Kennedy's Election

  • 1960
  • Democrat
  • Ran against Nixon
  • Ran with Henry Cabot Lodge Junior
  • Was often assailed for his Catholic beliefs
  • Won by around 100,000 popular votes and about 100 Electoral votes
  • Spoke of a New Frontier approaching America of new questions to be answered and problems to be solved
  • Called for creation of Peace Corps by youth to help underdeveloped countries

The Cold War Under Kennedy

  • USSR constructs Berlin wall in 1961 to stop population flow from East to West Germany
  • Decolonized areas such as the Congo began erupting into violence
  • Laos in S.E. Asia released from French rule and falling to communists
  • Kennedy sought more diplomatic means of peace as he lacked force to do otherwise effectively
  • Moved from "massive retaliation" policy to "flexible response" which called for making many options available for different situations, created Green Berets as special forces unit
  • More "military advisers" (read soldiers) sent to S. Vietnam to keep order against rising number of dissidents against Diems rule
  • Eventually led coup against uncooperative Diem in 63
  • Kennedy extended Marshall Plan to Latin America in 1961 with Alianza para el Progreso, was not very successful
  • Attempted to overthrow Castro in Cuba with invasion of exiled anti-communists in 1961 at the Bay of Pigs
  • Surrendered due to lack of support from U.S. at urgings of Kennedy
  • U.S. aggravated Castro into further alignment with USSR
  • USSR began arming Cuba with nuclear missiles, beginning Cuban Missile Crisis
  • Kennedy ordered blockade of Cuba to cease further movement of arms
  • Khrushchev, premier of USSR finally called off Soviet cruisers from approaching the blockade border maintained by US

Kennedy and Civil Rights

  • Had promised in campaign to end segregation
  • Slowed by lack of control over congress
  • Freedom Riders begin working to end segregation in interstate busses in 1960
  • Federal marshals were dispatched to protect them from violent riot reactions
  • Helped MLK establishe a Voter Education Project to help blacks in the south to vote
  • In Mississippi, 1962, a black veteran, James Meridith, was met with violence for trying to register at a University
  • Kennedy dispatched federal marshals to enroll him
  • MLK begins campaign for equality in Birmingham in 1963
  • Kennedy promised legislation in support of the issue, and MLK led a march on Washington in support, but violent reactions bogged down the bill long after assassination

Kennedy's Assassination

  • November 22, 1963, Kennedy was shot in the head in Dallas by a concealed rifleman
  • The alleged assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, was shot to death by self appointed avenger Jack Ruby
  • Official investigations could not pin down exact details of the cause of the assassination