Madelyn Baker Pd 1

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  • 1960
  • Kennedy (Democrat) vs Nixon (Republican) vs Byrd (Democrat)
  • Kennedy won with 303 electoral votes (Nixon received 219; Byrd received 15)
  • Issues: space race
  • The New Frontier: Kennedy's plan: supports civil rights, space program push, cut taxes, increase spending for defense and military

Cold War

"Flexible Response"

  • Defense Secretary McNamara and Kennedy push this strategy
  • strategy: developing an array of military options that could be matched to the weight of the crisis at hand
  • build up nuclear weapons


  • Anti-Diem agitators wanted to overthrow pro-American government
  • 1961: Kennedy ordered increase in US troops in South Vietnam
  • American force allegedly entered to help political stability and to protect Diem from communists
  • Kennedy administration encouraged coup again Diem in November 1963
  • --- US contributed to process of political disintegration
  • Kennedy told the South Vietnamese that it was still "their war," but he sent in more than 15,000 men there by the time of his death


  • inherited from Eisenhower: scheme to topple Castro from power by invading Cuba with anticommunist exiles
  • April 17, 1961: 1,200 exiles landed in Bay of Pigs (Cuba)
  • Kennedy was against direct intervention from the start
  • invasion at Bay of Pigs: Kennedy didn't get involved, anti-Castroites surrendered
  • --- invaders were sent to Cuban jails, were traded for $62 million worth of American pharmaceutical drugs and humanitarian supplies
  • Castro became more communist as America continued efforts to assassinate him and after Bay of Pigs

Cuban Missile Crisis

  • spy planes saw that Soviets were installing nuclear-tipped missiles in Cuba
  • --- would be used to shield Cuba and blackmail United States into backing down at Berlin
  • October 22, 1962: Kennedy demanded naval quarantine of Cuba; demanded immediate removal of threatening weaponry
  • would regard an attack from Khrushchev (USSR) from Cuba as an attack from the Soviet Union (nuclear retaliation)
  • October 28: Khrushchev agreed partially to a compromise; he would pull missiles out of Cuba, USA agreed to end quarantine and not invade the island; would also remove some of missiles in Turkey targeted at USSR
  • after: Kennedy tried to lay foundation for realistic policy of coexistence with Soviet Union

Berlin Crisis

  • Khrushchev (Soviet leader) threatened to make a treaty with East Germany and cut off Western access to Berlin (Vienna: June 1961)
  • construction of Berlin wall began in August 1961
  • --- barbed-wire and concrete barrier to stop the population emptying from East Germany to West Germany
  • --- stood for three decades

Civil Rights

  • pledged to eliminate racial discrimination in housing; took him two years
  • needed support of southern legislators to pass economic and social legislation (esp. medical and educational bills)
  • Freedom Riders in South: to end segregation, some were torched by a white mob, led to anti-Freedom Ride riots
  • Kennedy ordered FBI director to wiretap Martin Luther King Jr.'s phone; after revelations that his adgvisers had communist affiliations (1963)
  • Voter Education Project: register South's black population
  • integrating southern universities would lead to slaughter
  • --- some desegregated okay, but University of Mississippi wouldn't accept it/fought back
  • Kennedy sent in 400 federal marshals and 3,000 troops to enroll James Meredith in his first class (has encountered violent opposition when he tried): 1962
  • Martin Luther King Jr. launched campaign against discrimination in Birmingham, Alabama (most segregated big city in America)
  • June 11, 1963: Kennedy gave televised speech, talked about racial issues beings moral issues
  • August: March on Washington by King: led 200,000 black and white demonstrators on peaceful march
  • --- on night of Kennedy's speech, Medgar Evers (black Mississippi civil rights worker was shot down by a white gunman
  • --- September 1963: explosion in Birmingham of Baptist church, killed four young black girls
  • Kennedy's civil rights bill wasn't making very much headway, led to frustration


  • November 22, 1963
  • was in open limousine in downtown Dallas, TX
  • shot in the brain
  • alleged assassin: Lee Harvey Oswald; was shot to death in front of television cameras by Jack Ruby (his avenger)
  • Vice President Johnson was sworn into presidency