Important people during the crisis

John F. Kennedy (1917-1963)

John F. Kennedy served as the 35th President of the US from 1961 until 1963, when he was assassinated. A Democrat, Kennedy previously represented Massachusetts in US Congress.

Before the Cuban Missile Crisis took place, Kennedy publicly stated that he would not protest against the placement of defensive weapons in Cuba, but he promised a swift and harsh response if offensive weapons were introduced.

This statement would later prove problematic when dealing with the Cuban Missile Crisis, as Kennedy did not want to seem weak by making compromises with the Soviets. However, he knew that a forceful response could also cause the Soviets to retaliate, most likely by using nuclear weapons.

The failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion, on which Kennedy consulted only a small number of people, led Kennedy to consult more widely during the Cuban Missile Crisis by creating the ExCom committee.

The invasion’s failure also strengthened his resolve to remove Cuban leader Fidel Castro from power. The Administration subsequently launched Operation Mongoose, a secret plan in which the possibility of assassinating Castro was also taken into consideration.

Kennedy took office with the int...

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