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John F. Kennedy: The Inaugural Address

851 words - 3 pages

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.In John F. Kennedy's Inaugural Address, which took place on January 20 1961, President Kennedy presented the American public with a blueprint upon which the future foreign policy initiatives of his administration would later follow and come to represent. In the Address, Kennedy warned "Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty." He also called upon the public to assist in "a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself." It is in this address that one begins to see the Cold War, us versus them mentality that came to dominate the Kennedy administration.A dominant premise during the Kennedy years was the need to contain communism at any cost. In this Cold War environment, Kennedy's "calls for military strength and unity in the struggle against communism were balanced with hopes for disarmament and global cooperation." Another common theme in Kennedy's foreign policy was the belief that because the United States had the ability and power to control events in the international system, they should not. Kennedy expressed this idea in his address when he stated, "In the long history of the world only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom from its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility - I welcome it."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.In...

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