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Open Edit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-10-05 05:00 PM
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John F. Kennedy
Edited on Fri Dec-02-05 08:28 PM by pinto
This new topic is awaiting edits. It was started by DrDebug.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the 35th President of the United States from January 20, 1961 until November 22, 1963, when he was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.

His former administration is often referred to as "Camelot," a myth that was begun by his widow, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy after her husband's assassination, when she was working with Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. on what would become his epic work, "A Thousand Days," the history of the JFK presidency.

Jackie, hoping to create the same romantic myth that almost endured to today, told Schlesinger that her husband under to like to put on the LP of the play "Camelot" and listen to it before bed every night. In fact, the story wasn't true, as Mrs. Kennedy Onassis later admitted, but she had wanted some cover in case the stories of her husband's infidelities were ever made public. She proved remarkably prescient on that score, but the "Camelot" myth has been properly debunked.

JFK was the brother of Ted Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy (deceased), the husband of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis (deceased), and the father of Caroline Kennedy and John F. Kennedy, Jr] (deceased). He was also the uncle of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Maria Shriver and Patrick J. Kennedy.

Innaugural Address, Jan. 20, 1961.

We observe today not a victory of party but a celebration of freedom--symbolizing an end as well as a beginning--signifying renewal as well as change. For I have sworn before you and Almighty God the same solemn oath our forbears prescribed nearly a century and three-quarters ago.

The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe--the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.

We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans--born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage--and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

This much we pledge--and more.

To those old allies whose cultural and spiritual origins we share, we pledge the loyalty of faithful friends. United there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided there is little we can do--for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder.

To those new states whom we welcome to the ranks of the free, we pledge our word that one form of colonial control shall not have passed away merely to be replaced by a far more iron tyranny. We shall not always expect to find them supporting our view. But we shall always hope to find them strongly supporting their own freedom--and to remember that, in the past, those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside.

To those people in the huts and villages of half the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required--not because the communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.

To our sister republics south of our border, we offer a special pledge--to convert our good words into good deeds--in a new alliance for progress--to assist free men and free governments in casting off the chains of poverty. But this peaceful revolution of hope cannot become the prey of hostile powers. Let all our neighbors know that we shall join with them to oppose aggression or subversion anywhere in the Americas. And let every other power know that this Hemisphere intends to remain the master of its own house.

To that world assembly of sovereign states, the United Nations, our last best hope in an age where the instruments of war have far outpaced the instruments of peace, we renew our pledge of support--to prevent it from becoming merely a forum for invective--to strengthen its shield of the new and the weak--and to enlarge the area in which its writ may run.

Finally, to those nations who would make themselves our adversary, we offer not a pledge but a request: that both sides begin anew the quest for peace, before the dark powers of destruction unleashed by science engulf all humanity in planned or accidental self-destruction.

We dare not tempt them with weakness. For only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed.

But neither can two great and powerful groups of nations take comfort from our present course--both sides overburdened by the cost of modern weapons, both rightly alarmed by the steady spread of the deadly atom, yet both racing to alter that uncertain balance of terror that stays the hand of mankind's final war.

So let us begin anew--remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.

Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us.

Let both sides, for the first time, formulate serious and precise proposals for the inspection and control of arms--and bring the absolute power to destroy other nations under the absolute control of all nations.

Let both sides seek to invoke the wonders of science instead of its terrors. Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths and encourage the arts and commerce.

Let both sides unite to heed in all corners of the earth the command of Isaiah--to "undo the heavy burdens . . . (and) let the oppressed go free."

And if a beachhead of cooperation may push back the jungle of suspicion, let both sides join in creating a new endeavor, not a new balance of power, but a new world of law, where the strong are just and the weak secure and the peace preserved.

All this will not be finished in the first one hundred days. Nor will it be finished in the first one thousand days, nor in the life of this Administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.

In your hands, my fellow citizens, more than mine, will rest the final success or failure of our course. Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty. The graves of young Americans who answered the call to service surround the globe.

