John F. Kennedy's Involvement With The Cold War

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John f. Kennedy's involvement with the cold war

Throughout his pre-presidential career, JFK was an active Cold Warrior. As noted, his first Congressional campaign boasted of taking on the anti-Cold War faction of the Democratic Party led by Henry Wallace, and as a congressman he aligned himself with those who said the Truman Administration wasn't being tough enough, when he willingly attached his name to the chorus demanding "Who Lost China?" (Weiner A1)

One does not even have to rehash his relationship with Joseph McCarthy to show how JFK willingly played the "tough on communism" issue in all his campaigns. In 1952, while running for the Senate, he proudly trumpeted the fact that during his first term in the House, even before Nixon had won fame for the exposure of Alger Hiss, (Hawkes 249) JFK's work on a labour committee led to the conviction of a communist union official. While in Congress, he supported all of America's overseas activities in waging the Cold War.

Even while running for President in 1960, JFK appealed to the "tough on the Soviets" issue by consistently hammering at Eisenhower for America's supposed lack of leadership, and America "falling behind the Soviets (White 215-348)." It was JFK, promising more money for defence spending and American readiness when he charged Eisenhower for allowing a non-existent "missile gap" to develop between the U.S. and Soviet nuclear arsenals. And it was JFK, who during the debates with Nixon, charged that Eisenhower policy had resulted in the loss of Cuba.

Those who point to the Limited Test Ban Treaty as proof of JFK wanting to begin the first step toward disarmament, should remember that JFK wanted a ban chiefly for environmental reasons, and not because he envisioned the long-term elimination of nuclear weapons. Indeed, it was JFK's own Defence Secretary, Robert McNamara who came up with the Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) principle that was dependent entirely on the maintenance of a sizable nuclear arsenal. On the April 25th 1945 a symbolic meeting between American and Soviet soldiers took place on the River Elbe at Torgau, Germany. Through handshakes and drinks they celebrated their common victory over Nazi Germany, but ultimately their lack of communication and misunderstandings of each other was going to be an ongoing problem into the future.

Following Eisenhower's Presidency was John F. Kennedy who won the general election, narrowly defeating the Republican candidate, Vice President Richard M. Nixon, by a margin of 118,550 out of some 70 million votes cast. When Kennedy was elected he was a young and charismatic leader who offered hope, and whose principals stated that he wanted to lessen international tension and wanted both East and West to live in harmony - but of course a plan to invade Cuba had already been established.

The invasion of Cuba had been planned by the CIA in the early 1960's, before Kennedy's election, with the basis of the plan being that exiled Cubans would be used for the attack, which were trained and prepared by the CIA in the United ...
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