Kennedy & the New Frontiers

Not the “New Frontier” they intended.  JFK was no dove.  He was no peacenik.  The legacy of his administration is greatly muddled in the public mind I think, by his tragic assassination.  It was JFK and “Mac” the knife, who ushered in “the greatest arms race in history” according t o Ambrose.

Really?  The nuclear weapons race between the USSR and the USA?  It wasn’t the Republicans?  It wasn’t Nixon or Reagan, or affable old Ike?  Nope.  Not according to Ambrose.  The arms race, which produced the ability to destroy our world many times over, though maybe exacerbated by Nixon and Reagan, started with Kennedy.

“13 days” is a great film about the Cuban Missile Crisis that I used to show my tenth graders.  Well worth watching and good extra credit for this unit.  Get a handle on JFK and his administration’s stance vis-a-vis Cuba and you’re in the hunt for a solid quiz score.


One Response to “Kennedy & the New Frontiers”

  1. Adam Wright says:

    Ambrose points out this monumentous event that Khrushchev displays. For the first time ever in history, a wall was built around a city to keep people in, not out. Khrushchev first sees this a a perfect step in the US-Soviet conflict; West Berlin has been a beacon of capitalism, contrasting the poverty of communism and the emigration out of East Berlin needs to be stopped. However, the Berlin Wall quickly backfires. The US seems to have won with the erection of this wall since, although no country was “liberated,” containment proved effective. Furthermore, the hard liners in the Kremlin criticize Khrushchev for building this wall because it showed West Berlin would remain under Western control, and how much communism fails in that it cannot even prosper in one city; it was also a little dehumanizing for the East Berliners as they are enclosed in a city, trapped and closed off from the world. However, this criticism influences Khrushchev to place missiles in Cuba, which also backfires and further destroys Khrushchev’s reputation and he is eventually thrown out of office. So I guess one answer to “what extent did Germany/Berlin play in the increase of tensions in the Cold War?” would be a huge role as the Berlin Wall led to the Cuban Missile Crisis and the eventual ousting of Khrushchev.

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