american history passing
the torch to a new generation
richard nixon, ran for president against a massachusetts
senator, john f. kennedy.although both
were in their forties (it was the first time both major candidates had
born in the 20th century), both were wwii veterans, and both
been congressmen and senators, kennedy seemed to represent youth and
*eisenhower had used
effectively during his presidential campaigns, and television probably
deciding factor in 1960.that was the
first time the presidential debates were broadcast live, and although
raised good points (to such an extent that many radio listeners thought
won the debate), kennedy was tanned and handsome, while nixon was under
weather, sweaty, had a five o’clock shadow, and refused to wear makeup
cameras.people watching on television
*even though some
kennedy for being catholic, he won the election by a very narrow margin
popular vote (but a fairly wide margin in the electoral college),
youngest man to be elected president (although tr was younger when he
*in his inauguration
declared that the torch had been passed to a new generation, but said
also faced new challenges in the cold war.read the selections from his
address on page 615 and page 619.
*kennedy wanted to
build up the
military, both to close a ‘missile gap’ between the us
and to allow flexible responses to crises by recruiting more men for
and navy (especially the special forces).
*to gain support in
the third world
(mostly poor latin american, asian, and african countries not aligned
us or ussr) he offered more american aid and created the peace corps to
young americans on missions of freedom to foreign countries to offer
medical, and education assistance.
concerned about third world countries turning
communist because cuba
had done so in 1959 when fidel castro led a communist revolution there
soviet support).many cubans fled to florida
after losing their businesses, and they demanded the us
government help them win cuban freedom again.
*on 17 april, 1961,
cuban exiles led by the cia invaded cuba
at the bay of pigs.kennedy had promised their air support and
other assistance, but at the last minute, he changed his mind.most of the invaders were killed or captured.
*the next year
khrushchev placed nuclear missiles in cuba,
beginning the cuban missile crisis when they were discovered by
planes.kennedy blamed khrushchev for
bringing the world to the brink of war, although he also pushed the
towards war by blockading cuba to keep out any more soviet supplies
he called it a quarantine, because a blockade is an act of war).for thirteen days in october, 1962, it seemed
the world might be destroyed in a nuclear war, but in the end, the ussr
backed down and removed the missiles (in exchange for the us
removing missiles from turkey).in the end, it did not matter much, as both
sides developed icbms that could hit any part of the globe.
*after the cuban
missile crisis, the us
created a hot line—a direct telephone connection between washington
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so that the leaders of the two countries could discuss crises instantly.
was not the only problem. in
communist east germany, the government claimed that too many people
were coming to east germany from the cruel,
west.in fact, too many people were
leaving east germany to escape
stop this, the east german government decided to build an anti-fascist
protection wall. at 12/13 august 1961,
german army began to close the border with guards and barbed
wire. on 15
august, pre-fabricated concrete barriers were put in place along
the border, and eventually all of west berlin was surrounded by a
with barbed wire, machine gun towers, land mines, and other security
it. border guards were given orders to shoot anyone who tried to
and about 200 people were killed trying to do so (and many also
succeeded). on the western side of the wall there was no
west berliners covered it with graffiti.
west feared that east germany and the ussr would soon try to
take over all
of berlin, and sent more
troops to defend
it. in 1963 president john f. kennedy visited berlin and said that it
stood for all
the peoples divided by the iron curtain: two
thousand years ago the proudest boast was civis romanus sum [i
am a roman citizen]. today, in the world
of freedom, the proudest boast is 'ich bin ein berliner'... all free
wherever they may live, are citizens of berlin,
and, therefore, as a free man, i take pride in the words 'ich bin ein
*the berlin wall stood for 28 years as a physical manifestation of the
curtain. fences, guard posts, and land mines also ran the entire
of the inner german border and along the czechoslovakian borders with west germany and austria.
also increased the support that america gave the south vietnam, where a
was threatened by communism.
home, kennedy promised a new frontier that would improve the economy,
care, education, and civil rights.
equal pay act required equal pay for equal work, meant primarily to get
companies to pay women the same wages they paid men.although there were loopholes in this act, it
helped begin the process of getting equality for women in the workplace.
other areas of civil rights, kennedy moved cautiously, unwilling to
southern democrats.he did offer some
support for freedom riders and for black students who tried to enrol in
colleges, and he did support what later became the 1964 civil rights
did not live to see it enacted.
did not mind deficit spending (spending more than the government made)
finance his plans.he even supported
large tax cuts for middle-class americans so they would have more money
spend, while he raised taxes on the very wealthy to make up for it.
certainly needed this money, not only to enlarge the military but to
space race.not only did he pledge to
put a man on the moon by the end of the decade, but alan shepard became
first american in space (1961) and john glenn the first american to
earth (1962) while kennedy was president.
might have done much more as president (particularly in the area of
rights), but in november, 1963 he visited dallas.while riding in an open car through the city, he was
assassinated by lee
harvey oswald and lyndon johnson became president.although there have always been conspiracy
theories about kennedy’s murder, the warren commission determined that
had acted alone.