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JFK’s “The Strategy of Peace” 

I. The Possibilities of Peace 

Knoxville, Tennessee (JFK+50) Today JFK+50 begins our report on Chapter 1 of “The Strategy of Peace” written by Senator John F. Kennedy.  The book is published by Harper & Row, New York, 1960.


The title of Chapter I is THE POSSIBILITIES OF PEACE

Senator Kennedy titles Part 1 of this chapter: “The Global Challenge.”

JFK writes that “the first duty of an officer in a democratic government is to uphold the integrity of words” by “using them in ways where they will stand as one with the things they are meant to represent.”

He goes on to write that the purpose of “The Strategy of Peace” is to “make plain” his thoughts on questions of foreign policy through some of the speeches he has made “over the last several years.”

He says the main theme of these collected statements is that “we move from crisis to crisis for two reasons:  because we have not yet developed a strategy for peace that is relevant….& because we have not been paying the price for which that strategy demands…a price measured in physical courage.”

JFK writes that after WWII, the US did have a peace strategy:  to stop the spread of Communism into Western Europe without resorting to war.

This containment policy, JFK tells us, was based on our monopoly to export assistance to Europe & our monopoly in nuclear weapons.

Those monopolies were both shattered by the Soviet Union by the 1950s.

The Senator writes that “this generation does not have to find new purposes…..(but rather)….must….face its problems–at home & abroad.”

JFK concludes this part of Chapter 1 with these words:

“The American…is optimistic.  He is experimental, an inventor & a builder. Arouse his will to believe in himself, give him a great goal to believe in, & he will create the means to reach it.  This trait of the American character is our greatest single national asset. (Our) people….voluntarily assume the burden & the glory of advancing mankind’s best hopes.”

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