The Legacy Of John F. Kennedy

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Republicans absolutely loved Nixon for his tough stance on communism and his position as vice president had given him prominence and experience where communism was concerned.. Democrats, meanwhile, nominated the relatively unknown John F. Kennedy, a young but accomplished senator from Massachusetts who had served with distinction in World War II and had won a Pulitzer Prize for his 1956 book Profiles in Courage .At only forty-three years old, Kennedy exuded a youthful confidence that contrasted sharply with Nixon’s serious demeanor—a contrast that was plainly evident in the first-ever live televised presidential debates in 1960. Tens of millions of Americans tuned in to watch the two candidates discuss the issues. Although radio listeners…show more content…
Americans to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade. His enthusiasm spread across the country.
Kennedy’s first foreign policy crisis surfaced just months after he took office, when Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev threatened to sign a treaty with East Germany that would cut off the city of Berlin from the United States and Western Europe. Although the Soviet Union never signed any such treaty, it did construct a massive wall of concrete and barbed wire around West Berlin in 1961 to prevent East Germans from escaping to freedom in the Western-controlled part of the city. Over the years, guard towers were installed, and the “no-man’s-land” between the inner and outer walls was mined and booby-trapped, making it incredibly difficult for East Germans to escape to West Berlin without being killed or captured.
Kennedy, hoping never to have to decide between nuclear war and political embarrassment again, devised a new strategy of “flexible response” to deal with the USSR. Crafted with the aid of foreign policy veteran Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara, the flexible response doctrine was meant to allow the president to combat Soviet advances around the world through a variety of means. In other words, Kennedy could send money or troops to fight Communist insurgents, authorize the CIA to topple an unfriendly government, or, as a last resort, use nuclear weapons.
Hoping to topple Cuba’s Communist-leaning leader, Fidel Castro, Kennedy authorized the
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