kennedy

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  • Created on: 04-05-19 11:24

PRESIDENT JOHN KENNEDY

- President Kennedy was the son of Irish businessman Joseph Kennedy

- Kennedy served in the Second World War 

- in 1947, he was elected to the House of Representatives

- in 1953, he was elected to the Senate

- in 1960, he was elected to the White House

- he gained his Presidency through charisma, political savvy and wealth

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THE 1960 ELECTION

- the presidential election of 1960 had been the closest of the 20th century

- only 119,450 votes separated the two candidates, giving Kennedy a mandate of just 0.17%

- Kennedy, the Democrat candidate, won 34,227,096 popular votes

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NIXON'S STRENGTHS

- he had 13 years of experience in Congress, and had spent 8 years as Vice President to Eisenhower

- he had an established reputation as being staunchly anti-Communist

- he had plenty of foreign policy experience, through visits to Africa, South America, Vietnam and Moscow

- he came from a backround that people weren't priviledged against

- he chose Henry Cabot Lodge, an former Massachusetts senator as his Vice President

- he had strong support from California, which was his home state

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KENNEDY'S STRENGTHS

- he had proven himself as a war hero

- he was handsome, confident and tall (and since 1904, the taller candidate had won all but two of the elections)

- he had 13 years of experience in the Congress, including 7 in the Senate

- he had strong support from Democrats and Catholics in the north

- he appealed to African-American voters with his 'New Fronteir' promises

- he chose Lyndon B Johnson, an experienced Texan senator, as his Vice President

- he had financial and political support from his father, who made him connections and funded his campaign

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KENNEDY AS A WAR HERO

- whilst Kennedy was serving in the navy, a Japanese destroyer hit his boat

- Kennedy managed to rescue some of his crewmates, then swim from island to island until he found some friendly native people, whom he gave a coconut shell carved with a message to deliver to the naval base at Rendova so he and his crew could be rescued

- this bravery gave Kennedy an image of a 'GI Joe' character, who was strong and cunning, and led to his increased public image

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KENNEDY'S ELECTION CAMPAIGN

- in his election, Kennedy focused on addressing some of his percieved weaknesses, namely his Catholicism

- his religious backround threatened to damage his campain in the conservative, Protestant 'Bible Belt' of the South and Midwest

- he spoke with a group of Protestant ministers in Houston two months before the election, where he promised secularism 

- despite his best efforts, it is thought by psephologists that his Catholicism lost Kennedy 1.5 million votes

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KENNEDY'S ELECTION CAMPAIGN

- the key differences in the presentation of policies, and not the policies themselves, was the only real thing that distinguished between the two candidates

- Kennedy depicted Nixon and Eisenhower as having neglected defence in the US, by allowing the 'missile gap' to form between them and the Soviet Union, which gave the Soviet Union superiority in nuclear weaponry

- although this was eventually debunked, at the time it managed to damage Nixon's profile as being an accomplished foreign policy minister

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NIXON'S ELECTION CAMPAIGN

- Nixon, unexpectedly, focused on Kennedy's inexperience rather than his Catholicism

- he enforced his own anti-Communist stance with the example of the Hiss case

- he couldn't focus on his war efforts as much as Kennedy had done, as his service hadn't shown him as a valient soldier as Kennedy's had done, but instead as an efficient member of the logistics department, which was considerably less impressive for voters

- Nixon involved himself in debates about the economy, instead of just focusing on the economic successes of the Eisenhower Administration

- at this point, Eisenhower became increasingly involved in Nixon's election campaign, and supported him

- these developments for Nixon served to undermine some of Kennedy's strengths

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WHY KENNEDY WON THE ELECTION

- two events are most commonly cited as winning the election for Kennedy:

  • Kennedy's call to Martin Luther King's wife to inform her than her husband had been imprisoned suring a sit-in in Atlanta, which was heavily publicised in the black press and helped Kennedy in winning 70% of the black vote
  • the first televised debate, on the 26th of September, 6 weeks before the election

- Kennedy and his team prepared tirelessly for this debate, by ensuring that he was refreshed by not having any other appointments that day, and also tanned through his recent campaigning in Florida

- Kennedy wore a blue suit, which effectively contrasted with the grey backround, whilst Nixon's blended in with his grey suit

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WHY KENNEDY WON THE ELECTION

- Nixon at the time was recovering from a knee injury and the flu, making him appear sweaty and uneasy

- radio listeneners of the debates thought than Nixon had narrowly won the election, whereas the 74 million TV viewers percieved Kennedy to be the winner

- Kennedy had the advantage of effective marketing, with the experience of his father, and developed his campaign with tactics such as:

  • catchy jingles (eg. 'Kennedy for me')
  • photo opportunities featuring his glamorous wife
  • merchandise which was distributed in its thousands

- furthermore, there is speculations over voter fraud in Texas, Johnson's home state, but Nixon refused to take such allegations to court, as they may demonstrate him as being a sore loser, or cause a constitutional crisis

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WHY NIXON LOST THE ELECTION

- Nixon  was over-ambitious in his election campaign, and his pledge to campaign in all 50 states left him exhausted and ill

- in the 4 crucial televised debates, the audience perceived that Nixon was tired and sweaty, in contrast to the energetic and fresh Kennedy, which meant that television audiences judged Kennedy to be the victor by a wide margin, although radio audiences considered Nixon to have won the debates

- although Nixon also had experience of military service, his background in logistics was dull in comparison to Kennedy

 

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WHY NIXON LOST THE ELECTION

- Nixon rejected the opportunity to use Eisenhower in his campaign, which was perceived to be arrogant, and proved unpopular

- Nixon suffered as a result of a number of errors made by President Eisenhower:

  • the 1959 budget deficit of $13 billion led to Eisenhower introducing significant spending cuts that triggered a recession in 1960
  • Eisenhower also refused to refute Kennedy’s inaccurate claims that there was a ‘missile gap’

