“It is continuing strength that will maintain peace for this nation. But strength alone without the will to use it loses much of its vitality. The world waited with bated breath our decision last fall when it became apparent that Cuba was about to be converted into a bastion for communist aggression. The president acted with speed, firmness, and courage…Let there be no doubt in anyone’s mind, if Mr. Krushchev had not taken the missiles out of Cuba, Cuba would have been invaded, notwithstanding the consequences.”
Editor's Note: This excerpt comes from a speech Vinson gave to the Women’s College in Milledgeville, Georgia, almost six months after the Cuban Missile Crisis. In this address, Vinson praised President Kennedy’s response to the discovery of Soviet missiles in Cuba which possessed the power and range to attack several U.S. cities.
On October 22nd, 1962, Vinson and Senator Richard Russell quickly returned to Washington, D.C. to provide expertise and advice during this crisis. Ultimately, Kennedy decided to institute a naval blockade of Cuba and to call up 150,000 reservists, a response Vinson fully backed. Vinson’s unwavering support for Kennedy’s actions during the Cuban situation reflected his guiding philosophy of military preparedness and the importance of this philosophy in Cold War affairs.