Now the trumpet summons us again--not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need--not as a call to battle, though embattled we are-- but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, "rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation"--a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease and war itself.

Can we forge against these enemies a grand and global alliance, North and South, East and West, that can assure a more fruitful life for all mankind? Will you join in that historic effort?

In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility--I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it--and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.

And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country.

My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.

Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own.

March 1961 - Establishment of the Peace Corps

The Peace Corps is an independent U.S. federal agency designed to promote mutual understanding between Americans and the outside world. Established by executive order in 1961 and approved by Congress as a permanent agency within the State Department later that year, the program was an outgrowth of the Cold War designed to oppose the Chinese and Soviet political-ideological challenge to Western influence in the widely open Third World arena of superpower competition. More than 168,000 Americans have served in the Peace Corps since its inception.

April 17, 1961 - Bay of Pigs

On March 17, 1960, President Dwight Eisenhower agreed to start a program to overthrow the Cuban Government. Run by the CIA, this program would train, arm, and recruit Cuban exiles to participate in an invasion of Cuba. The planning was performed under the direction of Allen W. Dulles, and his deputy, Richard Bissell, with the knowledge and approval of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. John F. Kennedy agreed, for security reasons, that the fewer new faces in the government brought into the discussions, the better kept the secret would be.

The Cuban-exiles later known as Brigade 2506 were first training in JM WAVE, Florida. The CIA decided that it was important to get foreign bases out of sight of the US public opinion. Guatemala where a puppet regime was installed after the 1954 CIA organized coup, popped up on the maps quickly. For several months the brigade of 1400 anti-Castro Cubans was trained in La Democracia, Huehuetenango, a plantation in Guatemala donated by Roberto Alejos. The base codenamed JM-TRAX was intended to train 20 radio operators. Later facilities for 1400 trainees were built and a $1,8 million airfield was established for the supplies send from Opa-Locka in Florida. The government of Guatemala however was getting worried about some many armed foreigners in its country and asked for the Cubans to be removed by the end of April.

The story also leaked to the New York Times which reported on April 7, 1961 that 5,000 to 6,000 men were recruited to liberate Cuba and that their training was done in Florida (JM TRAX), Louisiana (??) and Guatemala was almost complete.

CIA liaison officer L. Fletcher Prouty delivered three ships to a CIA agent named George H.W. Bush. The boats used in the invasion were named Río Escondido, Houston and Barbara. The operation was code-named "Operation Zapata". The brigade was moved to embarkation point at Puerto Cabeza, Nicaragua. Some people have referred to the operation as Operation Pluto, however the Cubans and the CIA always called it Zapata.

On April 17, 1961, the invasion was carried by 1500 Cuban exiles known as Brigade 2506. The intent of the attack was to take a beachhead at Bahia de Cochinos (Bay of Pigs), establish a government, and gain U.S. recognition. As the invaders began to leave their boats, the Cuban air force attacked. They sunk the Houston and the Río Escondido, cutting off supplies for the invaders. Kennedy was asked for permission to use the U.S. Air Force to destroy the Cuban army's planes. Kennedy only permitted them to give cover to planes flown by exiles, which arrived before the U.S. navy planes, and were consequently shot down. Exact details on the number of dead and captured differ. According to the Museum of Playa Girón, 1,197 exiles were captured.

Operation Zapata was a failure and became known as the "Bay of Pigs" invasion.

Shortly after President John F. Kennedy established a commission to investigate the failure and to consider whether the United States should conduct similar covert operations in the future. The commission - chaired by General Maxwell Taylor, Robert Kennedy, Admiral Arleigh Burke and DCI Allen Dulles - produced a highly critical report one of the conclusions was that "the impossibility of running Zapata as a covert operation under CIA should have been recognized" as early as November 1960, five months before the invasion.

May 25, 1961 - JFK speech about putting a man on the moon

August 13, 1961 - Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall (German: Berliner Mauer) was a long barrier separating West Berlin from East Berlin and the surrounding territory of East Germany. Its intent was to restrict access between West Berlin and East Germany. It was built in 1961 and fortified over the years, but was opened to unrestricted transit on November 9, 1989 and subsequently almost entirely demolished.

