During a panic-filled October fifty years ago, the world teetered on the brink of annihilation. Reports that the U.S.S.R aimed to set up secret missile bases in Cuba—the Communist-run Caribbean nation that had just rebuffed the disastrous U.S.-hatched Bay of Pigs invasion in August—triggered a conflagration of global proportions. The drums of war sounded, with the U.S. contemplating risky military action. The Soviets, whose territory was surrounded by hundreds of American installations, eventually backed down, opting against deploying their weapons of mass destruction in Cuba. An American blockade of the island nation set in and has remained to this day.