July 19, 2012
“JOHNNY, I HARDLY KNEW YE” VI
Knoxville, Tennessee (JFK+50) Today we continue our report of Chapter 12 of the book by Kenneth P. O’Donnell & David F. Powers with Joe McCarthy. It is published by Little, Brown & Company.
The title of Chapter 12 is “Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ye”
Kenneth O’Donnell tells that in WEST BERLIN on June 26, 1963, JFK was “thrilled by the sight of the biggest crowds he had ever seen anywhere.”
More than 1 million West Berliners were lined up 4 deep along JFK’s motorcade route & were “crowding every window & rooftop.”
As to JFK’s speech, Kenny writes:
“The crowd was swept by a surge of pride & warmth, & deeply stirred as few such massive audiences in history have ever been moved, by Kennedy’s opening & closing words:
‘Today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’….All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, & therefore as a free man, I take pride in the words, ‘Ich bin ein Berliner.'”
JFK himself was so pleased he would say later:
“We’ll never have another day like this one.”
Even so, Kenny admits that most of the speech in Berlin was “spontaneous & unprepared.”
For those who believe that JFK made an error in the phrase ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’, Kenny writes, without mentioning the criticisms, that it was actually National Security adviser McGeorge Bundy who gave JFK the line in German.
Also for those who felt JFK risked compromising the proposed Nuclear Test Ban Treaty with his speech in West Berlin, Kenny tells us that Khrushchev ignored the Berlin speech & accepted the earlier address at American University.