- Nixon’s Vice President, Henry Cabot Lodge, ostracised southern voters by promising a black cabinet member

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KENNEDY'S VICTORY

- Kennedy's victory was seen as a new dawn for America by many

- the image of a handsome, young President with a healthy family provided America with hope of a new era with America rooted in strength and service

- Kennedy made his renowned 'New Frontier' speech on the 15th of July 1960, at Memorial Coliseum in LA

- 'the New Frontier is here whether we seek it or not'

- 'beyond that Frontier are uncharted areas of science and space, unsolved problems of peace and war, unconquered problems of ignorance and prejudice, unanswered problems of ignorance and prejudice, unanswered questions of poverty and surplus'

- 'I'm asking each of you to be pioneers towards that New Frontier'

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DEAN RUSK

- appointed as Secretary of State by President Kennedy in 1961

- in this post he had to deal with the Cuban Missile Crisis and the country's growing involvement in the Vietnam War.

- he had a tense relationship with Kennedy, who felt like the state department did little

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LYNDON BAINES JOHNSON

- Johnson did not play a major role in President Kennedy's administration, however he did balance out the Democratic representation between North and South

- Kennedy was especially disappointed that his vice president was unable to persuade Congress to accept most of his domestic program

- issues such as tax reform, civil rights and a proposed Medicare system did not get the support he had hoped for and got bogged down in Congress

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BOBBY KENNEDY

- when John F. Kennedy was elected he appointed his brother as U.S. Attorney General, on the instruction of his father, despite the blatant favouritism

- Robert Kennedy played a key role in dealing with the CORE freedom rides, and developing Civil Rights legislation

- he also advised the President in foreign policy, particularly regarding Cuba and Vietnam

- he too was assasinated in 1968, whilst campaigning for the Presidency

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MCGEORGE BUNDY

- Bundy was an academic and former Harvard dean. 

- he served as Kennedy and then Johnson's National Security Advisor from 1961 to 1966

- he was involved in the Bay of Pigs invasion, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and most significntly, increased US involvement in the Vietnam War

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THE NEW FRONTIER

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THEODORE SORENSEN

- Sorensen was Kennedy's official speech-writer

- he was also the coordinator of planning for domestic policy and had a key role in formulating Kennedy's recommendations to Congress

- Sorensen was also a member of the executive committee that Kennedy set up to advise him during the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962

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ROBERT MCNAMARA

- McNamara was the former President of the Ford Motor Company, and was appointed as Secretary of Defense of the United States under Kennedy, despite being a Republican

- he was so influential in the policy making in Vietnam, some have called the Vietnam War ‘McNamara’s War’

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SOCIAL SUCCESSES OF THE NEW FRONTIER

- Kennedy’s focus on social reform was a positive federal response to criticisms of the state of the USA, as listed by Michael Harrington, the author of ‘The Other America’

- Kennedy managed to provide a clear definition of poverty (a family of 4 on an income of less than $3,000 per year), and also identified specific causes such as low wages, poor health, old age, ethnicity, and poor education

- Kennedy raised awareness of poverty through passionate and provocative speeches, such as his focus on the need to ‘make war on poverty.’

- Kennedy’s Omnibus Housing Act of 1961 granted $5 billion for the extension of existing housing and urban renewal programmes, whilst also authorising low-interest  loans to help lower middle income families purchase homes, and led to 100,00 new homes being constructed

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SOCIAL SUCCESSES OF THE NEW FRONTIER

- Kennedy pioneered environmental reform, by protecting urban open spaces and national parks, and under the terms of the 1963 Clean Air Act,  car and industrial fume pollution was restricted

- Kennedy utilised executive power to direct the Department for Agriculture to double food distribution to the poor, by introducing a pilot food stamp programme which provided 240,000 people will food at a cost of $22 million per annum

- Kennedy passed the Social Security Amendment Act of 1961, which expanded benefits for the elderly and the disabled

- Kennedy was able to pass a Higher Education Facilities Act in 1963 which granted $145 million in grants for graduate schools in science, language and engineering, however this was basically just an extension of Eisenhower’s 1958 National Defence Education Act

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SOCIAL SUCCESSES OF THE NEW FRONTIER

- Kennedy extended Eisenhower’s school lunch and milk programmes, meaning that 700,000 more children had access to hot lunches, and 85,000 more schools, camps and child care centres received fresh milk

- Kennedy introduced a new universal healthcare bill for the elderly called Medicare, along with new funding plans for nursing homes

- the Social Security Act of 1963 provided federal funds to pay for a vaccination programme, which protected millions of American children from contagious diseases

- the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1963 imposed federal regulations on therapeutic drugs

 

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SOCIAL SUCCESSES OF THE NEW FRONTIER

- the Health Professions Educational Assistance Act of 1963 provided $175 million over a three-year period for grants for the construction of facilities for teaching physicians, dentists, nurses, pharmacists, and other health professionals, and also created a loan program of up to $2000 per annum for students of optometry, dentistry, and medicine

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SOCIAL FAILURES OF THE NEW FRONTIER

- Kennedy’s Medicare programme was rejected by Congress

- although Kennedy’s broader education reform proposals were passed by the Senate, they were rejected by the House of Representatives, and so weren't enacted, which resulted in the issue of poor funding for elementary and secondary education continuing

- Kennedy’s proposal for the creation of a Department of Urban Affairs and Housing, in order to combat urban decline and better coordinate housing was rejected by Congress repeatedly between 191612 and 1962, and so, the expansion in housing in the early 1960s benefitted developers and construction companies more than it benefitted families seeking affordable housing

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ECONOMIC SUCCESSES OF THE NEW FRONTIER

- Kennedy generated economic optimism with his presidential campaign promise to ‘get America moving again.’

