Wednesday, February 15, 2012


February 15, 2012


Knoxville, Tennessee (JFK+50) Today JFK+50 continues our report on Chapter 14 of Chris Matthews' new book, Jack Kennedy, Elusive Hero, published by Simon & Schuster.

The title of Chapter 14 is ZENITH.

Chris Matthews concludes this chapter by assessing the significance of JFK's decisions during the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962.

Everyone knows that this was the closest the world has come, to this day, to a nuclear holocaust, but have we ever really thought about what would have happened if anyone other than John F. Kennedy had been President of the United States during that crisis?

And what about Jack Kennedy could explain his decisions which ultimately resulted in a successful conclusion?

Addressing the latter question, Chris writes that JFK learned a valuable lesson from his experiences during the Bay of Pigs in April 1961.

Jack Kennedy learned, Chris says, the one he could rely on best "was himself."

He had been put in, as Curtis Lemay suggested, "a terrible fix," & he listened to all the advice, but this time, unlike during the Bay of Pigs crisis, he followed his own instincts.

Chris writes that JFK "diffused a potential worldwide calamity" through his detachment.  

He could & did put himself in Khrushchev's shoes.  President Kennedy realized that the Soviets really did not want  a nuclear war.

As Chris points out, in later years Khrushchev would write that if the United States had attempted to "knock out some of (his) installations," he still would have been able to hit New York & West Berlin.

As to the 1st question, Chris says that another man in JFK's place, would have used force against the Soviet missiles in Cuba.

That would have resulted in a nuclear holocaust.

Chris says, "Thank God" for Jack Kennedy.

"He had...averted a war more horrible than any leader in the past could have imagined."

           Museum of American History
                          Washington, D.C.
            Photo by John White (2003)