October 14, 1962 - Cuban Missile Crisis

In June of 1961 Kennedy attended a summit with Premier Khrushchev in Vienna to discuss cold war confrontations between the east and west, in particular the situation in Berlin. Khrushchev viewed Kennedy as a weak president. Later American missiles were based a mere 150 miles from the Soviet Union, in Turkey which had become a NATO allie. <21> Khrushchev applies pressure to Berlin and eventually builts the Berlin Wall.

A U-2 flight in late August photographed a new series of SAM sites being constructed, but on September 4 Kennedy told Congress that there were no offensive missiles in Cuba. On the night of September 8, the first consignment of SS-4 MRBMs was unloaded in Havana, and a second shipload arrived on September 16. The Soviets were building nine sites — six for SS-4s and three for SS-5s with a range of 4,000 km (2,400 statute miles). The planned arsenal was forty launchers, an increase in Soviet first strike capacity of 70%.

On October 22, 1962, after reviewing newly acquired intelligence, President John F. Kennedy informed the world that the Soviet Union was building secret missile bases in Cuba, a mere 90 miles off the shores of Florida. <22>Kennedy asked for an assessment of damage incurred by a preemptive attack.<23>and decided on demanding that Russian Premier Nikita Khrushchev to remove all the missile bases and their deadly contents and ordered a naval quarantine (blockade) of Cuba in order to prevent Russian ships from bringing additional missiles and construction materials to the island. <24>

John F. Kennedy was afraid that Premier Khrushchev would authorize his Soviet field commanders in Cuba to launch their tactical nuclear weapons, if invaded by U.S. forces. In hindsight it turned out that Krushchev was bluffing and Trotsnik send an order to Pavlov prohibiting the usage of nuclear weapons without approval from Krushchev. <25>. Also Kennedy met with Paul Nitze to make sure that noboby could fire nuclear weapons without approval from Kennedy. <26>During the tension of the next days the United States carried out 3 Nuclear Tests and the Soviet Union carried out 2 Nuclear Tests as well <27>.

Kennedy and Khrushchev start to write letters back and forth in an attempt to settle the dispute by diplomatic means. <28>. These negotiations are successful. Khrushchev concedes to Kennedy's demands by ordering all Soviet supply ships away from Cuban waters and agreeing to remove the missiles from Cuba's mainland.

After several days of teetering on the brink of nuclear holocaust, the world breathed a sigh of relief.

In exchange for Khrushchev's commitment to remove the missiles from Cuba, a Hot Line between Kruschchev and John F. Kennedy gets established. Kennedy agreed not to invade Cuba and three months after the Cuban Missile Crisis the United States secretly removed all its nuclear missiles from Turkey and Italy

On January 21, 1963 John F. Kennedy gives the signal for secret negotiations to end Vietnam. At the urging of Nehru, Galbraith meets with the Polish foreign minister, Adam Rapacki, in New Delhi on Jan. 21, 1963, where Galbraith expressed Kennedy's likely interest in a Polish proposal for a cease-fire and new elections in South Vietnam. Galbraith wrote in his memoirs that it was not followed up. <29>

On March 4, 1963 John F. Kennedy began pursuing a secret dialogue toward an actual rapprochement with Fidel Castro. To a policy built upon "overt and covert nastiness," as Top Secret White House memoranda characterized U.S. operations against Cuba, was added "the sweet approach," meaning the possibility of "quietly enticing Castro over to us." National Security Council officials referred to this multitrack policy as "simil-opting"--the use of disparate methods toward the goal of moving Cuba out of the Soviet orbit. <30>

On August 1963 Partial Test Ban Treaty was signed between the Soviet Union and the United States prohibiting the testing of nuclear weapons in the atmosphere.

A lot of people in the U.S. Military and the U.S. Government do not like the result. They now consider John F. Kennedy a weak president who choose to give up a lot in the negotiations with Nikita Khrushchev. Kennedy on the other hands seems to start to value the success of negotiations.