- the Minimum Wage Act raised the minimum wage by 25 cents to $1.25, which benefitted 3.6 million of the poorest workers in the USA

- the Trade Expansion Act and the Revenue Act of 1962 cut business taxes and provided $1 billion in tax credits to boost trade and stimulate employment

- Kennedy’s Housing Act created 420,000 construction jobs

- the Manpower Development and Training Act of 1962 provided funding for the re-training of workers made unemployed due to automation and technological developments, and by 1963, 351 retraining programmes were operating in 40 states, and providing training for 12,600 trainees

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ECONOMIC SUCCESSES OF THE NEW FRONTIER

- under Kennedy there was a 20% increase in spending on defence, science and technology and the space programme (eg. NASA’s budget was doubled), which amounted to a total of $25 billion, and although this was driven by Cold War and Space Race concerns, it did encourage domestic prosperity

- Kennedy encouraged Federal spending and for state authorities to generate employment through federal grants to pay for the construction of schools, highways, and housing

- the Food and Agriculture Act of 1962 provided federal subsidies to support farmers

- the Federal Salary Reform Act of 1962 established the principle of maintaining federal white-collar wages at a level with those paid to employees performing similar jobs in private enterprises

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ECONOMIC FAILURES OF THE NEW FRONTIER

- although Kennedy believed that tax cuts were essential to stimulate the economy, his proposed $10 billion tax cut was not put before Congress until 1963, and then rejected, and remained unpassed at the time of his death.

- Kennedy’s tax and revenue legislation only succeeded in providing tax relief for businesses, so ersonal taxes were not reduced

- the retraining programmes established by the 1962 Manpower Development and Retraining Act did little to reduce the levels of unemployment

- despite the 1962 Food and Agriculture Act, rural poverty remained disproportionately high

- the Minimum Wage Act failed to provide coverage for up to 500,000 of the most vulnerable ‘sweated labourers’ in the USA, especially 150,000 African-American laundry workers in the Deep South

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LIMITATIONS OF THE NEW FRONTIER

- Kennedy's 'New Frontier' lacked the contextual advantages that FDR had used to aid him in his passing of the 'New Deal', and various factors made it hard for Kennedy to pass all his legislation:

  • foreign policy concerns in Cuba, Berlin and Vietnam had to be the central focus of his Presidency
  • he had a small mandate
  • he was a Northern Democrat and feared splitting his party by ostracising the Dixiecrats
  • his advisers, who were largely young and idealistic, were frustrated by the slow pace of change
  • he only served 1036 days before his assasination in November 1963
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ECONOMIC FAILURES OF THE NEW FRONTIER

- Kennedy’s attempts to generate employment whilst also keeping inflation low led him into conflict with US steel over prices rises that were greater than wage increases and productivity levels, which threatened increased inflation 

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RELATIONS BETWEEN KENNEDY AND KRUSHCHEV

- in June 1961, Kennedy and Khrushchev met for the first time, at a summit in Vienna

- here they discussed the ongoing problem in Berlin, the situation regarding Cuba, and the issue of Laos where US support of a right wing government was being provided to prevent the Communist organisation of Pathet Lao

- although Kennedy stood firm on these issues, he privately admitted that Krushchev had 'savaged' him

- Krushchev percieved Kennedy as likeable but naive, which informed the action he took to solve the problem in Berlin

- on the 13th of August 1961, a barbed wire barrier was erected between East and West Berlin, which was shortly developed into a wall, and prevented the movement of people between East and West Berlin

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RELATIONS BETWEEN KENNEDY AND KRUSHCHEV

- Kennedy acted calmly about the construction of the wall, and said that a wall was better than a war

- this lack of action wasn't criticised by the media or fellow Republicans, as the crisis was only percieved as being a crisis in Germany

- Krushchev on the other hand, saw Kennedy's lack of action as evidence of the impression that he had gotten at the Vienna summit, and that he could be pushed around at the advantage of the Soviet Union

- in June 1963, Kennedy travelled to West Berlin to demonstrate US commitment to the city, and gave one of his most famous speeches, in which he stressed US commitment to the upholding of freedom internationally

- in 1963, Krushchev summarised Berlin's role in his plan when he said 'Berlin is the testicle of the West. When I want the West to scream, I squeeze on Berlin'

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FIDEL CASTRO

- Castro fought against dictatorships in the Dominican Republic and Colombia along side Che Guevara

- in Cuba, he became Prime Minister in 1959, and converted to Communism, through which he developed close relations with the USSR

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CASTRO'S CUBA

- in January 1959, Fidel Castro deposed Batista, who had been dictator of Cuba and was supported by the USA

- this saw Cuba transformed into a Socialist country, that was a short 100 miles from the US

- Castro nationalised many American businesses in Cuba, and many sympathisers of the Batista regime fled to the US

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THE CHALLENGE OF CASTRO'S CUBA

- Eisenhower had failed to tackle the issue of Cuba, but had instructed the CIA to formulate a plot to overthrow Castro using Cuban exiles now in Florida

- prior to this, Castro had humiliated the US by attending the General Assembly Meeting of the United Nations in NY and meeting Krushchev, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, Indian Premier Jawaharlal Nehru, and Malcom X

- Kennedy inherited Eisenhower's CIA plan, and decided to authorise it to demonstrate his strength

 

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THE BAY OF PIGS

- in April 1961, the invasion at the Bay of Pigs was carried out

- it was a disaster, as the majority of the exiles involved were captured, and those that escaped failed to persuade the Cuban people to rise up against Castro

- the failed invasion painted Kennedy as incapable at foreign policy, and made Krushchev think he could be easily pushed around

- this perception was confirmed when Kennedy took little action over the building of the Berlin Wall, which allowed Krushchev to push a bit further

