By the time President John F. Kennedy (JFK) came into office in 1961, the fight against communist aggression was still continuing. Following Eisenhower’s policy of “massive retaliation,” Kennedy and members of his foreign policy staff were forced to propose the method of “flexible response” in order to contain Communism. This was a staged plan to counter any Soviet military action that may pose a threat to the USA.
Kennedy adopted various policies from Eisenhower such as “massive retaliation” that he didn’t agree with, viewing the American response to USSR tactics as limited up until his arrival. As a result, Kennedy concluded that America had fallen behind their enemy in terms of developing defense products and so chose to increase defense spending greatly in the hope of undercutting communism in the poorer countries that Khrushchev targeted.
This increased spending resulted in more submarines’s which were better equipped with missile fire capabilities, more advanced long range missile systems and increasing America’s Vietnam troop number from 500 to 16,000.
Kennedy’s greatest achievement came in his handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 which served to not only result in Khrushchev’s fall from power but the ease of direct tensions with the USSR too. Kennedy largely did this by negotiating greatly with the Soviet opposition and declaring the eventual letter received from Russia as “an important and constructive contribution to peace.”
JFK had not even served three years before his assassination in 1963, yet in this time he had succeeded in many ways. He more efficiently mobilised American defence, created a Peace Corps which promoted democracy and established foreign relations (such as those with Turkey during the Cuban Missile Crisis) which put USA in a better position to contain the communist threat.