tv The Sixties CNN June 22, 2014 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT
the supreme national effort will be needed to move this country safely through the 1960s. >> across the world soviet missiles are aimed at the united states. whatever the president does, he risks nuclear war. >> khrushchev calls west berlin a cancerous sore. >> lines are now drawn. >> 25 russian ships en route to cuba on what may be a collision course. >> no way of knowing whether western civilization will live or die. >> i think unless something is
early on in the '60s, you have this backdrop of tension. you have capitalism versus communism and it was palpable fear. in the united states and in the soviet union that the two sides were going to get into a nuclear war. >> the temper of the world is crisis. architect of the crisis, nikita khrushchev. >> as they headed the soviet union khrushchev was very ideological. he believed that the future belonged to communism. he said, america needs to be contained and the only way to do it is to create crises all around the american empire. >> khrushchev came to the u.n. in 1960 and he said we are grinding out missiles like sausages. we'll bury you. americans took it seriously. >> the toughness of the khrushchev speech did as some
propaganda fuel to the fire that is now raging diplomatically between moscow and washington. >> to see if the soviets were building nuclear weapons, more importantly, missiles to launch them at the united states. we were flying a spy plane over the soviet union called a u-2. >> i'm bill fox. day cable editor for united press international in new york. a single engine u.s. air force plane with one man aboard went missing today not far from the soviet border in the rugged mountains in southeastern turkey. >> to a stunned and startled audience, khrushchev announced that an american u-2 spy plane had been shot down in the soviet union. >> he made the records a public exhibition. to the soviet union, this wreckage was a national cause. national outrage over the violation of soviet boundaries.
>> and so, out comes the cover story. >> the department has been informed by the nasa. a u-2 weather research plane piloted by a civilian has been missing since may 1. >> eisenhower had said, no, that didn't happen, et cetera, et cetera. he had been drawn into a trap. by khrushchev. >> the soviet leader was able to show not only that they shot down the plane but they had the pilot. >> francis gary powers, an ordinary man, caught up in extraordinary circumstances and in a way magnified by them. >> i realize that i have committed a grave crime and i realize that i must be punished for it. >> the evidence of espionage, currency, presumably for the spy to buy his way to freedom. and the spy's last resort, a poison needle with which he could kill himself instantly if captured and threatened with
torture. >> no one wants another pearl harbor. this means that we must have knowledge of military forces and preparations around the world. the safety of the whole free world demands this. >> our government was in effect admitting that we had previously lied and that we had committed espionage, admissions that no nation had ever made before. >> how will this incident affect the united states, do you think? >> i feel it gives the americans a black eye all over europe. >> i think we ought to sink one of those submarines that have been spying off cape canaveral. >> i don't think we should admit it. we have a right to protect ourselves. >> the shoot down was such a big event that it basically torpedoed detente. it torpedoed the chance to have a peaceful period, and actually, it was the beginning of the scariest part of the cold war. >> america's public mood was one
of demoralization and there's the feeling that we can do better. and that's when the election of 1960 comes along. ♪ >> i think the question before the american people is, are we doing as much as we can do? are we as strong as we should be? are we as strong as we must be if we're going to maintain our independence? >> kennedy was a cold warrior more than eisenhower was, really. >> i want people in latin america and africa and asia to start to look to america. to see how we're doing things, to wonder what the president of the united states is doing and not to look at khrushchev or the chinese communists. >> the fact is that kennedy did run to the right of nixon and he was saying that they were letting the russians get ahead of us in missiles. >> it frightens people.
it's not true. but it frightens people and it's very effective in the campaign. >> i believe the soviet union is first in outer space, you said to khrushchev, you may be ahead of us in rocket thrust. but we're ahead of you in color television. i think that color television is not as important as rocket thrust. >> the missile gap was a total lie. we out missiled them at that time better than 100 to 1. if eisenhower came forward and said this kid is not telling the truth, it would have been a different election. ♪ >> 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.