- Krushchev did this by forming a closer relationship with Castro, and in October 1962, placed Soviet missiles on Cuba, which brought many US cities within range of Soviet missiles

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THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS

- the Cuban Missile Crisis may be the closest the world has ever come to nuclear war, and were some of the most tense 13 days for the people of the US

- the aggressive pace of the events of the crisis demonstrates how serious the issue was at the time

- on the 22nd of October 1962, Kennedy made a televised address to the people of the US, in which he said 'I call upon Chairman Krushchev to halt and eliminate this clandestine, reckless, and provocative threat to world peace, and to stabilise relations between our two nations'

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THE EVENTS OF THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS

15th of October - a U2 plane finds evidence of missiles positioned in Cuba

18th of October - Robert Kennedy is told that the missiles in Cuba are only for defence

19th of October - Ex-Comm suggests quarantining Cuba

22nd of October - President Kennedy delivers a telivised speech to the nation

23rd of October - Soviet ships on their way to Cuba are stopped by Krushchev

24th of October - Krushchev refuses to remove the missiles from Cuba

25th of October - Kennedy orders flights over Cuba to be increased to twice a day

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THE EVENTS OF THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS

26th of October - Krushchev asks Kennedy not to invade Cuba in return for him dismantling the missile sights, which he agrees to

27th of October - Kennedy is also asked to remove US missiles from Turkey, and agrees

28th of October - Kruschev gives a speech saying he agrees to Kennedy's agreement

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THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS

- General Le May considered Cuba to be 'the greatest defeat in our history', due to the removal of US missiles from Turkey and Italy as a result of peace negotiations

- however, Kennedy had managed to avoid nuclear destruction, and recieved his first widespread public approval since the Bay of Pigs

- the missiles were then removed from Cuba within weeks, and a hotline established between the White House and the Kremlin to ensure easier communication between the two leaders if a crisis like this ever occured again

- Krushchev was weakened by the crisis, and Communist hardliners began to erode his power, leading to his deposition two years later

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THE DANGER OF THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS

- the Doomsday Clock demonstrated the crisis had a rating of twelve minutes to midnight, and the US military rated it at DEFCON 2, the highest state of military readiness ever recorded

- the danger at the time felt very real, and many thought that the end of the world as we know it was nigh

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US INVOLVEMENT IN VIETNAM

- with the Berlin Wall seeming to resolve the situation in Europe, Cold War developments turned to countries such as Vietnam

- Vietnam bordered Communist China, and Laos, in which the US was supporting a Catholic government against Communist takeover

- the leader of South Vietnam, the Catholic Ngo Dinh Diem, had US support but was hated by Vietnamese people for his persecution of the Buddhist majority

- by 1960, such persecution pushed the Communist North to encourage an uprising in the South, with the intention of overthrowing Diem and unifying the nation, which would've been a clear example of the domino theory

- at the beggining, Kennedy paid little attention to the situation in Vietnam, with Bobby Kennedy even saying 'Vietnam, Vietnam... we have thirty Vietnams a day here'

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US INVOLVEMENT IN VIETNAM

- Kennedy, with the agreement of McNamara, saw Vietnam as a military rather than political problem, and so dealt with the issue by building up a group of advisers there and providing aid to Diem

- at the start of Kennedy's Presidency, there were 800 US advisers in South Vietnam, but by 1963, there were 23,000, and a Southern Vietnamese army of 250,000

- the US advisers aimed to support the South Vietnamese army in their fight against the Vietcong, yet not by engaging in active combat

- to counteract the guerilla warfare used by the 12,000 strong Vietcong, Kennedy took on a tactic of 'flexible response', which employed various methods of fighting and propaganda

 

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US INVOLVEMENT IN VIETNAM

- one such method was the 'strategic hamlets', which involved the movement of Vietnamese people from their villages to fortified communities protected by South Vietnamese soldiers, and out of the way of Vietcong influence

- this was resented by the peasants who were forcibly moved, and didn't manage to prevent them receiving Vietcong influences

- the Vietcong also managed to get the support of the peasants, through treating them with respect and buying them food, similar to how Mao's People's Liberation Army had operated

 

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FOREIGN POLICY SUCCESSES IN EUROPE

- at the Vienna Summit, Kennedy maintained the USA’s commitment to defending West Berlin

- Kennedy’s defence of Berlin was careful and not provocative, with 40,000 troops  sent to Europe, reserves called up, and $3.25 billion requested from Congress in response to Soviet threats to cut off Berlin

- Kennedy resisted pressure from US General Clay for a military response to the erection of the Wall in 1961

- Kennedy’s visit to Berlin was a propaganda victory that reasserted the US commitment to containment 

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FOREIGN POLICY FAILURES IN EUROPE

- at the Vienna Summit, Kennedy privately admitted that he had been ‘savaged’ by Khrushchev

- Kennedy’s relatively limited response to the construction of the Wall seemed to confirm Khrushchev’s perception of him as being weak, and may have contributed to Soviet ambition in Cuba

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FOREIGN POLICY SUCCESSES IN CUBA

- in spite of the Bay of Pigs debacle, Kennedy’s aggressive stance against Communism helped him receive an 82% approval rating in the polls.

