Here is the final copy of the essay and annotated bibliography:
Stuck in Oobleck-The Cuban Missile Crisis
“You may be a mighty King, but you're sitting in oobleck up to your chin. And if you won't even say you're sorry, you're no sort of King at all,” said Bartholomew in Dr. Seuss' book Bartholomew and the Oobleck. Dr. Seuss' knowledge of human nature and the power of greed as demonstrated in the book Bartholomew and the Oobleck was so accurate that the events found in his book replicated themselves in the Cuban Missile Crisis thirteen years after the book's publication. The book Bartholomew and the Oobleck, is about the greedy and proud King Derwin who hires royal magicians to create a new weather element. The result, oobleck, falls from the sky causing a sticky mess which wrecks havoc on the Kingdom of Didd. The problem is finally resolved when the king takes responsibility for the disaster and apologizes. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, tensions between the US. and the communist countries Cuba and the Soviet Union came dangerously close to war because the Soviet Union had placed missiles on Cuba that were pointed towards the US. Each of the events in Bartholomew and the Oobleck has a parallel event in the Cuban Missile Crisis.
King Derwin of Didd is angry with the sky. He had grew tired of the four common weather elements of rain, sun, fog and snow, and desperately wants something new to prove his might as King. His resentment of the status quo was much like Fidel Castro’s outlook on Cuba’s dictatorship government. Both felt they were living in restrictive societies. In Castro’s case, his country was stuck in a totalitarian regime, and in King Derwin’s case, he feels limited living in an environment with only four weather elements (Byrne 86). The King’s anger and frustration was also similar to the strained relations the United States shared with Cuba and its leader, Fidel Castro (Finkelstein 127). The United States were very displeased when Castro replaced Cuba’s former dictatorship, which the US supported, and replaced it with his own communist government (Finkelstein 127). This caused the Americans to stop all trading with Cuba (Finkelstein 127). The US became further enraged when Castro nationalized and took control of one billion dollars worth of American property (Byrne 86). Tensions were beginning to rise in both instances.
King Derwin is not capable of creating a new weather element by himself, therefore summons a higher power in the form of his Royal Magicians to carry out the task. Fidel Castro was also forced to accept the aid of a higher power. The United States was determined to abolish Castro’s communist government, and have the country return to the dictatorship power, which the U.S favoured (Defcon 2). In response to the tension, Castro aligned Cuba with the Soviet Union, a fellow communist country (Finkelstein, 127). Both Castro's and King Derwin's acts would later lead to crisis.
The Royal Magicians do as the King demands, and create a new weather element called “oobleck”. However, unlike the other harmless elements, the oobleck would cause devastation. An event during the Cuban Missile Crisis which mirrors this is when offensive weapons were sent to Cuba by the Soviets (Finkelstein, 128). In late April of 1962 , Nikita Khrushchev decided to deploy 42 intermediate-range nuclear missiles to Cuba, an operation known in the USSR as Maskirovk (Defcon 2). Castro and King Derwin both brought in higher powers to fulfill their aspirations, but both higher powers later cause a destructive change.
In the book Bartholomew and The Oobleck, when the Oobleck arrives, it wrecks havoc on the citizens of Didd. The oobleck causes people and animals to get stuck in the sludge, without any hope of escaping. A similar situation occurred during the Cuban Missile Crisis, when the United States discovered the nuclear missiles in Cuba. When the CIA reported the existence of missiles in Cuba, President Kennedy approved U-2 reconnaissance planes to seek out the missiles and discover their exact location (Gow 56). On Sunday October 14th 1962, a U-2 plane discovered the offensive missiles in a clearing near the town San Cristobal, that were pointed in the direction of the United States (Byrne 87). When the Oobleck falls on the Kingdom of Didd, the citizens are frightened by the menacing green blobs falling from the sky and rendered powerless, just like the citizens of America.
The US tried many times to resolve their problems with Cuba and many of their attempts were futile. Bartholomew tries to warn the citizens of Didd by sounding the horn and asking the general for assistance, but the horn is covered in Oobleck and the general is too arrogant to realise that the Oobleck was a problem. One way in which the United States tried to solve the problem was by making plans to dethrone Fidel Castro (Gow 43). One such attempt was the Bay of Pig invasion in 1961 (Gow 42). President Kennedy trained Cuban exiles in Guatemala to become soldiers for the Americans (Gow 42). The CIA decided to use the seemingly less populated Bay of Pigs for the invasion ( Gow 43). However, the Bay of Pigs was one of Castro’s favourite sites and a local militia had been organized for defence (Gow 45). As ships approached the Bay of Pigs, they met resistance from an army battalion (Gow 46). As more Cuban exiles tried to invade other beaches, Castro ordered his air force to destroy ships, thus cutting off food supply for the Cuban exiles (Gow 46). Another American attempt to assassinate Fidel Castro was Operation Mongoose (Byrne 25). This operation included plans to use exploding cigarettes to kill Castro and other plans to lace his food with chemicals to make his hair fall out in an attempt to make Castro lose favour with the Cuban people (Byrne 25). In an attempt to end the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy met with the Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko to ask about the offensive missiles in Cuba and to find a peaceful solution to the crisis (Byrne 40). Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko denied that there were any offensive missiles in Cuba, unaware that the US government had proof of these missiles existing in Cuba (Byrne 40).