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gagarin into space, it was another sense of america being knocked back on its heels. we're behind. >> khrushchev greeted the hero saying now let the capitalist countries try to catch up. >> for the russians to be the first to put a man in space, dealt a real blow not only to american pride but restarted the whole question about whether the u.s. government could protect the american people. >> the spaceship weighed five tons. the biggest payload we have been able to push into orbit weighed only a few hundred pounds. >> if you can put a man into space, you can put nuclear warheads into space and lots of them and then we're in trouble. >> this is norman kalb in moscow. the people that work back here in the kremlin are convinced that the balance of power in the world shifted in their favor and
encouraged by this conviction they have stepped up their activities all over the world not only in berlin but also in latin america. >> a great jam of camera men here now. an absolute madhouse here. the first historic meeting between premier khrushchev and premier castro is now over. >> my father first met fidel castro in 1960 in the united nations. cubans became heroes in the soviet union. it was like the day david challenged goliath. >> in the years since he took power, fidel castro has become an enemy of the united states. >> in cuba, you have fidel castro who's tying himself to the soviet bloc. which seems to be threatening the united states by the possibility that they're going to export communism to other
south american countries which are in many instances anti-american. khrushchev is saying that you have to understand that cuba matters a lot to us. don't mess with cuba. khrushchev not using rhetoric. the eastern bloc was supporting castro with military assistance. >> many latin americans were shocked to find out how much communist equipment castro actually has. >> the sense was that kennedy had to do something about castro. >> when kennedy comes to the presidency he's briefed on the fact there was a plan in place to topple castro. >> but the plan that's presented to him is not what he wants. it's a huge invasion on a noisy beach. it is going to look like a u.s. invasion of cuba so he says to the cia we can't be associated with this. i want something that's believably cuban. >> this is ron oppen in miami. i'm standing in one of the many anti- castro recruiting places
scattered throughout the city. >> they were into communism and we found there's something against castro, we learned where there was a recruiting center and we approached them and joined. we had no idea it was the cia. >> since 2:00 this morning, men and boys have been filing through this door behind me anxious to join the fight in cuba against fidel castro's government. >> they were mainly cuban exiles. they hated castro. they thought that they could mount a small-scale invasion which would gather more and more support until it ended up overthrowing the regime. >> cuban business men, doctors, white collar workers, men who once drove taxis, always hoping the muscle of the united states would sustain them. >> we thought the united states being behind this operation, it was no way we were going to lose and we were wrong.
>> small force of invaders landed at a semi isolated resort area on the south coast of cuba at the bay of pigs. >> castro alerted his small air force and his large army and raced toward the scene. >> the showdown came at dawn. the rebels were only able to move 20 miles inland and those able to move beyond the beach were trapped in swamp or high growth. >> long live the revolutionary forces which are shooting down yankee planes and are smashing the invaders of the land. the castro-controlled television network is parading prisoners captured on the beaches before the cameras for public interrogation. >> one writer called the bay of pigs the perfect failure. it was a tragedy on the beach and in washington. >> out of the news of this week, the attempt of cuban exiles to re-establish a foothold in their homeland. a tactical failure that became a strategic defeat for cuban
democracy and american prestige. >> let's ask of the imperialistic piracy falls squarely on the government of the united states. >> united states has committed no aggression against cuba. and no offensive has been launched from florida or from any other part of the united states. >> the american role is immediately exposed. no one believes that this isn't happening with some american help. >> the leader of the free world has been humiliated on its own doorstep. castro prevailed over kennedy at least for the moment and it will take a long time to destroy that image. >> it was a calamity. kennedy had been totally misinformed by american intelligence about the strength of the anti- communist movement and the fact is when these poor people arrived on the beaches in cuba, they were decimated.