- Kennedy’s handling of the Missile Crisis, militarily and politically was calm and astute, by resisting demands for an invasion and airstrike, not retaliating when a U2 was shot down, winning the propaganda war with the quarantine strategy, and not admitting publically to US ICBMs being withdrawn in Europe

- Kennedy received international acclaim for his diplomacy

- Kennedy played in key role in the agreement of the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

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FOREIGN POLICY FAILURES IN CUBA

- Kennedy was humiliated and heavily criticised for his authorisation of the Bay of Pigs invasions, and the ongoing CIA plots to overthrow and assassinate Castro, which in the end only served to consolidate Castro’s popularity in Cuba

- key figures in the US military such as General Le May regarded the Cuban Missile Crisis as the ‘greatest defeat’ in the history of the US Army

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FOREIGN POLICY SUCCESSES IN VIETNAM

- Kennedy maintained the US commitment to containment in Asia by sending 16,000 advisors to South Vietnam, along with US Ambassador, Henry Cabot Lodge, and funding the expansion of the South Vietnamese Army to 250,000

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FOREIGN POLICY FAILURES IN VIETNAM

- Kennedy has been accused of being slow to recognise the complexity of the situation in Vietnam, and ignoring sound advice from both Macmillan and de Gaulle

- the main US strategy in Vietnam, the Strategic Hamlet Programme,was flawed, as it was resented by the South Vietnamese, and failed to stop the Viet Cong

- Kennedy’s association with Diem was politically damaging, as Diem’s unpopularity contributed to the wave of Buddhist self-immolation protests, and Kennedy’s administration and the CIA were complicit in Diem’s assassination in 1963

- Kennedy allowed technocrat advisors like Robert Macnamara spread the view that the USA would easily win any escalated conflict in Vietnam

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US INVOLVEMENT IN VIETNAM

- the persecution of the Buddhist majority saw the self-immolation of Buddhist monk, Thich Quang Duc, in 1963

- his image was famous worldwide, bringing criticism of the USA's role in supporting Diem, and even shocked Kennedy

- the CIA became aware of a plot by one of Diem's own generals to assasinate him, which the US didn't interevene in, leading to Diem's death

- Kennedy continued US involvement in Vietnam to show himself as a strong leader, reassure that containment was being upheld, and stand up to the USSR

- General Westmoreland, who took over as Commander in Vietnam from McNamara in 1964, said that the USA's part in Diem's assasination meant they must remain in Vietnam to sort out the mess it had created

 

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KENNEDY'S APPEAL TO THE BLACK VOTE

- in interviews with African-American newspapers, Kennedy promised to abolish racial discrimination in federal housing

- he also made a public intervention into King's case when he was convicted after a sit-in in Atlanta

- Kennedy made a call to King's wife, Coretta, to offer his support, whilst Bobby Kennedy made efforts to get King out of jail

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THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT BEFORE KENNEDY

- after the civil rights developments through Brown, the Montgomery Bus Boycott and Little Rock, the pace of progress had slowed in the later Eisenhower years

- Martin Luther King Jr had founded his own civil rights organisation, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), in 1957, which was based upon the success of Billy Graham's crusades

- the SCLC's efforts, however, which included non-violent protests, were faced with resistance from the police, the White Citizens' Councils, the KKK, and some black church leaders who feared white retaliation

- this meant that the civil rights movement struggled to make progress, and there had to be a new way of making an impact

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THE SIT-INS

- on February the 1st 1960, 4 African-American students (Franklin McCain, Joseph McNeil, Ezell Blair Jr and David Richmond) staged a sit-in at a Woolworths food counter in Greensboro, North Carolina

- sit-in protests had been used by CORE previously, but neither CORE, the SCLC or the NAACP offered support to the students in these sit-ins

- the Greensboro sit-in received extensive news and television coverage.

- by January 1961, as Kennedy was about to take office, 70,000 black and white students had participated in sit-ins in 54 cities across 9 states in the South

- the sit-ins prompted the formation of the Student Non-violent Co-ordinating Committee, SNCC, in April 1961, at Shaw University, Raleigh, North Carolina

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FEDERAL RESPONSES TO THE SIT-INS

- President Kennedy didn't intervene directly

- however, Kennedy did secure the release of Martin Luther King Jr from prison, after his arrest for participating in a sit-in in October 1960

- the Supreme Court  ruled that the segregation of buses was illegal following the subsequent NAACP court case, Browder vs Gayle, in 1956, which led to the desegregation of buses in Montgomery

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SEGREGATIONIST REPONSES TO THE SIT-INS

- white segregationists responded to the sit-ins by taunting and assaulting the demonstrators  

- by July 1961, the financial impact of the sit-ins forced the segregationists to begin to back down

- Woolworths had lost an estimated $200,000 from the boycotting of segregated stores, and the violence which inhibited potential customers, leading to the  gradual desegregation of lunch counters between 1961 and 1965

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THE FREEDOM RIDES

- in the spring of 1961, CORE aimed to repeat their 1947 Journey of Reconciliation, in an attempt to further the cause of desegregating inter-state bus travel, which had remained segregated in the South despite key Supreme Court  rulings, such as Morgan v Virginia in 1947, and Boynton v Virginia in 1960

- the original Freedom Riders comprised of 13 riders, 7 black, and 6 white, and were led by CORE Director, James Farmer, then leading up to July 1961, another 60 rides took place, involving 300 riders

- the CORE Freedom Riders adhered to their commitment to non-violence,yet the violent reaction this provoked from Southern whites forced Federal government to act

- the Freedom Rides did also, however, expose divisions between CORE, the SNCC and the SCLC

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FEDERAL RESPONSES TO THE FREEDOM RIDES

- President Kennedy didn't intervene personally

- however, the Kennedy administration did support CORE’s  Freedom Rides through Attorney General Robert Kennedy and the Justice Department's intervention on several occasions

- Robert Kennedy forced the Democrat Governors of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana to allow the ‘Freedom Ride’  to pass through their states, and to guarantee their safety

- Robert Kennedy also demanded that the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) enforce their own 1955 ruling to implement the desegregation of interstate buses

- finally, on the 1st of November 1961, the ICC gave in and issued instruction for interstate buses and travel facilities to be desegregated

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SEGREGATIONIST REPONSES TO THE FREEDOM RIDES

- the Freedom Riders were met with intimidation and violence, on several occasions, in Rock Hill, Anniston and Alabama

