "Active Quarantine", a ridiculous but effective ploy to legitimize the recruitment of Russian ships.
The Soviet submarine B-59 class Foxtrot escort, devoid of orders from Moscow and under attack by the USS Randolph aircraft carrier and escort destroyer, is preparing for a desperate reaction. Captain Savitsky and the political officer are already ready to launch the nuclear torpedo against the US fleet, but the second in command Vasilij Arkhipov is strenuously opposed to the act that would have triggered World War III, despite as far as they knew, he could already to be started. Arkhipov is about to convince the captain to withdraw the order of attack, but the political officer orders the arrest of the second by treason. The result is a violent clash between the crew members loyal to their "war hero" Arkhipov and those who execute the orders of the politician.
Meanwhile, a US destroyer hits the B-59; the armed warhead detonates by wiping out a large part of the US fleet and putting the equipment of the USS Randolph out of action. It is the signal that the World War has begun and the B52 bombers are ordered the First Strike, but surprisingly, the message from Chruščëv arrives: the fleet would have reversed course and the missiles in Cuba would have been disarmed and dismantled.
While in Cuba, between Russian and Cuban forces, chaos and violence spread, the US finally unveils the great Soviet bluff by demonstrating to the whole world that it is the only real nuclear superpower. With the USSR on the brink of a new internal war, US domination will become less media and veiled and decidedly more obvious.
The allies will become vassals and without the enemy of all time, what will become of the paladin of the world? Surely it will be a more sinister world even if only for the absence in the firmament of a forgotten hero, "a guy named Vasilij Aleksandrovič Archipov" and a dark Kennedy he would have received in Dallas, less applause for the victory in Vietnam, but even less bullets.
David Rossi: a three-man match
Friday 26 October 1962 ...
In Moscow, Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko is having breakfast with Vladimir Semichastny, president of the State Security Committee (KGB). Neither of them has a big appetite: they want to send down little fritters made of sour ricotta with a little fruit compote.
A member of the Politburo's inner circle, Gromiko drops the falling fork which makes an annoying sound: "How is it possible that the first party secretary, Nikita Sergeevic Chruščëv, did not receive from the KGB this very certain information, he said, of the fact that the Americans have fallen behind in the production of nuclear weapons due, again, according to him, to a series of accidents caused by our ...? Above all, how is it possible for our agents to have carried out actions of which neither you nor your predecessor and mentor Nikolayevich Shelepin were aware?
Semichastny shook his head, then sighed: "They could be agents linked to Pavlovich Beria, who want to take revenge for eliminating them, some even physically, not even eight years ago ... Today, I can assure you that none of them is on duty anymore. At least, not for us ... "
Gromyko spoke again: "But then, how would they reach Sergeevic and how they would gain the trust?"
In the oval studio the brothers John and Robert Kennedy were, just in those hours, arguing heatedly over two warm Irish beers.
"Did you turn off the recorders?"
"Bob, don't you trust me?"
"I don't trust my shadow. Especially thinking about the big shot that we are pulling ... "
"Old Joe knows his stuff, even if he is mute and semi-paralyzed ..."
"Yes, however, father must not put his face in front of history. If everything goes as it should, the credit will be ours ... "
"So, for a quarter of a century all presidents will be Kennedys ..."
"This damn ambition! But you realize that if it goes wrong ... "
"It won't go wrong, trust me. We have provided 16 millions of tons of materials to save those Communists' asses ... and then they have made war on a global scale. But luckily we made friends at the time of the Arctic route and the Persian corridor ... "
"Call them friends! They are all ex-Stalinists pissed off for the end that made their idol ... "
"Stalinists? Jokes? They converted soon: they made the trial of that great swine of Beria just to ward off suspicions ... "
"But now they have brought us to the brink of the Third World War. And if it was all a KGB plan for ... "
"For what? To be annihilated? Soon, I will give the order to send our B52 to release a rain of fire in some areas of the Arctic Sea, off Vladivostok and the Caspian Sea. Do you know what inspired sermons Pope John XXIII will do in Rome? "
"You blaspheme ... And you really play with fire!"
"You are wrong. I am being served on a silver platter the justification for a unique showdown in history: the Soviets will see more intercontinental ballistic missiles than they possess at the edge of their territory: within a few days, they will take their group out of the way manager and they will ask us for peace, also because we will make them believe that they have fired a small part of our strategic arsenal ... In fact, to think of it I think they will make their own skin in Chruščëv! "
"But if those guys in Cuba didn't do their duty and ..."
"The missiles in Cuba are not armed. Castro was a man of ours and he will return to be "
"I wouldn't be so sure of Castro. But on the missiles maybe you're right ... "
Not far from Sochi, in a Dacia immersed in the fog of the beginning of the Russian winter, Georgy Zhukov slowly sipped tea while conversing with his wife Galina. He passes the gold medals of Hero of the Soviet Union in his hands and observes a photo of the twentieth congress of the CPSU which he cut out from a newspaper.