>> only landing themselves, stewart, how large were they actually? >> best indications, walter, there were about 300 men armed only with the weapons they could carry. unmistakably clear, walter, from all the evidence available that the cia planned this operation. it was the cia that established the revolutionary council by saying to the dissident factions, get together or else. >> today in his news conference the president acknowledged the failure and took the responsibility for it. >> detailed discussions are not to conceal responsibility because i'm the responsible officer of the government. victory has 100 fathers and defeat is an orphan. >> the russians, i think, see this as evidence of a young, feckless, inexperienced president. >> kennedy privately goes around saying how could i have been so stupid. he's full of self recrimination. >> kennedy listened to the
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after the bay of pigs, kennedy was more anxious than ever to meet with khrushchev because he knew that he had screwed up. >> there he is, president kennedy with mrs. kennedy. >> he thought the meeting in vienna would straighten all that out. in fact, it made it much worse. >> vienna was at its romantic
best, almost enough, it seemed, to remove a bit of the chill from the cold war. it began with a police escort leading the limousine to the soviet embassy. nikita khrushchev was waiting, also, for talks to explore such issues as berlin, nuclear testing and disarmament. >> tell us what you think about this meeting between the young president and khrushchev? >> well, i think it was long overdue because the world needs peace and the world needs disarmament. >> for khrushchev, it is a chance to test the new president on the subject of berlin, khrushchev is tough and blunt. >> khrushchev said west berlin is a bone in my throat. and we must extract it. >> berlin, of course, is divided at the end of world war ii but berlin is 110 miles inside of the east german zone. khrushchev is threatening to force the integration and take over west berlin and kennedy says to him, berlin is part of our western commitment and world war ii.
don't challenge us there. >> after two days, the talks end. >> kennedy did not do well. he allowed himself to be caught in an ideological argument with khrushchev. he'd been warned against it. he did it anyways and khrushchev bullied him and pushed him around. >> khrushchev has made the first move in the chess game. and the president knows it. as he leaves, he says, it's going to be a cold winter. >> kennedy thought there might be a basis for dealing with the soviets. instead he gets the berlin crisis. >> in july, 1,000 east germans escaped into west berlin every day. now in august, they're coming out at the rate of 2,500 a day. as a result of khrushchev's threats and demands. east germany is being bled of its best-trained people. >> i went to berlin to cover the bureau and the nbc news desk in new york called in the middle of the night and said what's this about closing off the border at
the gate? >> at 2:00 a.m., the communist regime issued a u-case. no east german could go to west berlin without special dispensation. >> the sound of jackhammers erupts in the night. suddenly east german police appear, tear up the sidewalk and street. >> a small crowd gathered and the east germans unrolled barbed wire and started fences. they were sealing off the border. i thought, my, god, this is, you know, unbelievable. >> president kennedy was in hyannisport for the weekend. he got a call that told him that the communists finally began to seal the border against the east germans and east berliners. >> across streets, all along the 25-mile border between east and west berlin. >> telephone lines to west germany are cut. the flood of refugees is dammed up. west berlin is isolated.
♪ >> communist country like east germany cannot exist with an open border. it must be able to wall its people in and make them work until communism succeeds. >> president kennedy decided on thursday to send johnson to berlin because mayor brant had written a letter warning that the city's rotting morale required bold and quick treatment. >> and the united states wants you to know that the pledge he has given to the freedom of west berlin and to the rights of western access to berlin is firm.
>> is khrushchev entirely convinced that our words have meaning? if he is not, what can we do short of war to convince him that they do? >> 1500 american soldiers arrived in west berlin after a 110-mile road trip across east germany. soviet person radio described the arrival of additional american forces as a challenging military act. >> the berliners know that western strength is their only protection. >> there are all sorts of people who say send the tanks in, knock the damn wall down. and kennedy, no. he understands this solves his problem. will khrushchev try to take over the rest of berlin if he's putting up a wall? will he risk a war with us? no. the wall saves us from that kind of conflict. >> after the berlin crisis, khrushchev tests the largest nuclear device ever.
he basically is going to say to the americans, you can't scare me. i'm going to scare you. >> the west has nuclear jitters. people worry about fallout, about war. khrushchev has turned testing into a weapon of terror. >> there was tremendous anxiety and fear that if you got into a nuclear war it was going to mean the devastation of civilization. it was the apocalypse. >> let us face without panic the reality of our times. the fact that atom bombs may some day be dropped on our cities and let us prepare for survival by understanding the weapon that threatens us. >> the threat of nuclear war was the center of many of our lives. >> the fallout shelter could save your life in a nuclear war. >> the family room of tomorrow. it's a truly shipshape room only 8 1/2 by 12 feet in size but with an amazing amount of
storage space. >> seems unless we control the use of such a thing as that all the civilization that we built up over these many thousands of years will just be washed out. >> it gives you quite a scare to think about something like that happening to us. >> we were close to nuclear war in 1961. and as jfk said to his brother bobby, you know, we've had a good life. but our children, what if there's a nuclear war and our children die? that's how close war felt.