- in Montgomery the riders were attacked with baseball bats, yet the police refused to intervene, and medics refused to treat the wounded riders

- the most infamous incident took place at  Anniston on 14 May 1961, where the buses were attacked by a white mob, who fire-bombed and the riders beaten, yet  the local police still refused to intervene

- the original two groups of Freedom Riders were prevented from reaching their planned destination of New Orleans, Louisiana, due to violence in Birmingham

- the second ride wasn't much more succesful, and was ended by mass arrests at Jackson, Mississippi on the 25th May 1961

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THE ALBANY CAMPAIGN

- after the SNCC’s successful lunch-counter sit-ins in 1960, three SNCC activists (Charles Sherrod, Cordell Reagon and Charles Jones) attempted to escalate their campaign of forced integration by staging a number of sit-ins at libraries, parks, swimming pools, and by organising protest marches and boycotts in Albany, Georgia, in response to the city’s refusal to implement the ICC’s bus desegregation policy

- with the Albany campaign stagnating, local groups invited Martin Luther King and the SCLC to join the Albany  movement, which prompted criticism from the SNCC.

- King was arrested, and despite choosing jail, had his fine paid by state authorities, which forced him to abandon his role in the campaign in August 1962

- divisions between the SCLC, SNCC, NAACP and CORE became more pronounced, and some SNCC members even began to consider violent protest

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FEDERAL RESPONSES TO THE ALBANY CAMPAIGN

- President Kennedy didn't intervene

- Attorney General Robert Kennedy urged the Albany authorities to desegregate, but had no success

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SEGREGATIONIST REPONSES TO THE ALBANY CAMPAIGN

- the actions of the SNCC had been studied by Albany’s police chief, Laurie Pritchett, who changed the tactics of the white segregationist authorities

- he demanded that officers treat black protestors with respect in public, that they prevented racist violence, that local jails be utilised to prevent over-crowding in cells, and to ensure that  high-profile civil rights leaders, like Martin Luther King,  were treated with dignity. 

- these tactics weren't designed to aid black campaigners in any way, but to deny the SNCC protest media attention, and it succeeded in thwarting the previous successes of ‘direct action’

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JAMES MEREDITH AND OLE MISS

- James Meredith had served in the US Air Force from 1951 to 1960, and, inspired by Kennedy's New Frontier speech, decided to apply to the University of Mississippi

- despite various court complications from Democrat Governor, Ross Barnet, Meredith successfully enrolled on the 1st of October 1962

- riots followed his enrolment, in which two people were killed, and 500 US marshalls were brought in to maintain order, a third of which were also injured in the riots

- Meredith graduated in August 1963, with a degree in political science from 'Ole Miss', and the whole event was an example of the Kennedys being willing to intervene in civil rights when necessary to do so

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FEDERAL RESPONSES TO JAMES MEREDITH AND OLE MISS

- President Kennedy didn't intervene in the Meredith case

- Attorney General Robert Kennedy mobilised 500 US Marshals and the 70th Army Engineer Combat Battalion in order to maintain order in Mississippi and curb the rioting of the enraged white segregationists

- President Kennedy did ,however, intervene in response to Governor Wallace’s refusal to allow two black students access to the University of Alabama by federalising the Alabama National Guard to force Wallace to comply with federal law regarding the desegregation of educational facilities

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SEGREGATIONIST REPONSES TO JAMES MEREDITH AND OLE

- in response to Meredith’s admission, there were riots in Mississippi, in which 2 people were killed, along with 150 US Marshalls and 40 soldiers injured

- the media attention won by Governor Barnett in his stand against integration inspired other Southern Democrat leaders

- in June 1963 Governor George Wallace of Alabama promised ‘segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever,’ and blocked the access of two black students to the University of Alabama

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BIRMINGHAM

- Martin Luther King and the SCLC targeted the Alabama city of Birmingham for a campaign of ‘direct action', in which they staged a series of marches, boycotts and sit-ins in April 1963

- Martin Luther King was arrested , jailed, and detained in solitary confinement

- in jail, King penned his ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’ on toilet paper in response to the condemnation of the civil rights protest in The Birmingham News  

- in King’s absence, SCLC organiser James Bevel arranged for school children and teenagers to join the direct action protests, yet was met with a brutal response from the Birmingham police to these young protesters, causing a media sensation both in the USA and abroad, and a huge propaganda victory for the SCLC and the civil rights movement

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FEDERAL RESPONSES TO BIRMINGHAM

- President Kennedy did, for once, intervene

- Following King’s arrest, King’s wife, Coretta Scott, telephoned the President, and Kennedy managed to secure King’s release from jail

- Kennedy also made a public statement that he was ‘sickened’ by the images of police brutality in Birmingham

- Attorney General Robert Kennedy sent his chief civil rights advisor, Burke Marshall, to negotiate desegregation in Birmingham with moderate businessmen from the city, led by Albert Boutwell

- in response to the Birmingham protests, and Governor Wallace’s promise to maintain segregation, President Kennedy made his national address on the 1th1 June 1963, in which he made clear his commitment to a civil rights bill

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SEGREGATIONIST REPONSES TO BIRMINGHAM

- Birmingham was regarded as the most racist city in the South by civil rights activists, and nicknamed ‘Bombingham’ as a result

- Birmingham police chief, Eugene ‘Bull’ Connor's response to the SCLC protests was brutal

- the protesters (including children) were clubbed, were set upon by police dogs, and subjected to high pressure fire hoses. 

