Kennedy Doctrine

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The Kennedy Doctrine refers to foreign policy initiatives of the 35th President of the United States, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, towards Latin America during his term in office between 1961 and 1963. Kennedy voiced support for the containment of Communism and the reversal of Communist progress in the Western Hemisphere. The Kennedy Doctrine was essentially an expansion of the foreign policy prerogatives of the previous administrations of Dwight D. Eisenhower and Harry S. Truman. The foreign policies of these presidents all revolved around the threat of communism and the means by which the United States would attempt to contain the spread of it. The Truman Doctrine focused on the containment of communism by providing assistance to countries resisting communism in Europe while the Eisenhower Doctrine was focused upon providing both military and economic assistance to nations resisting communism in the Middle East and by increasing the flow of trade from the United States into Latin America. The Kennedy Doctrine was based on these same objectives but was more concerned with the spread of communism and Soviet influence in Latin America following the Cuban revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power under Eisenhower during the 1950s. Some of the most notable events that stemmed from tenets of JFK’s foreign policy initiatives in regard to Latin America and the spread of communism were: The Bay of Pigs Invasion, April 17, 1961, Increase of U.S. involvement in Vietnam War, 1962, Cuban Missile Crisis, October, 1962, and Ratification of Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, July, 1963. The Bay of Pigs Invasion was an unsuccessful action by a CIA-trained force of Cuban exiles to invade southern Cuba, with support and encouragement from the US government, in an attempt to overthrow the Cuban government of Fidel Castro. The invasion was launched in April 1961, less than three months after John F. Kennedy assumed the presidency in the United States. The Cuban armed forces, trained and equipped by Eastern Bloc nations, defeated the invading combatants within three days. The main invasion landing took place at a beach named Playa Girón, located at the mouth of the bay. The invasion is named after the Bay of Pigs, although that is only a modern translation of the Spanish Bahía de Cochinos. In Latin America, the conflict is often known as La Batalla de Girón, or just Playa Girón (John F. Kennedy). In 1962, the Soviet Union was desperately behind the United States in the arms race. Soviet missiles were only powerful enough to be launched against Europe but U.S. missiles were capable of striking the entire Soviet Union. In late April 1962, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev conceived the idea of placing intermediate-range missiles in Cuba. A deployment in Cuba would double the Soviet strategic arsenal and provide a real deterrent to a potential U.S. attack against the Soviet Union. Meanwhile, Fidel Castro was looking for a way to defend his island nation from an attack by the U.S. Ever since the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961; Castro felt a second attack was inevitable. Consequently, he approved of Khrushchev's plan to place missiles on the island. In the summer of 1962 the Soviet Union worked quickly and secretly to build its missile installations in Cuba. For the United States, the crisis began on October 15, 1962 when reconnaissance photographs revealed Soviet missiles under construction in Cuba. Early the next day, President John Kennedy was informed of the missile installations. Kennedy immediately organized the EX-COMM, a group of his twelve most important advisors to handle the crisis. After seven days of guarded and intense debate within the upper echelons of government, Kennedy concluded to impose a naval quarantine around Cuba. He wished to prevent the arrival of more Soviet offensive weapons on the island. On October 22, Kennedy announced the discovery of the missile installations to the public and his decision to quarantine the island. He...
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