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January 1963 - Secret negotiations between JFK and Soviet Union to end Vietnam

Papers reveal JFK efforts on Vietnam
By Bryan Bender
Boston Globe Staff
June 6, 2005

WASHINGTON -- Newly uncovered documents from both American and Polish archives show that President John F. Kennedy and the Soviet Union secretly sought ways to find a diplomatic settlement to the war in Vietnam, starting three years before the United States sent combat troops.

Kennedy, relying on his ambassador to India, John Kenneth Galbraith, planned to reach out to the North Vietnamese in April 1962 through a senior Indian diplomat, according to a secret State Department cable that was never dispatched.


A draft cable dated the same day instructed Galbraith to use Desai as a channel discreetly communicating to responsible leaders North Vietnamese regime . . . the president's position as he indicated it."

But a week later, Harriman met with Kennedy and apparently persuaded him to delay, according to other documents, and the overture was never revived.


At the urging of Nehru, Galbraith met with the Polish foreign minister, Adam Rapacki, in New Delhi on Jan. 21, 1963, where Galbraith expressed Kennedy's likely interest in a Polish proposal for a cease-fire and new elections in South Vietnam. There is no evidence of further discussions between the two diplomats. Rapacki returned to Warsaw a day later. Galbraith wrote in his memoirs that it was not followed up. / papers_reveal_jfk_efforts_on_vietnam/?page=1

March 4, 1963 - Secret negotiations between JFK and Castro

JFK & Castro: The Secret Quest For Accommodation

Recently Declassified U.S. government Documents Reveal That, at the Height of the Cold War, John F. Kennedy and Fidel Castro Were Exploring Ways To Normalize U.S.- Cuba Relations

by Peter Kornbluh

In February 1996, Robert Kennedy Jr. and his brother, Michael, traveled to Havana to meet with Fidel Castro. As a gesture of goodwill, they brought a file of formerly top secret U.S. documents on the Kennedy administration's covert exploration of an accommodation with Cuba--a record of what might have been had not Lee Harvey Oswald, seemingly believing the president to be an implacable foe of Castro's Cuba, fired his fateful shots in Dallas. Castro thanked them for the file and shared his "impression that it was President John F. Kennedy's intention after the missile crisis to change the framework" of relations between the United States and Cuba. "It's unfortunate," said Castro, that "things happened as they did, and he could not do what he wanted to do."

Would John F. Kennedy, had he lived, have been able to establish a modus vivendi with Fidel Castro? The question haunts almost 40 years of acrimonious U.S.-Cuba relations. In a Top Secret--Eyes Only memorandum written three days after the president's death, one of his White House aides, Gordon Chase, noted that "President Kennedy could have accommodated with Castro and gotten away with it with a minimum of domestic heat"-- because of his track record "of being successfully nasty to Castro and the Communists" during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. Castro and his advisers believed the same. A CIA intelligence report, based on a high-level Cuban source and written for National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy in 1964, noted that "Fidel Castro felt that it was possible that President Kennedy would have gone on ultimately to negotiate with Cuba... acceptance of a fait accompli for practical reasons."

The file on the Kennedy administration's "Cuban contacts" that Robert Jr. and Michael took to Cuba (declassified at the request of the author) sheds significant light on a story that has never been fully told--John Kennedy's secret pursuit of a rapprochement with Fidel Castro. Along with papers recently released pursuant to the Kennedy Assassination Records Act of 1992, the documents reveal the escalating efforts toward negotiations in 1963 that, if successful, might have changed the ensuing decades of perpetual hostility between Washington and Havana. Given the continuing state of tension with Castro's regime, this history carries an immediate relevance for present policy makers. Indeed, with the Clinton administration buffeted between increasingly vocal critics of U.S. policy toward Cuba and powerful proponents of the status quo, reconstructing the hitherto secret record of Kennedy's efforts in the fall of 1963 to advance "the rapprochement track" with Castro is more relevant than ever.