- Connor had 500 black youths arrested and imprisoned, which actually fulfilled the SCLC’s aim of ‘filling the jails’ to expose the racism and intolerance of the South

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SEGREGATIONIST REPONSES TO BIRMINGHAM

- following federal intervention in Birmingham, Ku Klux Klan members bombed the house of Martin Luther King’s brother, and King’s own motel room

- a later assassination attempt on King in September resulted in the deaths of 4 young girls in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing

 

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THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

- aware that non-violent direct action protest was losing popularity, the March on Washington For Jobs and Freedom was organised by the ‘Big Six’ leaders of the different  civil rights groups (James Farmer of CORE, John Lewis of the SNCC, Martin Luther King of the SCLC, Whitney Young of the National Urban League, Roy Wilkins of the NAACP, and Bayard Rustin and A. Philip Randolph of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters)

- 250,000 attended the event, a quarter of whom were white., along with celebrity figures who supported the civil rights movement, such as Joan Baez, Bob Dylan,  Marlon Brando, Burt Lancaster and Paul Newman

- the most iconic moment of the event was Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, which contributed to him being named Time magazine’s 1963 Man of the Year, and awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964

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FEDERAL RESPONSES TO THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

- President Kennedy was initially reluctant to allow the march to go ahead, fearing a violent repetition of events seen in Birmingham

- Kennedy prepared by having 19,000 troops soldiers stationed in the Washington suburbs, ready to respond to any violence, but the event was peaceful and no arrests were made

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SEGREGATIONIST REPONSES TO THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

- despite Kennedy’s introduction of a civil rights bill, and the success of the March on Washington, the Republicans and Southern Democrats in Congress remained unmoved, and the bill was blocked

- an assasination attempt on King in September resulted in the deaths of 4 young girls in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, and was a further reminder of the extent of white resistance to desegregation

- there was also criticism from more extreme black civil rights groups, such as Malcolm X, a leading figure in the Nation of Islam, who mocked King for being a ‘chump’, and was dismissive of the ‘Farce on Washington’, calling it a ‘picnic’ and a ‘circus’

- the assassination of President Kennedy in November 1963 seemed to have stopped the progress of civil rights in its tracks

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THE CELEBRITY FACTOR OF THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

- the March on Washington can be seen as the point when celebrities came out in force to demand civil rights

- singers such as Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Harry Belafonte and Mahalia Jackson performed at the march

- actors, writers, baseball players, and many other public figures were in attendance

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CIVIL RIGHTS IN THE NORTH

- 'In New York City, some of my friends call 80 Warren Street 'the slave market'... its corridors are lined with employment agency offices' - Michael Harrington, 'The Other America'

- the 1960 Civil Rights Commission found that 57% of black housing was of substandard quality, which contributed to the life expectancy of black people being seven years less than that of white people

- the de facto segregation of the North remained, continually enforced through poor housing, low quality schooling, and a lack of local voting rights

- the Nation of Islam had gained increased awareness through Malcom X's appearance in 'The Hate that Hate Produced'

- in 1960, Malcom X met with Castro and Nasser at the United Nations meeting

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OPPOSITION TO CIVIL RIGHTS

- the general population was a massive opponent to civil rights developments in this period

- from the general population would form mobs, when manipulated by politicians or the press, and would be the source of racist taunting for many civil rights campaigners

- Hazel Massery was iconically pictured hurling abuse at Elizabeth Eckford during the Little Rock Crisis

- also, more extreme examples include the murder of black waitress, Hattie Carroll, by William Zantzinger 

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OPPOSITION TO CIVIL RIGHTS

- White Citizens' Councils or 'Country Club Klans', were strong opponents of the civil rights movement

- the first White Citizens' Council was formed in 1954 by Robert Patterson, and within just a few years, had a nationwide membership of 60,000

- politicians saw it as more acceptable to join the Council than the KKK, which brought the Council considerable political acclaim

- furthermore, the middle-class nature of the Council members (businessmen, bank managers, newspaper producers) facilitated the spread of propaganda

- influential Council members would 'encourage' their staff not to join marches or civil rights organisations, with clear threats on their jobs if they did so

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OPPOSITION TO CIVIL RIGHTS

- the Third Klu Klux Klan was one of the most extreme opponents of the civil rights movement

- they were responsible for a number of deaths, such as that of NAACP member, Medgar Evers, in 1963

- they also carried out the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham

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OPPOSITION TO CIVIL RIGHTS

- the most influential group of civil rights opponents were the Dixiecrats, whose political careers were directed at obstructing desegregation, through various means such as:

  • filibustering
  • rejecting civil rights bills and rousing popular sentiment against desegregation

- some of the most severe Dixiecrats were Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, Richard Russell of Georgie, and Harry Byrd of Virginia

- state governers, such as Orbal Faubus from Arkansas, were also known to use their power to obstruct Kennedy's attempts to enforce desegregationist legislation in the South

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KENNEDY'S RESPONSE TO CIVIL RIGHTS CAMPAIGNS

- the events of Birmingham and Washington made Kennedy draft a Civil Rights Bill which was far more encompassing than either of Eisenhower's Civil Rights Acts

- it included the promise to give everyone 'the right to be served in facilities which are open to the public' 

- the bill was then strengthened in the Committee stage, by Emmanuel Celler, who added provisions to ban racial discrimination in employment and all publically-owned facilities, and also strengthened the anti-segregation clauses regarding public facilities

- in November, however, the bill was moved from Celler's committee to that of Dixiecrat Howard Smith, who made it clear that he would do all he could to delay the passing of the bill

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KENNEDY'S CIVIL RIGHTS SUCCESSES

- the federal government appointments, 1961-63

  • Kennedy appointed over 40 African-Americans to prominent positions in government, including the NAACP lawyer Thurgood Marshall who was one of 5 African-Americans made  US court judges
  • Robert C. Weaver was made responsible for the Housing and Home Finance Agency. 
  • Carl Rowan was made Assistant Secretary of State
  • however, a white lawyer, Harris Wofford, was appointed special assistant to the president on civil rights, which meant that black people weren't able to represent themselves totally in the issue which mattered most
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KENNEDY'S CIVIL RIGHTS SUCCESSES