as he said he would, mr. khrushchev has exploded his giant bomb in cynical disregard of the united nations. >> kennedy recognizes that he's on the verge of yet another crisis but he's looking in the wrong direction. and then, in 1962, there's a lot of political chatter about cuba. >> if at any time the communist buildup in cuba were to endanger or interfere with our security in any way, then this
country will do whatever must be done to protect its own security and that of its allies. >> the cia had a consultant who spotted soccer fields all along the coast in cuba. and as he said, the cubans play baseball. russians play soccer. >> kennedy approves a series of u-2 flights. >> he didn't want to get sucked in once again as he had at the time of the bay of pigs. he wanted hard evidence. >> it was the combination of very good, high level photography plus espionage that made it possible for the u.s. intelligence community to say, mr. president, we are absolutely convinced that they're putting missiles in cuba. >> kennedy gets together a group of his closest advisers known as the ex-com. the executive committee of the
national security council. >> sir, we have never seen this kind of installation before. >> even in the soviet union? >> no, sir. >> how do you know this is a medium-range ballistic missile? >> the length, sir. >> u.s. intelligence showed half of the parts of the united states that would be hit by a nuclear attack and the figure was about 30 million americans were in danger of dying. >> my father, he want to be recognized as equal. if you're not recognized as equal, you challenge opposite side. >> now, what kind of military action are we capable of carrying out? and what may be some of the consequences? >> we could carry out an air strike within a matter of days. >> big debates. should we bomb? should we invade? back and forth. >> after we've launched 50 to 100 sorties, how do we stop at that point? what kind of a world will we live in? i don't know the answer to this.
>> most of them thought we should attack cuba. kennedy almost alone did not want to do that. >> kennedy is the only person who has a sort of larger view. there are times when he's not just the president of the united states. he is thinking in terms of the survival of the human race. >> the question really is the chances of a nuclear exchange, obviously failure. >> he was frightened that a wrong move by him could trigger a whole sequence of moves by the other side so he wanted to slow everything down. and the method he chose was the imposition of a blockade. >> president kennedy will address the nation tonight on radio and television on a subject of the highest national urgency.
>> good evening, my fellow citizens. this government, as promised, has maintained the closest surveillance of the soviet military build-up on the island of cuba. >> these large, long-range and clearly offensive weapons of sudden mass destruction constitutes an explicit threat to the peace and security of all the americas. to thwart this offensive buildup, a strict quarantine on all offensive military equipment under shipment to cuba is being initiated. i have directed the armed forces to prepare for any eventuality. >> within minutes after the president spoke, the navy announced it was sustaining a blockade of cuba with more than 40 ships and 20,000 men. >> hate to see us go to war but if it's necessary to prevent a nuclear war, i think the action has to be taken at this time. >> i think it's high time we
stopped russia from having things their own way. >> i know that some action should be taken. but he's going to have to tread very lightly, short of war. >> but the american people were very frightened that they were on the edge of a cataclysm, something no one had ever experienced before. a nuclear war. >> we have been jammed up. we have been mobbed. people are buying like food is going out of style. >> is this your normal order or are you stockpiling? >> i'm not stockpiling. i feel if anything were to happen, you wouldn't be able to eat it anyhow. >> develop a shelter stocked where there's water, food, medical supplies, a geiger counter and a radio. >> congressional leaders were recalled from the campaign labors flown back to washington in military planes and there were reports of troop movements in the florida keys. >> fidel castro told his people that the armed blockade is the most dangerous adventure since
world war ii. he called president kennedy a pirate and said a life and death struggle is underway between an empire and the revolution of a small and weak people. the cuban militia was mobilized and the country put on war footing. russia alerted the military forces and warned that the united states is playing with fire. >> at a special session of the united nations security council, the united states, cuba and russia offered separate resolutions and traded bitter charges. >> do you, ambassador, deny that the ussr has placed and is placing medium and intermediate range missiles and sites in cuba? yes or no? don't wait for the translation. yes or no? >> i am not in an american court room, sir. therefore, i do not wish to answer a question that's put to me in the fashion in which prosecutor does. in due course, you will have your reply. >> i'm prepared to wait for my
