Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in History



First Reader/Committee Chair

Johnson, Diana


On October 14, 1962, an American U-2 spy plane flying over the island of Cuba discovered Soviet missiles being constructed. This discovery led President John F. Kennedy, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, and Cuban Dictator Fidel Castro into a thirteen-day negotiation period to remove the nuclear missiles from Cuba. During this time, the world was the closest it had ever been to nuclear destruction, causing stress and anxiety to many worldwide, especially the American populace, who believed they were invincible in a home front attack. Throughout this thesis, I aim to examine the Cuban Missile Crisis and nuclear fallout through the lens of the average American, discovering that much of the anxieties and fear stemmed from media and political manipulation. These manipulations ultimately resulted in the construction of early cold war gender roles in the nuclear family as well as how we continue to remember the Cuban Missile Crisis years after its rise.