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The Presidency of John F. Kennedy, 1961-63

7. The Cuban Missile Crisis

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about Kennedy’s handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962, focusing in particular on: (i) the development of the crisis, from the first reports of missile bases on Cuba on the morning of 16 October to Khrushchev’s agreement to remove missiles from Cuba (27/28 October); (ii) the advice that Kennedy received during the Crisis, and the development of his approach from a military solution to a more diplomatic one; (iii) the imposition of a naval blockade of Cuba on 22 October 1962; and (iv) the series of communiques between Khrushchev and Kennedy that led to the resolution of the crisis by the end of the month.


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

APA style

White, M. (2019, November 25). The Presidency of John F. Kennedy, 1961-63 - The Cuban Missile Crisis [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

White, M. "The Presidency of John F. Kennedy, 1961-63 – The Cuban Missile Crisis." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 25 Nov 2019,