- JFK and The Cuban Missile Crisis: Evaluate performance of JFK handling the Cuba Missile Crisis, what extent was he responsible for bringing it on (Bay of Pigs)? Evaluate Innaugural Address for speech and content in respect to Soviet Union and other nations. How does he resolve the crisis…one passage conveys it and it is not the “Don’t ask what your country can do” line. History Matters #2: Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis 1. Given the fact that President Kennedy had incontrovertible photographic proof of a threat of a Weapons of Mass Destruction just 90 miles away from the United States, is it possible to judge his handling of this crisis as weak as officials at the Pentagon and CIA indeed did at the time? Why or why not? 2. Would you argue (as some historians do) that Kennedy helped to provoke the crisis in the first place? Why or why not? 3. What does a careful reading of Kennedy’s Inaugural Address suggest on that questions that Kennedy himself may have inflamed tensions and invited the crisis? Further, does the speech suggest in any way the manner in which Kennedy (with Khrushchev) ultimately resolved the crisis? 4. Finally, what do you think the current (or future) president(s) can learn from JFK’s handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis?
4 – To the Nuclear Brink: The Cuban Missile Crisis Read: The Unfinished Journey by Chafe, 188-211; The United States Since 1945 by Ingalls & Johnson, 107-108 (Missile Crisis cartoon); Also, read the JFK Inaugural Address: http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.phpflash=true&doc=91&page=transcript; And/or: Watch and Listen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLmiOEk59n8 And, check this out: “The World on the Brink: John F. Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis: http://www.jfklibrary.org/jfkl/cmc/cmc_intro.html This annotated calendar of events surrounding the Cuban Missile Crisis includes a number of written and audio primary source documents, including White House conversations that ultimately led to the resolution of the crisis. The site is expansive, but you should read through at least the timeline.