In the discussion thread: Generals mocking JFK behind his back during Cuban Missile Crisis caught on tape... [View all]
Response to MinM (Reply #12)
Wed Sep 26, 2012, 08:54 PM
MinM (2,420 posts)
17. 13 Days (2000) v Missiles of October (1974)
BOB GARFIELD: Okay, so what's the third rough draft? When did that happen, what form did it take?
FRED KAPLAN: The third draft was mainly by revisionists, by people like Gary Wills who in 1971 wrote a book called Kennedy Agonistes. Now, it had been revealed early on that Khrushchev had made an offer toward the end of the crisis basically saying look, I'll take my missiles out of Cuba if you take your missiles out of Turkey. At the time the United States had 15 nuclear missiles in Turkey, which were similar in range and power to the missiles that the Soviets put in Cuba. Ted Sorensen in his book dismissed that Khrushchev offer as total propaganda and that Khrushchev dropped in the end. Well, Gary Wills and the revisionists picked up on this and they said look, this guy Kennedy was a maniac. He was soaking in machismo. He'd led the United States and the world on the brink of World War III because he wouldn't take this sensible offer to do the missile trade.
BOB GARFIELD: Machismo was certainly part of the popular image of JFK back then. Here's a clip from a 1970s TV docudrama Missiles of October, starring a very young William Devane. :
WILLIAM DEVANE/JOHN F. KENNEDY: Now we must convey an uncompromising message. This government is prepared to negotiate, but not until those missiles are removed from Cuba. We will not be deterred. We will not be shaken. We'll bomb, if we must. We'll invade if we must.
FRED KAPLAN: Yeah, that, that clip is just hilarious, diametrically opposed to the way John Kennedy was acting at any of those sessions. In fact, this does lead us to the fourth draft of history, tapes that Kennedy had secretly been making. Long before Nixon and before Johnson, Kennedy was taping a lot of things that happened in the Oval Office and in the Cabinet Room, where the ex-con meetings took place. And we hear very clearly in those meetings that Kennedy took Khrushchev's offer of the missile trade very, very seriously. In fact, on the third day of the crisis, Kennedy is already musing that well, you know, Khrushchev, he's made a miscalculation. He's obviously done this for bargaining leverage, and we're going to have to help him find a way to save face. Maybe if we trade those missiles in Turkey for the missiles in Cuba, that might be the answer. Nobody even takes him up on it. So on the last day of the crisis, when Khrushchev does bring it up, he's very eager to take it. And, in fact, he is the only one in the room who's willing to take it. You know, there's been this, this model from the first draft of history on, that the room was divided into hawks and doves and centrists. But, in fact, on the last couple of days of the crisis, the room was divided between John Kennedy and everybody else. Everybody else in that room wanted to bomb the missiles in Cuba, and only John Kennedy wanted to take the trade.
BOB GARFIELD: Now, unaccustomed as we are to having presidential tapes reveal the president in a positive light —
FRED KAPLAN: Yeah...
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|Norrin Radd||Sep 2012||#2|
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13 Days (2000) v Missiles of October (1974)
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|loli phabay||Sep 2012||#30|
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