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Archive for the category “1961 Berlin Speech”

JACK KENNEDY, ELUSIVE HERO: ZENITH I

February 13, 2012


JACK KENNEDY, ELUSIVE HERO: ZENITH I


Knoxville, Tennessee (JFK+50) Today JFK+50 reports on part one of Chapter 14 of Chris Matthews’ new book, Jack Kennedy, Elusive Hero, published by Simon & Schuster.

The title of Chapter 14 is ZENITH.

Despite President Kennedy’s hope for a ban on nuclear testing, in August 1961 the USSR announced it would resume testing in the atmosphere.

Chris tells us that JFK resisted the pressures for the U.S. to resume testing as well by instructing Secretary of Defense McNamara to begin testing underground.

The National Security Council advised the President that this would give the Soviets the advantage.

Chris writes that “nothing mattered more” to JFK than the negotiation of a mutual test ban treaty, but on March 2, 1962, he had to “explain to millions of worried Americans why he had agreed to resume testing.”

Chris now shifts gears to the success of America’s space program under JFK.

On February 20, 1962, John Glenn became the 1st American to orbit the earth.

Chris writes:

“Conquering space offered an unprecedented thrill for the American public. Suddenly it seemed as if all things extraordinary were possible under (JFK’s) leadership.”

Mercury Friendship 7 Celestia Image by James R. Bassett (2009)

Then came “more trouble,” this time on the home front.

Chairman of United States Steel Corporation, Roger Blough, announced a steel price hike of 3.5%. 

Roger Blough & JFK

This announcement came on the heels of an agreement between JFK & the steel workers union to cut back their wage demands.

Also, JFK, under advisement from his economic advisers, believed such a price hike would hurt the U.S. economy by driving up prices on consumer goods.

The President, to put it mildly, felt he had been double-crossed.

Ken O’Donnell said JFK was “white with anger.”

At a press conference, President Kennedy said he found it “hard to accept a situation in which a tiny handful of steel executives (could) show such utter contempt for the interests of 185 million Americans.”

By the next night, Chris writes, 8 of the steel companies cancelled their announced price hikes.

Bobby Kennedy would later explain that the Justice Department had all the steel executives who had raised prices subpoenaed for their public records.

The Attorney General admitted it was a tough way to operate, but he said: “We couldn’t afford to lose.”

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JFK SPEAKS TO THE NATION ON BERLIN

July 25, 1961


JFK SPEAKS TO THE NATION ON BERLIN


Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) President John F. Kennedy spoke to a national television audience this evening on the situation in Berlin.


In response to Soviet threats & the announcement  of an increase in the Soviet military budget, JFK said that he is proposing an additional 217,000 men be added to the US military rolls.


The President also will be asking Congress for $1.8 million to be appropriated for new weapons & military equipment.


In explaining to the American people why these proposals are necessary, JFK said:


“We cannot & will not permit the communists to drive us out of Berlin for the fulfillment of our pledge to that city is essential to the….security of Western Germany, to the unity of Western Europe & to the faith of the entire Free World.”


JFK concluded his speech by saying:


“In meeting my responsibilities….I need your….support &, above all, your prayers.”



Presidential Address to the Nation
                      July 25, 1961


July 25, 1915


KENNEDYS ANNOUNCE BIRTH OF FIRST CHILD


Hull, Massachusetts (JFK+50) Mr. & Mrs. Joseph P. Kennedy announced the birth today of their first child, a son, named Joseph Patrick Kennedy, Jr.


Joe Junior was delivered by Kennedy family doctor Frederick L. Good in a rented cottage on Atlantic Avenue in Nantasket.*


*Joe Jr. graduated from Harvard in 1938, studied at the London School of Economics, served as a delegate to the 1940 Democratic Convention & joined the US Navy in WWII.  Joe Jr. flew Liberator bombers based in England & was killed during a mission on August 12, 1944.



              “The Golden Trio”
       Joe Jr., Kathleen & Jack 
                 London (1938)


July 25, 1945


TRUMAN TELLS STALIN ABOUT ATOMIC BOMB


Potsdam, Germany (JFK+50) President Harry S Truman informed Premier Joseph Stalin of the Soviet Union today that the United States has successfully developed a new weapon.


Mr. Truman characterized the atomic bomb as “the most terrible (weapon) in the history of the world.”


The information was passed along by the President only after Stalin had given his pledge to join the US in the war against Japan.*


Afterwards, Prime Minister Winston Churchill of Great Britain said to the President “How did it go”?  


Truman replied: “He (Stalin) never asked a question.”


Note: Eyewitnesses to the conversation between Truman & Stalin commented later that Stalin showed little reaction to the news of the bomb.

*Most advisers believed it was necessary to inform the USSR of the development of the atomic bomb to prevent a post-war atmosphere of suspicion.





           Stalin, Truman & Churchill
                    Potsdam, Germany
                Truman Library Photo


July 25, 1969


NIXON ANNOUNCES “VIETNAMIZATION” POLICY


Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) President Richard M. Nixon announced today the United States will slowly withdraw its troops from Southeast Asia & replace them with South Vietnamese troops.*


*This policy will be known as “Vietnamization” & the “Nixon Doctrine”. 




July 25, 1965


BOB DYLAN ELECTRIFIES NEWPORT FESTIVAL


Newport, Rhode Island (JFK+50) Folk singer-songwriter Bob Dylan performed today at the Newport Folk Festival playing an electric guitar instead of his customary acoustic.*


*Dylan, who rose to fame with “Blowin’ in the Wind” & “The Times Are A-Changin'”, was the premier folk song writer of the 1960s.




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