The Cold War in the Sixties By Susie GRay, Francisco Gallo, and chloe schwipper

Climax of the Cold War in Kennedy’s Presidency

Bay of Pigs (1961)

  • Kennedy approved a CIA scheme proposed during Eisenhower presidency
  • Cuban convicts (anti-Castro) could be used to overthrow Castro.
  • When they arrived at the bay of pigs, they didn't create the uprising they were hoping for
  • Had to surrender because Kennedy wouldn't send American troops to evacuate them
  • Gained Castro soviet support and a stronger grip on power

Berlin Wall (Summer 1961)

  • Kennedy and Khrushchev meet in Vienna
  • Khrushchev demands Kennedy pull troops out of Berlin, Kennedy refused
  • East Germans and soviets build a wall around West Berlin to stop East Germans from fleeing to west Germany
  • Kennedy readied his troops but made no move to stop the building of the wall
  • Kennedy traveled to West Berlin to confirm that they would have continued US support “Ich bin ein Berliner”

Cuban Missile Crisis (1962)

  • Russians were building underground sites in Cuba for the launching of missiles that could reach US in minutes (!!!)
  • Kennedy announced to the world that he was setting up a naval blockade of Cuba until the weapons were removed
  • Nuclear war seemed likely
  • Khrushchev finally gives in, removes missiles from Cuba in exchange for kennedy’s promise not to invade Cuba and to remove US missiles from Turkey
  • Cuban missiles crisis was sobering, telecommunications hotline was wired between Washington and Moscow so the two could communicate in the case of a crisis
  • Even though nuclear test ban treaty ended testing of nukes in the atmosphere, missile and warhead development quickly replaced nukes


  • Kennedy’s new policy which moved away from nuclear defense and into increased spending in conventional arms and mobile military forces
  • Temptation to send elite special forces (green berets)

Cuban Missile Crisis as a Turning Point in the Cold War.

  • The closest the two nations came to direct conflict.
  • Both nations realized that conflict was slowly becoming inevitable
  • began to attempt to better relations in order to avoid this.
  • Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (signed by US, Soviet Union, and about 100 other countries) banned the testing of nuclear weapons in the atmosphere

Détente during the 60s

  • Détente is the easing of hostility or strained relations
  • How did conflict in Vietnam affect this? The difficulties of fighting the war made the US willing to limit future conflicts.
  • The split between the USSR and China also gave the USSR some incentive to have better relations with the US.
  • The Strategic Arms Limitations Talks, or SALT, were conducted between the USSR and the US to begin to better relations.
  • Some trade was also opened between the two nations.
  • Second SALT agreement failed, never truly ratified.

“Duck and cover” Nuclear attack drills, ducking and covering yourself in order to avoid debris and heat caused by a nuke.

A second red scare still permeated society as Americans feared communist spies

Pop culture...TVs installed in almost every home

Many women settled into “housewife” role, and many educated middle class women saw differently. More women entered the workforce, but had lower pay

Civil rights movement

Jackie Robinson was first African American on a major league team since the 1880’s

African Americans who joined democrats during new deal had more say

Brown v Board of Education of Topeka ruled that the Plessy v Ferguson decision was unconstitutional, going against fourteenth amendment for equal protection of the laws, desegregated schools in 1954 (not all were desegregated immediately, however!)

“Southern manifesto” said Supreme Court abused judicial power

KKK made a comeback

Rosa Parks, Montgomery Bus Boycott

Nonviolent protests of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, however many turned violent w/ police brutality, turned eyes of the nation on the south

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