* take nothing for granted    
Unless otherwise indicated all photos © Richard McKie 2005 - 2021

Who is Online

We have 135 guests and no members online

Article Index

Kennedy and the Berlin Wall

1960 was a Presidential election year in the US.

Richard Nixon the Vice President to Eisenhower was expected to win but the Democrat, Kennedy, campaigned heavily on closing the 'missile gap', alleging that the USSR had a big lead and that Eisenhower and by extension Nixon, was endangering the country by being too soft on defence. 

President Eisenhower, an ex-General and Supreme Commander in World War two had become concerned about the arms race and the power of the: 'military-industrial complex' (a term that he coined) and had reduced military size and weapons spending. 

The 'missile gap' (follow the link) was fictional - invented by the Kennedy campaign spin-doctors (and military donors?).

After vehement White House denials the Russians had suddenly wheeled out Powers, together with the material evidence on the plane. Internationally the U-2 Incident was a major loss of face for the US and for the White House and therefore for Nixon. 

Kennedy was far more skilful (and presentable) than Nixon on the new medium of television and this was a gift from above.

Seven months later, in November 1960, the American public very narrowly elected young, good looking John F Kennedy, with his beautiful wife, as President ahead of Nixon. 

In his inaugural address Kennedy promised to: "pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and success of liberty" and that call to arms was a promise he lived up to.  In April 1961 the Cold War got a lot hotter when a CIA sponsored army of expatriate Cubans unsuccessfully attempted to retake Cuba at the Bay of Pigs.  Follow this link to the relevant section from our 2012 trip to Cuba.

The same year the US deployed PGM-19 Jupiter medium range nuclear ballistic missiles in Italy and Turkey targeted on Moscow and on military assets identified by the U-2 flights. The Russians responded by deploying their own missiles to Cuba.  But before they could fully install them Kennedy threatened nuclear war if they were not removed.  Both sides then backed down and the US removed their missiles too.  The Kennedy administration kept this secret and pretended that at the end of the Cuban Missile Crisis the Russians had backed down unilaterally.  This is a myth perpetuated even today.

The failed Paris Four Powers Summit agenda had included the joint management of Berlin to limit the city's use by East Germans to leave their country.   As a result of the collapse of the Paris Summit, and the Kennedy Administration's actions that year, on August 13 1961, Berlin was suddenly partitioned and the construction of the Berlin Wall began.

In 1963 Kennedy flew to Berlin to promise continued unflinching US support and used the immortal words:

Two thousand years ago, the proudest boast was civis romanus sum ["I am a Roman citizen"].
Today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is "Ich bin ein Berliner!"...
All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, and therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words "Ich bin ein Berliner!"

By year's end he was dead, assassinated, possibly because of US actions in Cuba.


The Kennedy Grave at Arlington Cemetery in Washington DC
Note the eternal flame - not accorded to any other President
Jacqueline is buried here too - not with Aristotle



You have no rights to post comments

    Have you read this???     -  this content changes with each opening of a menu item





I first visited China in November 1986.  I was representing the New South Wales Government on a multinational mission to our Sister State Guangdong.  My photo taken for the trip is still in the State archive [click here].  The theme was regional and small business development.  The group heard presentations from Chinese bureaucrats and visited a number of factories in rural and industrial areas in Southern China.  It was clear then that China was developing at a very fast rate economically. 

Read more ...

Fiction, Recollections & News




On the morning of May1st 2016 I jumped, or rather slid, out of a plane over Wollongong at 14,000 feet.

It was a tandem jump, meaning that I had an instructor strapped to my back.


Striding Confidently Before Going Up


At that height the curvature of the earth is quite evident.  There was an air-show underway at the airport we took off from and we were soon looking down on the planes of the RAAF  Roulette aerobatic display team.  They looked like little model aircraft flying in perfect formation.  

Read more ...

Opinions and Philosophy

Electricity Pricing


 August 2012 (chapters added since)





The present government interventions in electricity markets, intended to move the industry from coal to renewable energy sources, are responsible for most of the rapidly rising cost of electricity in Australia.  These interventions have introduced unanticipated distortions and inefficiencies in the way that electricity is delivered.

Industry experts point to looming problems in supply and even higher price increases.

A 'root and branch' review of these mechanisms is urgently required to prevent ever increasing prices and to prevent further potentially crippling distortions.

Read more ...

Terms of Use                                           Copyright