"Gosha, I'm not just your wife but also a doctor. I think this story will not do any good to your heart's health and that ... "
"Shut up! If the voices that reach me are correct, I will soon be called to an important mission for the country as much as the Great Patriotic War. It is not just a matter of taking the lead: indeed, if I find someone capable and honest, I will do without it ... "
Bending over his memoirs, he never stops talking with another interlocutor, sitting with him and his wife: "And to think that those good patriots to become accredited with the Americans and play our game even pretended to be ex-Stalinists. Who knows how President Kennedy will be astonished when he finds out that his showdown has only served to get rid of Chruščëv, those party parasites and a good third of the Yankee's strategic arsenal! "
Sitting in the shadows, the other man listens to him, patiently peeling an apple with a knife with a faint blade. At one point, he raises his knife and vibrates in the air: "Here is our strategy: placing medium-range ballistic missiles in Cuba. It could only be the idea of an imbecile like Chruščëv. A blade that does not cut the apple, that is the safety of the Americans. They will be the ones to cut off their heads from Sergeevic ... to the party ... and to cut the first slice of the apple for us ... "
"Tell me a little: did you believe your report on the state of strategic weapons in the United States and Cuba? To the story of our undercover agents ...? "
"Yup. It was more difficult to convince Semichastny and Shelepin to keep the sack ... "
"Are we certain that Americans will not hit Soviet territory?"
"Yup. They love the shows: after all, for them even the two atomic bombs on Japan were a show to convince the Rising Sun to surrender. So much so that they didn't have any more ready and if the Japanese didn't ask for the surrender ... they would be in trouble! I just hope they use more than a third of the arsenal available ... "
Galina thoughtfully pours more tea for her husband and then addresses the guest: "Marshal Malinovski, what can I offer you?" "Well, if you believe in God, a prayer for Russia. If you don't believe it, the same!
Elio Di Croce: the sound of victory
Bad time for the president. Not long ago, Marilyn Monroe had died and the effort to silence the more or less well-founded malignant rumors about their relationship had been exhausting. Now, still Cuba, after the fool of the Bay of Pigs. The CIA photos showed a deployment of launch pads and now a naval convoy, with missiles aboard approaching. It was thought to bomb the island. Mc Cone, Le May and Taylor were on this line, while O'Donnell, Mc Namara and Robert were against. Hoover, from the "Bureau", backed hawks and coveted all the red filmmakers, actors, writers and artists who at a time like this could do defeatism. He knew who they were and for some he had proof; for the others ... he would have made them do it. Instead the naval blockade was decided, less dangerous, but it was a tampon.
And if the Russian ships and especially the submarines force the blockade by firing, how do you behave? Le May has sent twenty-five B-58 to England: from there to Moscow is short. The NORAD is in DEFCON 2 and ensures that they will shoot down every enemy bomber with everything they have, even spit if necessary. The problem is the missiles: too fast, unreachable. The CIA reports that they are few and inaccurate, but how can you be sure after Sputnik and Gagarin?
The news of a hit U2 arrives, at this point we can no longer remain idle. All the tactical scouts are sent openly over the island and the Navy places its boats between this and the incoming convoy: a warning.
It is not enough. The Neptune in flight warn that the Russians do not stop at all.
We need ideas.
A Marine announces a request for a hearing from two officers of the aerotactic command, Major Olds and Captain Boyd. Le May barks: "I don't want two flying fools between my feet! I spend my time throwing bombs at jars, like at village fairs".
"GENERAL!" - replica Robert exasperated. - "We feel the idea, maybe it works" - adds McNamara. The idea is a "sound bombardment": to send all the supersonic aircraft to fly over the convoy and the island at low altitude, flying over Mach1. The shock waves would cause damage to the vehicles and ... to the eardrums. It is hoped that the resulting shock may have the desired outcome. "OK, let's try this too" - says Taylor - "let's call it Operation Thunderstorm".
At nightfall, F8, F101, Vigilante and F105 all take off together, unarmed and with the fuel strictly necessary, so as to spin as fast as possible. The effect of repeated supersonic passages is shocking. On the ships of the convoy antennas and smokestacks come apart, many men scream in pain covering their ears.
You can no longer browse regularly. Some boats collide. Several missiles are released and sink. As the sun rises the "music" continues and the Russian captains, startled, open the formation, dispersing. The submarine commanders are disoriented. The Neptune and the destroyers blow a swarm of depth charges into the water a mile ahead of them. In Cuba, several MiGs are smashed to the ground, crushed by shock waves. It is done, the Soviets reverse course. Thanks to two flying fliers.