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Since the end of World War II, the United States and Russia had been engaged in a “cold war.” This was a period of great tension between these two superpowers. Even though there was no actual fighting during this period, the fact that both countries had nuclear power meant that nuclear disaster could occur at any time.\n\nThe Cuban Missile Crisis was the closest that the U.S. and the Soviet Union came to using nuclear weapons. The diplomatic skill of President John F. Kennedy prevented disaster only weeks after he entered office.