- the Executive Order 10925 of 1961:

  • this Executive Order provided improved employment opportunities for African Americans in all branches of Federal government, and the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) was created to implement this

- the Executive Order 11063 of 1962:

  • Kennedy ended segregation via the provision of Federal housing
  • this fulfilled his pre-election civil rights pledge to end segregation in housing  

 

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KENNEDY'S CIVIL RIGHTS SUCCESSES

- upholding the 1957 and 1960 Civil Rights Acts:

  • Attorney General, Robert Kennedy, and the Justice Department brought 57  lawsuits against  violations of black voting rights in the South, compared to just 6 brought by Eisenhower

 

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KENNEDY'S CIVIL RIGHTS FAILURES

- the federal government appointments from 1961-1963:

  • Kennedy’s appointments must be seen in context, as in 1960, the FBI employed 13,649 employees, only of whom 48 were black
  • though Kennedy did make 40 high profile African-American appointments, he also continued to appoint segregationist judges in Deep South states, who continually obstructed black voting registration drives in Mississippi, which violated the 1957 and 1960 Civil Rights Acts

- the Executive Order 10925 of 1961:

  • the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission  wasn't funded sufficiently, and its achievements were certainly exaggerated
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KENNEDY'S CIVIL RIGHTS FAILURES

- the Executive Order 11063 of 1962:

  • Kennedy’s promised intervention in housing was delayed for a long titme, and wasn't actually implemented until November 1962
  • additionally, it only desegregated new Federal construction projects, and wasn't applied retrospectively to existing Federal buildings and housing

- the Civil Rights Bill of 1963:

  • although Kennedy’s Civil Rights Bill was able to win significant backing from members of the Senate and the House of Representatives, it remained unpassed by Congress at the time of Kennedy’s assassination
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KENNEDY'S ASSASINATION

- on the 22nd of November 1963, President Kennedy and his wife Jackie were in Dallas on a campaign trip

- as the motorcade moved through Dealey Plaza, it was shot upon from a nearby warehouse, supposedly by Lee Harvey Oswald

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THE USA'S INTERNATIONAL POSITION BY 1963

- Kennedy's victory in the Cuban Missile Crisis changed the Cold War, with the US media now boasting of how Krushchev had 'blinked first', and Krushchev's rivals in the Kremlin arguing that his policy of 'peaceful co-existence' with the West was flawed

- after the crisis, relations between Kennedy and Krushchev improved, leading to the signing of a Limited Test Ban Treaty in October 1963

- however, US triumphalism cost them a perhaps more beneficial relationship with Krushchev, and by 1964, he had been replaced by Brezhnev

- superpower rivalry was also apparent in other areas, as can be seen through Kennedy's attempts to repair relations with Latin America to prevent Soviet inroads, through the Alliance for Progress in 1961, which promised that $20 billion of US aid would be provided over ten years, to increase income per capita, eliminate adult illiteracy and promote land reform

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THE USA'S INTERNATIONAL POSITION BY 1963

- trade was now becoming a part of superpower rivalry, both in terms of economics and for propaganda

- the Kennedy Administration attempted to improve the image of the US through programmes like 'Food for Peace', which built upon Eisenhower's Agricultural Trade Development Act of 1954, and allowed poorer countries to buy surplus US crops with their own currency, which has aided over 150 countries

- Kennedy expanded the Cold War beyond earth, and shortly after his meeting with Krushchev in Vienna, asked for an extra $1700 million to land an American on the moon by 1970, succeeding the success of Soviet Yuri Gagarin's orbit of the earth in 1961

- this promise was part of Kennedy's legacy when it was achieved by Neil Armstrong in 1969

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THE USA'S INTERNATIONAL POSITION BY 1963

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THE USA'S INTERNATIONAL POSITION BY 1963

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THE PEACE CORPS

- the Peace Corps were formed in 1961, and were intended to attract young people to travel to developing areas of the world such as Latin America, to teach English and provide medical provisions

- although it had altruistic intentions, it was also used as a propaganda tool for the US government, and demonstrated Kennedy's emphasis on the importance of the youth

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THE ECONOMY BY 1963

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THE ECONOMY BY 1963

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THE ECONOMY BY 1963

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THE ECONOMY BY 1963

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PRESSURES FOR SOCIAL CHANGE BY 1963

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THE FEMINIST MOVEMENT BY 1963

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THE FEMINIST MOVEMENT BY 1963

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THE FEMINIST MOVEMENT BY 1963

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THE YOUTH MOVEMENT BY 1963

- the growth of the youth demographic came as a result of the consumer boom, which thereby offered increased independence through part-time jobs and a growing voice

- youth discontentment was expressed through music, film and fashion

- gangs developed in the major cities, and were sometimes related to race, such as in LA and Harlem

- there were also youth fashion groups, such as the Greasers, which was a working-class youth subculture in the north-eastern and southern cities

- these 1950s youth movements weren't generally political, but the formation of the SNCC in 1960 saw one of the first instances 

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THE YOUTH MOVEMENT BY 1963

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KENNEDY'S CIVIL RIGHTS SUCCESSES

- the Civil Rights Bill of 1963:

  • after the March on Washington, Kennedy introduced an extensive Civil Rights Bill, which included: protecting African Americans against discrimination in voter qualification tests, outlawing discrimination in all public facilities engaged in interstate commerce, authorizing the U.S. Attorney General's Office to file legal suits to enforce desegregation in public schools, authorizing the withdrawal of federal funds from programs practicing discrimination, and outlawing discrimination in employment in any business exceeding 25 people and creating an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to review complaints 
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BETTY FRIEDAN

- Friedan was credited with triggering the second wave feminist movement in America, through her text 'The Feminine Mystique', which was published in 1963

- in 1966, 

- she campaigned for abo

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