Home > Cande = Conjecture & Exaggeration, Fande = Fact & Evidence, Music--The Universal Language > John F. Kennedy – A Transformative Figure in Human History

John F. Kennedy – A Transformative Figure in Human History

source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/21/John_F_Kennedy_Official_Portrait.jpg

“Many years ago the great British explorer George Mallory, who was to die on Mount Everest, was asked why did he want to climb it. He said, ‘Because it is there.’ Well, space is there, and we’re going to climb it, and the moon and the planets are there, and new hopes for knowledge and peace are there. And, therefore, as we set sail we ask God’s blessing on the most hazardous and dangerous and greatest adventure on which man has ever embarked.”

–President John F. Kennedy

* 50 years ago, he gave his inaugural address: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” President Kennedy introduced the bill that would become the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a few months after his assassination.

source: http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/presidents/johnfkennedy/

EXCERPT:

“Responding to ever more urgent demands, he took vigorous action in the cause of equal rights, calling for new civil rights legislation. His vision of America extended to the quality of the national culture and the central role of the arts in a vital society.

He wished America to resume its old mission as the first nation dedicated to the revolution of human rights. With the Alliance for Progress and the Peace Corps, he brought American idealism to the aid of developing nations. But the hard reality of the Communist challenge remained.

Shortly after his inauguration, Kennedy permitted a band of Cuban exiles, already armed and trained, to invade their homeland. The attempt to overthrow the regime of Fidel Castro was a failure. Soon thereafter, the Soviet Union renewed its campaign against West Berlin. Kennedy replied by reinforcing the Berlin garrison and increasing the Nation’s military strength, including new efforts in outer space. Confronted by this reaction, Moscow, after the erection of the Berlin Wall, relaxed its pressure in central Europe.

Instead, the Russians now sought to install nuclear missiles in Cuba. When this was discovered by air reconnaissance in October 1962, Kennedy imposed a quarantine on all offensive weapons bound for Cuba. While the world trembled on the brink of nuclear war, the Russians backed down and agreed to take the missiles away. The American response to the Cuban crisis evidently persuaded Moscow of the futility of nuclear blackmail.

Kennedy now contended that both sides had a vital interest in stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and slowing the arms race–a contention which led to the test ban treaty of 1963. The months after the Cuban crisis showed significant progress toward his goal of ‘a world of law and free choice, banishing the world of war and coercion.’ His administration thus saw the beginning of new hope for both the equal rights of Americans and the peace of the world.”

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