Thirteen Days; a Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis Test | Final Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. Who said, "I have participated in two wars and know that war ends when it has rolled through cities and villages, everywhere sowing death and destruction" (67)?

2. What "committed American ground forces to what has become the longest war in our history" (102)?

3. What was different about the letter received on the morning of October 27th from the letter received October 26th?

4. What feeling does Robert believe Congress and the country is turning to but should not?

5. What is the crisis a microcosm for according to the authors of the Afterword?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does an official from the Soviet Embassy deliver a message in an unorthodox manner? Why is it thought to be credible? What was the message?

2. Why did JFK choose the Marucla for the first vessel to be boarded?

3. What did the letter received October 23rd from Khrushchev imply about the U.S. and the repercussions the U.S. may expect?

4. How was the official letter sent by the Soviets on October 27th different from the letter sent October 26th?

5. In the letter drafted by Robert and Sorenson in response to Khrushchev's letter received October 26th, what is the "first ingredient" (79) to a peaceful arrangement? Why?

6. What is JFK referencing when he says that "we are now in an entirely new ball game" (74)? What has changed?

7. What is one example Robert provides of a devil's advocate working?

8. When the crisis was over, why did Kennedy not make a statement assigning credit for the success? And why did he instruct all involved not to provide one either?

9. What does Robert mean when he says "that with respect to nuclear war there is an awesome crack between unlikelihood and impossibility" (105)?

10. In the letter received October 26th, what does Khrushchev claim is the reason he sent weapons to Cuba?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Because of Khrushchev's clandestine behavior and known desire to take over Berlin, a comparison is made between him and Hitler. In an essay, compare and contrast Khrushchev and Hitler. In what key ways are they different? Focus on the events in Cuba and Munich.

Essay Topic 2

The importance of risk as a theme cannot be overlooked in Thirteen Days. With the stakes high for action or inaction, every decision is a risk. In an essay, develop an argument either for or against taking risks in political situations. Identify JFK's attitude toward risk as well as one of his opponents. Conclude with an analysis of risk and the possible repercussions.

Essay Topic 3

Robert Kennedy believed that there were many lessons to be learned from the Cuban Missile Crisis. Identify three lessons that were learned from this incident and describe them in detail in an essay.

(see the answer keys)

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