If Kennedy demanded uncompromisingly that the Soviets remove their nuclear weapons from Cuba, Khrushchev would have to decide whether to comply or to take the risk of actual war, which might become a nuclear war. The onus would be on him. If Kennedy showed weakness in face of Khrushchev's challenge, the effect might be to embolden Khrushchev to ignore American warnings about Berlin. It would then be Kennedy, not Khrushchev, who would bear the onus. 'A Soviet move on Berlin,' Kennedy said to the joint chiefs of staff, 'leaves me only one alternative, which is to fire nuclear weapons - which is a hell of an alternative.'


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