50 years ago: On October 22, 1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis arose as President John F. Kennedy announced in a televised address to the nation that he had ordered a naval blockade of Cuba in response to the discovery (via photographic proof) that the Soviets had installed missiles there. He told frightened Americans that the missiles could reach a huge geographic region in the Americas. The Soviet action, he said, was a "clandestine, reckless and provocative threat to world peace" and warned that retaliation was an option if missiles were launched. The crisis brought the world to the brink of nuclear war while Kennedy and Khrushchev negotiated. At one point, U.S. armed forces went to DEFCON 2, the highest military alert ever reached in the post-World War II era, as commanders prepared for full-scale war.