The Cuban Missile Crisis in American Memory: Myths versus by Sheldon M. Stern

By Sheldon M. Stern

This booklet exposes the misconceptions, half-truths, and outright lies that experience formed the nonetheless dominant yet principally legendary model of what occurred within the White apartment in the course of these harrowing weeks of mystery Cuban missile situation deliberations. A half-century after the development it really is without doubt time to illustrate, as soon as and for all, that RFK's 13 Days and the private memoirs of different ExComm participants can't be taken heavily as traditionally exact debts of the ExComm conferences.

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By Sheldon M. Stern

This booklet exposes the misconceptions, half-truths, and outright lies that experience formed the nonetheless dominant yet principally legendary model of what occurred within the White apartment in the course of these harrowing weeks of mystery Cuban missile situation deliberations. A half-century after the development it really is without doubt time to illustrate, as soon as and for all, that RFK's 13 Days and the private memoirs of different ExComm participants can't be taken heavily as traditionally exact debts of the ExComm conferences.

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Extra resources for The Cuban Missile Crisis in American Memory: Myths versus Reality

Example text

RFK's doubts persisted. " "Of the same kind," RFK muttered. That evening the discussion turned to the management of the soon-to-be implemented blockade, particularly what to do if Soviet ships were hailed, refused to stop, and turned and headed away from Cuba. " RFK dissented vigorously and maintained that it would be "a hell of an advantage" to seize a vessel believed to be carrying missiles in order to examine and get pictures of the weapons. "Maybe you don't want to do it for the first 48 hours," he conceded, but it would be "damn helpful" to examine any secret Soviet equipment.

L The ExComM, of course, was also aware that RFK chaired the Special Group (Augmented), which was in charge of covert operations in Cuba. Bobby Kennedy was an unswerving hawk on the Cuban question, the administration's point man on Operation Mongoose, and an ardent supporter of plots to oust or assassinate Castro. Mongoose was no fly-by-night scheme run by ultra right-wing extremists, as depicted in Oliver Stone's film fantasy, JFK. " Even Richard Bissell, CIA director of operations, who had been working on the Cuban "problem" since 1959, considered RFK "a wild man" on the subject of Castro.

The ExComm tapes, however, fundamentally and irrefutably contradict 34 The Template: Robert F. Kennedy's Thirteen Days many of RFK's most important recollections. Indeed, those verbatim records offer a much more complex, interesting, and subtle understanding of the event. The tapes also expose Thirteen Days as not just selective or slanted history, which is the common affliction of personal diaries and memoirs, but rather as the capstone of an effort to manipulate the history of the missile crisis to Robert Kennedy's perceived political advantage.

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