JUNE 26, 2012
THE SHOWDOWN WITH KHRUSHCHEV I
Knoxville, Tennessee (JFK+50) Today we begin our report of Chapter 11 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 11 is The Showdown with Khrushchev.
Kenneth O’Donnell says that all of JFK’s “other” accomplishments were overshadowed by the Berlin crisis of 1961 & the Cuban missile crisis of 1962.
As British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan put it:
“If Kennedy never did another thing, he assured his place in history by (the) single act (of risking nuclear war to force the USSR to remove its missiles from Cuba).”
Kenny tells this story which I remember was included in some of the JFK tribute documentaries following the assassination.
President Kennedy was in a discussion with his science adviser, Jerome Wiesner, one rainy afternoon when JFK asked how the fallout from atomic explosions returned to earth from the upper atmosphere.
Wiesner answered, “It comes down in rain.”
JFK looked out the windows of the Oval Office & said, “You mean there might be radioactive contamination in that rain out there right now?”
Wiesner responded, “Possibly.”
Kenny tells us that JFK just sat there looking out the window at the rain for several minutes without saying a word. Kenny adds that he had never seen the President so depressed.*
*JFK told Kenny privately….”I keep thinking of the children…..all over the world (who are potential victims of a nuclear war).”