Day 6 - Cuban Missile Crisis
October 21, 1962. Soviet freighters turn and head back to Europe. The Bucharest, carrying only petroleum products, is allowed through the quarantine line. U.N. Secretary General U Thant calls for a cooling off period, which is rejected by Kennedy because it would leave the missiles in place.
Pictured, the day book of Evelyn Lincoln, the president’s personal secretary, shows JFK’s frenetic schedule of meetings, phone calls and conversations.
Day 5 - Cuban Missile Crisis
October 20, 1962
President Kennedy, in Chicago campaigning for congressional candidates, decides to return to the White House as the crisis reaches a new urgency. After five hours of discussion with top advisors, a quarantine is decided upon.
To avoid public suspicion the president consults his physician and together they fabricate the diagnosis of a cold, allowing JFK to return to Washington without arousing panic.
Plans for deploying naval units are drawn and work begins on a speech to notify the American people.
Day 3 - Cuban Missile Crisis
President Kennedy meets with Soviet Ambassador Andrei Gromyko in the Oval Office. The President does not reveal that he is now aware of the missile build-up. Internally, the President and his advisers weigh two options: blockade or invasion. October 18, 1962
The Cuban Missile Crisis - Day 1
The thirteen days marking the most dangerous period of the Cuban missile crisis begin. President Kennedy and principal foreign policy and national defense officials are briefed on the U-2 findings. Discussions begin on how to respond to the challenge. Two principal courses are offered: an air strike and invasion, or a naval quarantine with the threat of further military action. To avoid arousing public concern, the president maintained his official schedule, meeting periodically with advisors to discuss the status of events in Cuba and possible strategies.
-from the JFK Library
The Berlin Airlift Ends
The Berlin Airlift was one of the most important events of the Cold War. On September 30, 1949 the last plane of the Berlin Airlift unloaded supplies in the city. Over the 15 months of the Airlift, 278,228 relief flights were made. 2,326,404 tons of cargo were delivered.
In 1948, Berlin was the divided capital of a divided country. That June, the Soviet Union established a blockade around Berlin. By sealing off the roads linking Berlin to western Germany, the Soviets hoped they could force the Americans, British, and French to leave their sectors of the city.
Berlin’s two and a half million inhabitants faced the prospect of privation and even starvation as their food and other supplies ran out. President Truman’s choice was a stark one: either abandon the city to the Soviets or risk a military confrontation that could lead to World War III.
It seemed like an impossible task to keep the entire city functioning but the United States, Britain, and France worked together to airlift all necessary supplies into the city. Food, coal, and industrial supplies were flown into the city on a round-the-clock basis. Soldiers even parachuted chocolate bars into the city for Berlin children.
May 19, 1967. President Johnson sends a letter to Chairman Kosygin of the Soviet Union in an attempt to ease Cold War rising tensions. LBj later recalled:
“The spring of 1967 was an ominous season. I seemed to wake up almost every morning with a new crisis staring me in the face. Tensions were rising in the Middle East as a result of increased Syrian harassment of Israel. Castro’s illegal supply line of men and arms into Venezuela had been exposed to the world. The North Vietnamese were sending larger forces into South Vietnam.
I underlined these ‘situations’ in a letter to Kosygin on May 19, 1967. Each problem was dangerous in itself, I wrote, but taken together they ‘could seriously impair the interests of our two countries and the attempts which have been made on both sides to improve our relations.’ I urged that we act, together or separately, ‘to bring these situations under control.’”
Read the whole letter here. LBJ quote from Lyndon Baines Johnson, The Vantage Point: Perspectives on the Presidency 1963-1969. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1971. P. 480. LBJ Presidential Library photo A2981-12 [8/11/66], public domain. Draft letter, LBJ to Kosygin, #30c, “Kosygin,” Files of Walt W. Rostow, NSF, Box 10, LBJ Presidential Library.
July 28, 1967. Rostow sends this memo to President Johnson regarding growing violence in China related to the Cultural Revolution. In a memo that Rostow received from Alfred Jenkins on July 21st, Jenkins reported:
“The pace of social disintegration in China at present is even greater than it was in January and February. Evidence from many sources gives a picture of turbulence and confusion, in varying degree, but in each of the 26 provinces of China!”
—memo, Jenkins to Rostow, 7/21/67, #49, “CHICOM - Cultural Revolution, July - December 1967,” Files of Alfred Jenkins, National Security File, Box 2, LBJ Presidential Library.
—scanned document memo, Rostow to LBJ, 7/28/67, #47, “CHICOM - Cultural Revolution, July - December 1967, Files of Alfred Jenkins, National Security File, Box 2, LBJ Presidential Library.
Churchill, Truman, and Stalin at Potsdam - Today in 1945.
Photo: British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (left), President Harry S. Truman (center), and Soviet leader Josef Stalin (right) at Cecilienhof Palace during the Potsdam Conference in Germany. Mr. Churchill has just given a dinner for Mr. Truman and Mr. Stalin. July 23, 1945.