Unbeknownst to all but his brother and a handful of advisers, however, in 1963 John Kennedy began pursuing an alternative script on Cuba: a secret dialogue toward an actual rapprochement with Castro. To a policy built upon "overt and covert nastiness," as Top Secret White House memoranda characterized U.S. operations against Cuba, was added "the sweet approach," meaning the possibility of "quietly enticing Castro over to us." National Security Council officials referred to this multitrack policy as "simil- opting"--the use of disparate methods toward the goal of moving Cuba out of the Soviet orbit.

June 11, 1963 - JFK speaks against segregation

June 26, 1963 - JFK visit to West Berlin

August 5, 1963 - Partial Test Ban Treaty

The Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space, and Under Water, often abbreviated as the Partial Test Ban Treaty (PTBT), Limited Test Ban Treaty' ('LTBT'), or Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (NTBT), although the former also refers to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), is a treaty intended to obtain an agreement on general and complete disarmament under strict international control in accordance with the objectives of the United Nations; to put an end to the armaments race and eliminate incentives for the production and testing of all kinds of weapons, including nuclear weapons.

It was opened for signature on August 5, 1963, and entered into force on October 10, 1963.

November 1, 1963 - Ngo Dinh Diem assassinated

United States came and started supporting a man called Ngo Dinh Diem, who turned out to be one of the most ruthless dictators in the history of the world. Who set out to silence all opposition. People were brutally murdered because they spoke out against the brutal policies of Diem.

The U.S hoped that Diem could be the charismatic equivalent of Ho Chi Minh. but Diem showed to be unsuited to role the U.S. had written for him, the opinions of these strategists began to change in the 1960s. U.S. planners complained, claiming to be annoyed that Diem had not implemented land reforms to compete with the highly popular Communist program, and further claimed that the nepotism and corruption in his government was hurting the Southern cause.

Having served as ambassador to Moscow and governor of New York, W. Averell Harriman was in the middle of a long public career. In 1960, President Kennedy appointed him ambassador-at-large. By 1963, according to Corson, Harriman was running "Vietnam without consulting the president or the Attorney General."

Shortly after Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. and Admiral Felt had called on Diem on November 1, the generals made their move, culminating a summer and fall of complex intrigue. The coup was led by General Minh, the most respected of the senior generals, together with Generals Don, Kim and Khiem. They convoked a meeting of all but a few senior officers at JGS headquarters at noon on the day of the coup, announced their plans and got the support of their compatriots.

The coup itself was executed with skill and swiftness. They had devoted special attention to ensuring that the major potentially loyal forces were isolated and their leaders neutralized at the outset of the operation. By the late afternoon of November 1, only the palace guard remained to defend the two brothers.

At 4:30 p.m., Diem called Lodge to ask where the U.S. stood. Lodge was noncommital and confined himself to concern for Diem's physical safety. The conversation ended inconclusively. The generals made repeated calls to the palace offering the brothers safe conduct out of the country if they surrendered, but the two held out hope until the very end.

Sometime that evening they secretly slipped out of the palace through an underground escape passage and went to a hide-away in Cholon. There they were captured the following morning after their whereabouts was learned when the palace fell. Shortly the two brothers were murdered in the back of an armored personnel carrier en route to JGS headquarters.

With Diem gone, the American could start to escalate the Vietnam War. There was only one obstacle left...

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November 22, 1963 - JFK Assassination

President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, on Friday, November 22, 1963 at 12:30 pm CST while on a political trip through Texas. For many Americans, the shock of his assassination is comparable to the shock of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The assassination has been subject to many Kennedy assassination conspiracy theories.

Main article: JFK assassination ( )

The Talk Box is for comments. Please include your username.

BlueIris: I love that we have this topic. It is my opinion that anyone interested in knowing the true spirit of John F. Kennedy as a president should read Philip D. Zelikow's "The Kennedy Tapes." Excellent work. As a certain unpleasant FOX news personality would say, it's a "no spin zone."
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