The American public feared the worst, and knows that the missiles could potentially reach American soil with devastating consequences. In Bartholomew and the Oobleck the citizens are worried because they do not know when the Oobleck will go away and can do nothing to help the situation. They only hope that King Derwin will correct the situation. Similarly, the American people could do nothing but have faith in Kennedy's decisions. President Kennedy was under enormous pressure to solve the crisis, and the executive Committee of the National Security Council was split in their opinions of what should be done (Gow 64). Some wanted secret air strikes over Cuba and argued that anything less drastic would present a danger to the American public (Byrne 40). Other members if the committee wanted to frighten Cuba and the Soviet Union in less violent way, and they suggested a naval blockade so that Soviet ships could not bring more weapons into Cuba (Gow 64). Kennedy opted for the naval blockade, as it had less potential to cause nuclear war (Gow 65). The blockade began on October 24th 1962, and was successful as no new weapons entered Cuba (Gow 73). However, the Soviet Union still did not answer the most important question: will you remove the missiles from Cuba? (Gow 74).
The crisis and story had both reached their climax. The story could only go two ways: to a happy oobleck-free ending or a conclusion where the kingdom either starves to death or is engulfed in oobleck. The Cuban Missile Crisis could similarly end two ways. The countries involved could reach a peaceful agreement or the crisis could result in war. Possibly a third world war and, most likely, with the help of the nuclear missiles that caused the crisis in the first place, complete destruction of cities, countries, or even the entire earth. It's at this point of the story where Bartholomew abandons his fruitless efforts to warn the people about the sticky oobleck and returns to King Derwin. Bartholomew gets angry with the king and demands an apology for the mess he's created. The king, though, is too proud to apologize for his actions. Neither Kennedy nor Khrushchev want to back down from their proud positions on the Cuban Missile Crisis either. Then, Bartholomew tells King Derwin that the least thing he can do is apologize and if he does not, he's no sort of king at all. U Thant, acting secretary general of the U.N. urges both Kennedy and Khrushchev to allow time to resolve the crisis peacefully and played vital a role in resolving the conflict (Dorn and Pauk). They agree and Kennedy tells Khrushchev that the only way out of the crisis is to remove the missiles from Cuba (Finkelstein, 80, 87).
Luckily, for the kingdom of Didd and the entire world, a deadly end is avoided. King Derwin apologizes and Khrushchev realises that Kennedy is right and writes a letter telling Kennedy that the missiles will be removed from Cuba if the US government agrees not to invade Cuba (Byrne, 88). Kennedy agrees to these terms(Byrne, 88). As soon as King Derwin apologizes, the oobleck begins to melt away. As soon as Kennedy agreed to these terms, the nuclear missiles are removed from Cuba (Byrne, 88). Twenty-seven years later the collapse of the Soviet Union marked the end of the Cold War and peace at last (Byrne 88).
The Cuban Missile Crisis and the story, Bartholomew and the Oobleck have remarkable similarities. The stories both start with a character, King Derwin and Fidel Castro, becoming frustrated with some aspect of their lives. These characters take action to remove this frustrating aspect and enlist a higher power for help. In both situations, this help they enlist causes much trouble, and causes people to get "stuck" in a sticky situation that has potential to end fatally. The fact that the book and the crisis follow a similar pattern demonstrates how well Dr. Seuss understood human nature. He understood that greed and pride can be detrimental and that sometimes apologizing is the best thing to do.
Byrne, Paul J. The Cuban Missile Crisis: To the Brink of War. Minneapolis: Compass Point Books, 2006. Print.
Byrne's book provides a good “this is the facts” overview of the whole Cuban Missile Crisis. Its length allows this book to include detailed facts about the Crisis. The book also contains a timeline that in three pages summarizes the main events leading up to, during and after the Cuban Missile Crisis.
In this book Byrne, who has a degree in history, provides a relatively unbiased tale of the Cuban Missile Crisis. His only bias is that, as he is American, he does seem to believe that the U.S. authorities were right and the Soviets wrong, but this is only seen by the way he presents his facts and doesn't interfere with the truthfulness of them. This can be seen by the pages of source notes and bibliography included in the book.
In the essay we used this source to help provide us with the main details about the Cuban Missile Crisis was useful to us as in this essay we consider the Cuban Missile as a whole so if the source had been too detailed we would have had to wade through piles of details to locate the information we needed. In this respect, The Cuban Missile Crisis: To the Brink of War was a valuable and easy to use source.
Defcon 2. Tom Clancy. Discovery Channel. October 2002. Documentary.
