Fifty years ago the United States and the Soviet Union came uncomfortably close to launching a nuclear war. What was it like to be John F. Kennedy during the missile crisis? Our friends at the Armageddon Letters produced this short video and others to engage young people in an exploration of this important topic, a topic with lessons for today. The phrase “The Armageddon Letters” refers to the unprecedented exchange of letters and other communications among Kennedy, Khrushchev and Castro, before, during and after the crisis. The Armageddon Letters website is a rich transmedia resource of information, graphic novels, podcasts, and short films on the Cuban Missile Crisis—all based on decades of research on perhaps the most dangerous moment in human history. There is a wealth of material that teachers might find useful for their classrooms.

We have just released a free Teaching with the News Lesson that examines a fascinating (and scary!) letter from Castro to Khrushchev. The activity utilizes three short films that illuminate the thinking of Castro, Kennedy, and Khrushchev during the crisis.