answer until hell freezes over if that's your decision. >> each side didn't know what the other side was doing and there was a lot of room for miscalculation. >> we believe there are about 25 soviet ships moving toward cuba. if the vessel does not stop, refuses to heed the instructions, force will be applied to assure that it does stop. >> nikita khrushchev said soviet ships will never submit to the united states blockade. >> the next few days are critical. who is going to blink first? when it comes to good nutrition...i'm no expert. that would be my daughter -- hi dad. she's a dietitian. and back when i wasn't eating right, she got me drinking boost. it's got a great taste, and it helps give me the nutrition i was missing. helping me stay more like me. [ female announcer ] boost complete nutritional drink has 26 essential vitamins and minerals,
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a dispatch just in. a late development. >> 25 soviet ships steam toward cuba. >> if the ships' captains do not stop, force will be used to stop them. >> it was all a truly historic drama taking place every moment of every day. >> we are now in the most dangerous situation since the end of world war ii. the next 48 hours will be decisive. >> right up until the last minute, the first ship looked like it was going through the barrier and at that point, kennedy would have had to do something more. what it was wasn't even clear to him. >> the white house was on the point of being evacuated.
they thought that this was the early stages of world war iii. >> listen to the tapes of the missile crisis and on the last day when we seemed so close to war, you can hear the voices becoming a little bit more ragged and a little bit more urgent. >> my main point is i don't think at this particular point we should show a weakness to khrushchev and i think we would show a weakness if we get -- >> president kennedy is the calm voice. >> well, let's be prepared for either one tomorrow. let's wait and see if they fire on us. in the meantime, i'm not yet convinced of an invasion. >> and at the last minute, the soviet ships turned around. >> khrushchev has changed his position. >> there was an announcement from moscow that they would withdraw the missiles.
and i said, the other guy just blinked. >> this is the day we have every reason to believe when the world came out from under the most terrible threat of nuclear holocaust since the end of world war ii. >> the message to president kennedy was long and rambling but for the first time mr. khrushchev acknowledged the presence in cuba of soviet missiles. he argued they were defensive in nature but he said he understood the president's feeling about them. he said he would withdraw the missiles if president kennedy would promise not to invade cuba. >> the following is the text of president kennedy's statement of noon. i welcome chairman khrushchev's statesman-like decision to stop building bases in cuba. this is an important and constructive contribution to peace.
>> it was an incredible sigh of relief in the country and in the world. >> with the tranquil courage of the great leaders of democracy, john fitzgerald kennedy said to the communist world, enough. >> there had been some back and forth between kennedy and khrushchev. we'll make a promise not to invade cuba and within a matter of months the united states will take its missiles out of turkey. >> in return for that, khrushchev publicly and verifiably removed soviet missiles from cuba. >> the conditions of the cold war had been altered in spirit if not in fact by what happened in cuba. as a result of american determination in the crisis, morale has been raised throughout the non-communist world. >> perhaps this is the beginning of more understanding between our people. >> both sides realize we need to stand back from this and we need to create a framework that's
less dangerous. >> i have chosen this time and place to discuss a topic on which ignorance too often abounds. and the truth too rarely perceived and that is the most important topic on earth, peace. >> the following june, kennedy gives the famous peace speech at american university in which he talks about changing our attitudes toward the soviet union. >> for in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. we all breathe the same air. we all cherish our children's future. and we are all mortal. >> kennedy and his people waited for any reaction from moscow at all. and then, they got the teletype saying that for the first and only time a speech of an american president covered a
complete page of pravda, the party newspaper. >> khrushchev decided to change his world policy. the strategy of creating tension all around the american empire was dropped. and he said to his colleagues, you know what? let's give him the test ban treaty. >> the united states, the soviet union and great britain promise to end all nuclear test explosions in the atmosphere, outer space and underwater. >> big deal soviet union, the same as united states. and krushchev was very proud that they stopped testing and poisoned atmosphere. >> man's long hopeful quest for peace will cease to be only a dream and will begin to acquire solid reality. >> the nuclear test ban treaty is one of the truly great achievements of the kennedy presidency. >> we shall not regret that we