This source discusses the events of the Cuban Missile Crisis chronologically. This historical documentary, hosted by internationally acclaimed writer Tom Clancy, was produced by the Discovery Channel commemorating the 40th anniversary of the crisis. It goes into detail about the Soviets' plan to secretly transport and set-up missiles in Cuba, the American's discovery of the missiles, and the agreement that marked the end of the crisis. The documentary features interviews from eye-witnesses of both the US and the USSR.
This is a very reliable source because some of it's information is from first-hand interviews of people in the American and Soviet military, as well as real video and photos that were taken during the crisis. The facts shown are not twisted to fit personal opinion, but rather documented as they occurred from dependable, unfiltered primary resources.
This source was very useful in the writing of the essay. Defcon2 gave a very clear and informative time line which was especially useful to plan out the essay event by event. The timeline also helped us relate the events during the crisis to Dr. Seuss' book Bartholomew and the Oobleck. It was also very useful when looking into more specific information about the Soviet’s plan and the Americans’ discovery of the weapons.
Dorn, Walter, and Robert Pauk. “The Cuban Missile Crisis Resolved:
Untold Story of an Unsung Hero.” Ottawa Citizen. Walter Dorn, 22 Oct. 2007: A12. Web. 6 Jan. 2010.
“Untold Story of an Unsung Hero” is a newspaper article which outlines the role of U Thant the UN Secretary-General, in averting nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis. This article states that U Thant actively mediated and helped resolve the crisis. He successfully appealed to Kennedy and Khrushchev to allow time to resolve the naval blockade peacefully. In addition the article states that U Thant gave Kennedy the idea to make a plea to the Soviets: if the Americans do not invade Cuba the Soviets will remove the missiles.
This source is a reliable source as it comes from the Ottawa Citizen, a well respected newspaper. In addition the authors are well qualified to discuss military matters as Walter Dorn is a professor at the Royal Military College of Canada and Chair of the Canadian Pugwash Group and Robert Pauk is a research associate and UN peacekeeper. Some bias might be that the article is overtly enthusiastic about the role of U Thant during the crisis. This article, when compared to our other sources, does not give detailed information about the Cuban Missile Crisis as a whole. In addition, all of our other sources merely mentioned U Thant and did not go into detail about his contribution to resolving the crisis.
“The Cuban Missile Crisis Resolved: The Story of an Unsung Hero” is a helpful source as it adds to our knowledge about the Cuban Missile Crisis. This gave us a new perspective on the crisis, that the crisis was not only resolved just by Kennedy, but also by U Thant in his tireless quest for peace. We used this source in our essay to explain the contributions of U Thant and Kennedy that helped resolve the conflict.
Finkelstein, Norman H. Thirteen Days/Ninety Miles: The Cuban Missile Crisis. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994. Print.
This novel provides the story of the Cuban Missile Crisis as well, a story. The main story is salted with select details that make the Cuban Missile Crisis more interesting. This book also provides a quick overview of the Cuban Missile Crisis in a six page timeline of events.
This book has a section entitled "Notes" which provides a list of references used to write this book to assure readers of its truthfulness. This book provides he tale of the Cuban Missile Crisis without favouring either side, but instead portraying each side of the story. The only unreliability this book may have is that to transform the Cuban Missile Crisis into an interesting story the author may have added some, slightly exaggerated or fictionalized, minute details.
The approach this book took on the Cuban Missile Crisis allowed this book to have details the others may not have. As this book is the longest it also has more space to go into a bit more detail than some of the other books.
Gow, Catherine. The Cuban Missile Crisis. San Diego: Lucent Books Inc., 1997. Print
The Cuban Missile Crisis illustrates all of the important events during the Cuban Missile Crisis. This book explains the beginnings of the cold war and the beginnings of the friendly relationship between Cuba and the Soviet Union, so that the reader gets a sense of the mounting tensions and panic associated with the threat of nuclear war. Also, The Cuban Missile Crisis explains the ascension into power of Fidel Castro, the Bay of Pigs blunder. In addition, this book explains in detail about the Communist relationship of Cuba with the Soviet Union and the tensions felt in America during the crisis.
The information in Catherine's book is reliable as there are many sources that Catherine used to write her book and many suggestions for further reading. Catherine seems like a well-learned lady, with a masters in English language. This source had more information of the Bay of Pigs Blunder and the ascension into power of Fidel Castro than our other sources, but it did not have as much about the difficult decisions President Kennedy had to make in order to get the Soviets to remove the missiles from Cuba. In addition, U Thant is not mentioned much in this book, though he is important to the resolution of the crisis.
Catherine’s book provides a thorough analysis of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and it was a useful source for our group. In particular, the information on the Bay of Pigs invasion was useful, as some of the other books barely had any information on the invasion. Also, Catherine’s book provided good detail on all the events that happened during the Crisis, especially the beginnings of the crisis, Cuba’s ascension into power and how the missiles are discovered by the Americans.