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6. Confronting Khrushchev: The Vienna Summit and the Berlin Crisis
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about how successfully Kennedy dealt with tensions with the Soviet Union in Berlin in 1961, focusing in particular on: (i) the background to tensions in Germany, including the Berlin Blockade of 1948-49 and Khrushchev’s demand to President Eisenhower in November 1958 that the Allied powers pull their forces out of West Berlin; (ii) Kennedy’s meeting with Khrushchev in Vienna in 1961, during which the Soviet leader once again demanded the withdrawal of troops from West Berlin; (iii) Kennedy’s Berlin Crisis speech of 25 July 1961; (iv) the reasons for the construction of the Berlin Wall in mid-August 1961; and (v) how Kennedy was judged for his handling of the Berlin Crisis.
In this course, Professor Mark White (Queen Mary University of London) explores the life and presidency of John F. Kennedy (1917-63). In the first module, we think about the development of Kennedy’s legacy from the mid-1960s to the present day. In the second, we consider his early life and education, before turning in the third to his early political career as a Representative (1947-53) and Senator (1953-60). In the fourth module, we consider his successful campaign for the presidency, before turning in the following three modules to key moments in his presidential career: the Bay of Pigs invasion (1961), the Berlin Crisis (1961) and the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962). In the eighth module, we think about Kennedy’s record on civil rights, while in the ninth we think about his approach to the increasingly volatile situation in Vietnam. In the tenth module, we think about Kennedy’s private life and the extent to which it had an impact of the performance of his public duties as president, before turning in the eleventh and final module to the importance of Kennedy’s image – as a man of culture, a man of the family, and as a sex symbol.
Mark White is Professor of History at Queen Mary, University of London, specialising in US foreign policy in the Cold War and the US presidency since 1945. His recent publications include Against the President: Dissent and Decision-Making in the White House (2007) and The Presidency of Bill Clinton: The Legacy of a New Domestic and Foreign Policy (2012)
Cite this Lecture
White, M. (2019, November 25). The Presidency of John F. Kennedy, 1961-63 - Confronting Khrushchev: The Vienna Summit and the Berlin Crisis [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/the-presidency-of-john-f-kennedy-1961-63/confronting-khrushchev-the-vienna-summit-and-the-berlin-crisis
White, M. "The Presidency of John F. Kennedy, 1961-63 – Confronting Khrushchev: The Vienna Summit and the Berlin Crisis." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 25 Nov 2019, https://www.massolit.io/courses/the-presidency-of-john-f-kennedy-1961-63/confronting-khrushchev-the-vienna-summit-and-the-berlin-crisis