This is an excerpt from a speech that President Kennedy gave at Rice University in Houston, TX in September 1962. In just 1 more month, the nation would be embroiled in the Cuban Missile Crisis. In this speech, JFK states clearly why we were going to go to the moon. It’s a 3 minute clip, and the style and amazing skill of JFK as an orator are simply amazing… Watch how he works the crowd.
On Monday and Tuesday we’re headed to Space! I’ve been threatening to do it for a couple of weeks now, but this time I’M serious! We’re going to be covering the Space program this week. The Apollo project, along with the Manhattan Project are the two greatest scientific and engineering feats in the history of mankind. A thousand years from now, people will still be talking about how man first left the confines of Earth and set out for the Solar System. See you Tomorrow!
Now we move into the 1960s. Like I said in class, President Kennedy is a near mythological figure. You would be hard pressed to come up with somebody that had as much impact on the 1960s as he did. He is the product of an extraordinarily wealthy family, a manufactured candidate who used his connections, and his political abilities to reach the Presidency. He didn’t reach his domestic (home) goals, and his international agenda was hit and miss at best. Even said though, he ranks as one of America’s greatest presidents in public opinion polls.
We’re going to talk a great deal about President Kennedy over the next couple of days. To start with though, I’m going to post Kennedy’s Inaugural Speech. This was given the day he became President, January 20, 1961.
Because this is a clip of the full speech it’s a primary document. This is among the most important speeches of the last 50 years. No other speech, except for King’s “I have a dream” speech in 1963 has had as much of an effect on American life than this one.
Here’s the text version:
Vice President Johnson, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Chief Justice, President Eisenhower, Vice President Nixon, President Truman, Reverend Clergy, fellow citizens: We observe today not a victory of party but a celebration of freedom–symbolizing an end as well as a beginning–signifying renewal as well as change. For I have sworn before you and Almighty God the same solemn oath our forbears prescribed nearly a century and three-quarters ago.
The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe–the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.
We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans–born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage–and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.
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 to assure the survival and the success of liberty.
This much we pledge–and more.
To those old allies whose cultural and spiritual origins we share, we pledge the loyalty of faithful friends. United there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided there is little we can do–for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder.
To those new states whom we welcome to the ranks of the free, we pledge our word that one form of colonial control shall not have passed away merely to be replaced by a far more iron tyranny. We shall not always expect to find them supporting our view. But we shall always hope to find them strongly supporting their own freedom–and to remember that, in the past, those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside.
To those people in the huts and villages of half the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required–not because the communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.
To our sister republics south of our border, we offer a special pledge–to convert our good words into good deeds–in a new alliance for progress–to assist free men and free governments in casting off the chains of poverty. But this peaceful revolution of hope cannot become the prey of hostile powers. Let all our neighbors know that we shall join with them to oppose aggression or subversion anywhere in the Americas. And let every other power know that this Hemisphere intends to remain the master of its own house.
To that world assembly of sovereign states, the United Nations, our last best hope in an age where the instruments of war have far outpaced the instruments of peace, we renew our pledge of support–to prevent it from becoming merely a forum for invective–to strengthen its shield of the new and the weak–and to enlarge the area in which its writ may run.
Finally, to those nations who would make themselves our adversary, we offer not a pledge but a request: that both sides begin anew the quest for peace, before the dark powers of destruction unleashed by science engulf all humanity in planned or accidental self-destruction.
We dare not tempt them with weakness. For only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed. But neither can two great and powerful groups of nations take comfort from our present course–both sides overburdened by the cost of modern weapons, both rightly alarmed by the steady spread of the deadly atom, yet both racing to alter that uncertain balance of terror that stays the hand of mankind’s final war.
So let us begin anew–remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.
Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us.
Let both sides, for the first time, formulate serious and precise proposals for the inspection and control of arms–and bring the absolute power to destroy other nations under the absolute control of all nations.
Let both sides seek to invoke the wonders of science instead of its terrors. Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths and encourage the arts and commerce. L
et both sides unite to heed in all corners of the earth the command of Isaiah–to “undo the heavy burdens . . . (and) let the oppressed go free.”
And if a beachhead of cooperation may push back the jungle of suspicion, let both sides join in creating a new endeavor, not a new balance of power, but a new world of law, where the strong are just and the weak secure and the peace preserved.
All this will not be finished in the first one hundred days. Nor will it be finished in the first one thousand days, nor in the life of this Administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin. In your hands, my fellow citizens, more than mine, will rest the final success or failure of our course. Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty. The graves of young Americans who answered the call to service surround the globe.
Now the trumpet summons us again–not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need–not as a call to battle, though embattled we are– but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, “rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation”–a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease and war itself.
Can we forge against these enemies a grand and global alliance, North and South, East and West, that can assure a more fruitful life for all mankind? Will you join in that historic effort?
In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility–I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it–and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.
And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.
Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.
While I was looking into the kinds of things that I want to teach about the Cold War, I found a great quote, something that I think tells us a lot about what it meant to be in a Cold War. In April of 1953, while the Korean War was still raging, President Eisenhower plainly stated what the hidden costs of the Cold War were going to be.
What can the world, or any nation in it, hope for if no turning is found on this dread road? The worst to be feared and the best to be expected are simply stated.
The worst is Atomic War
The best would be this: a life of perpetual fear and tension; a burden of arms draining the wealth and the labor of all peoples; a wasting of strength that defies the American system or the Soviet system or any system to achieve true abundance and happiness for the peoples of this earth.
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, and the hopes of its children.
The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. This is, I repeat, the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking.
This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron. These plain and cruel truths define the peril and point the hope that comes with this spring of 1953.
Along those same lines, here’s video of Eisenhower’s Farewell Address. This is a similar excerpt from the one we discuss in class on Thursday and Friday.
We’re back into the Cold War again! I’ve uploaded the assignments for the January 29 & 30 classes. The crossword puzzle is a .pdf, while the word bank, and pre-test are .doc files. Please feel free to let me know if there are any difficulties viewing or downloading the files.
Many thanks to George Nita, Cody Wilson, and Stephanee Christensen for demonstrating Duck and Cover for us! (everybody singing… Duck… and Cover!)
One of the items we discussed during the day 1 classes was the Hydrogen Bomb. We talked about them in class in the previous Cold War unit, but I’m not sure we’ve seen what they look like. The clip is from a film called Trinity and Beyond. It’s available from Blockbusters and Hollywood Video if you’re interested. The piece linked here is from the very first test of a Hydrogen Bomb. It’s a 10 Megaton bomb tested under the code name “Ivy Mike” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivy_mike will tell you everything you want to know about that particular test.
How we managed to escape the 50s and 60s without blowing ourselves up is beyond me.