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people are elated by the feeling that united states finally has taken the initiative in our conflict with communism. but all along the borders of communism, we and our enemies have unfinished business. >> mr. president, the headline and the story of the new york times yesterday morning said that administration would try diplomacy in vietnam, which i assume we had been trying all along. what can we do in the situation which seems to parallel other famous debacles of dealing with unpopular governments in the past? >> well, in the first place, we ought to realize that vietnam has been at war for 25 years. >> kennedy treated vietnam as a second-tier issue until 1963. he was dealing with berlin. he was dealing with cuba. he had his domestic challenges. he sent troops to train the south vietnamese army. but he wasn't happy about it. >> in the final analysis, it's
their war. they're the ones that have to win it or lose it. we can help them, give them equipment. send our men out there as advisers. but they have to win it. the people of vietnam against the communists. >> kennedy felt that the united states had to draw a line against communist expansion but the soviets supported the north vietnam regime. we supported the south. >> it's what becomes known as the domino theory. if south vietnam falls, then all the rest of southeast asia, laos, cambodia, the philippines, they might be defeated. >> as i believe i reported upon my return from previous visits, i'm very much encouraged by the progress the south vietnamese have been making and the assistance which our forces have rendered to them. >> when vietnam started up, they believed that they so expertly micromanaged the cuban missile crisis that they can do the same
in the southeast asian nation 10,000 miles away. the north vietnamese were very different from the soviets and khrushchev. and the attempt to resolve the vietnamese crisis through controlled escalation simply didn't work. >> the government of south vietnam has been overthrown by a military coup. >> if we are at all involved, i hope we don't have another bay of pigs on our hands. >> are we winning the war in south vietnam? >> winning? no, we're losing it. >> kennedy says to one of his principal aides that after he is re-elected in '64, then he can talk about getting out of vietnam. it is difficult to believe that the story of the united states in vietnam would have followed the same course if john f. kennedy had not gone to dallas in 1963.
do we know what kennedy would have done if he had lived? there's all sorts of evidence to suggest that he never would have done what lyndon johnson did in vietnam. >> this nation will keep its commitments from south vietnam to west berlin. >> though lbj had experienced the same crises by sitting next to kennedy, he had not come out with the same conclusions. he did not share kennedy's suspicion of the united states military or military advice. once kennedy was gone, it was inevitable that u.s. foreign policy was going to change. we lost a president that was skeptical of military advice and gained one who usually took it. >> russian announcement said he resigned. the crowds that once cheered
khruschchev were left in the dark as to what went on when leonid brezhnev was the new leader of the party. >> my father was shocked. his successor just went in the opposite direction, then divorce of his policies. he was very upset. >> he had begun a new age of the soviet union, a thawing of the cold war. not complete, but the beginning of something. but things change. >> the cuban missile crisis showed that neither side could gain a military victory over the other side. so therefore, the competition had to take a different form. >> it was the beginning of the very rapid changes in the relations between two countries. next period in our history would compete in the economy. >> in the end, we couldn't defeat the soviet union militarily, but we could demonstrate that we had a much
better attractive society. >> the united states of america wants to see the cold war end. we want sanity and security and peace for all. and above all, president kennedy, i'm sure, would regard as his best memorial the fact that in his three years as president, the world became a little safer. and the way ahead became a and the way ahead became a little brighter. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com
it is a mixture of pretty scenery and ugly events. >> vietnam. reports today of the bloodiest fighting in almost a year. >> we will not surrender, and we will not retreat. >> you think you can win? >> oh, i know we can win. >> these people are being killed. and they're being killed why? >> the united states has to stop this bloody aggression. >> goddamn it, we're in the middle. ♪
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