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Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Berlin Wall

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Travis Wardell

on 6 December 2017

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Transcript of Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Berlin Wall

Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Berlin Wall (1953-1963)
John F. Kennedy
35th US President from 1961-1963

Youngest president of the United States ever (elected at 43) and first Catholic

Youth, vigor, and charm made him a political celebrity

Championed social causes such as civil rights and poverty alongside MLK

His speeches, rather than legislation became his legacy

Believed in a 'flexible' military response to the Soviet Union
Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)
Nations that rejected alliances with either superpower
Sought neutrality in Cold War relations and peaceful resolution to conflict
Referred to as the 'Third World'
First World = NATO nations
Second World = Eastern bloc & allies
Third World = NAM nations
Founding nations: Yugoslavia, Egypt, India, Indonesia, and Ghana
Image by goodtextures: http://fav.me/d2he3r8
JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis
Stages of Flexible Response
Direct defense
- use of conventional weapons and tactics such as counter-insurgency

Deliberate escalation
- use of small scale nuclear arsenal such as nuclear artillery

General Nuclear Response
- Full use f nuclear arsenal - resulting in MAD
JFK's Assassination
Fall, 1963 - Kennedy prepares to run for his second term, delivering speeches in various states
Nov 22, 12:30PM While in his motorcade in Dallas, TX, Kennedy is shot in the head and neck from a great distance
Within 70 minutes Lee Harvey Oswald is arrested after firing upon and killing a police officer attempting an arrest
Oswald maintained his innocence but was publicly shot to death by Jack Ruby before he ever went to trial!
Warren commission concludes there was no conspiracy.
"Our problems are man-made, therefore they may be solved by man. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings."
Kennedy and the Cold War
"Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate"
Wanted to be tough without USSR resorting to MAD
Less rigid view of the divide between good/evil in the world
Pragmatist - Response based on context
Mixed bag of success and failure
Bay of Pigs invasion
"Domino theory" and Vietnam
Space Race
The Peace Corps
Cuban Missile Crisis
Test ban treaty
A World-Class Whodunnit?
No one knows for sure
Ruby dies shortly after due to an "embolism"
Everyone from the Hoover in the FBI, the mafia, LBJ, to Fidel Castro has been suspected
Many think there was a second shooter on the "grassy knoll," but never proven
Evidence tampering, witness intimidation, and confiscated film and photographs leave many questions
Over 1000 books have been written on the subject
70% of Americans believe the shooting was part of a larger plot - CONSPIRACY!
Leader of Soviet Union 1953-1964
Started the process of de-Stalinization
Return to Leninism
Peaceful coexistence
Millions of political prisoners released from Gulags
Hungary & Poland see this as the chance for change
Nikita Khrushchev and the 'Thaw'
Hungarian Revolt - 56
Soviet dominated since 1945
Poor social and economic situation in 1956
October, 1956 - Students and workers flood the streets demanding personal freedoms, more food, and removal of KGB, end of Russian control
Khrushchev allows multiple parties as a concession
Hungary wants to leave Warsaw Pact
Khrushchev orders Soviet army to re-establish order
30,000 dead & 200,000 flee to the West
Soviet power re-established
Olympic water polo turns water RED
Polish October
Death of First Secretary Bierut in 1956 leaves a leadership gap in communist Poland
Stalinist factions begin to disappear
Wyadaslaw Gomulka takes power and seeks a new 'Polish' form of socialism outside of direct Soviet control
Khrushchev sends in military and flies to Warsaw
Gomulka says he has no intention to remove Poland from Warsaw Pact
Khrushchev backs down and pulls out troops
First time USSR had compromised with a satellite state
Began with Khrushchev's Secret Speech
End of the cult of personality
Return to collective governance
Release of political prisoners
Re-naming of places (Stalingrad = Volgograd)
Removal of Stalin statues from EVERYWHERE!
Formed in 1961 in Yugoslavia
115 states
Mostly old colonies of European powers in the 'developing world'
Idea was to sit on the fence, but align if pressure became too great
Sino-Soviet split saw China join NAM
NAM Nations
Marshal Tito
Leader of Yugoslavia
Berlin Wall (1961-1990)
Lack of prosperity in the East vs. West
Average 250,000 East Germans flee to W. Berlin per year (1000 per day)
Soviets demand Allies recognize the East as it's own state and refuse refugees,
Summit at Vienna in 1961
Khrushchev to Kennedy
Remove military from West Germany within 6 months
Kennedy says NO!
Khrushchev orders Ulbricht to build the Wall
August 13-22 E. Germany tears up streets and lays down barbed wire fencing around the entirety of W. Berlin
Wall extends 28.5 miles from N to S
Germans leaving the E. Berlin drop dramatically
E. German troops instructed to shoot on sight
Effects of the Berlin Wall
Families divided, jobs lost, people killed (approx 100 1961-1989)
Some E. Germans tunneled under the wall over the course of weeks - 29 escaped
Kennedy orders U.S. troops not to tear down the wall to prevent going to war
Wall consistently reinforced over the decades to provide greater security
Two Takes on the Wall
West and Allies
Symbol of Soviet oppression
Why would an ideal state need to confine people?
Soviet attempt to contain
East Germany and USSR
Necessary to protect people from capitalist & fascist influences
Prevention of the brain drain
Best way to give communism a real shot in the world
Why the different outcomes?
With funds running short, and policies of Glasnost and Perestroika, little will remained to enforce the wall
Summer 1989, Hungary begins allowing loopholes to Austria and E. Germans flee in 1000s
Gorbachev instructs E. German leader to allow reforms
Orders troops to fire on defectors, but soldiers refuse
Thousands of E. & W. Germans march on the wall and begin tearing it down, brick by brick.
In 1990, communists are defeated in elections and the reunification of Germany is complete!
The Wall Falls
Question time!
What was the significance of Jack Kennedy in the Cold War?
"If we have to stand alone, we will stand by ourselves, whatever happens, and we propose to face all consquences... We do not agree with the communist teachings, we do not agree with anti-communist teachings, because they are both based on wrong principles" - Jawaharal Nehru (1956)
Question Time!
What do you think is the symbolic significance of the Berlin Wall?
Honecker, Brezhnev, & the fraternal kiss
Full transcript