There’s an old parlor-game in which a person is asked: “If you had a time machine, would you go back and kill Hitler even if it meant changing history so you were never born?” (One stipulation is that you don’t worry about the obvious paradox of how you kill Hitler if you were never born.) It’s mostly a morality game but also one designed to test one’s selfishness, but the REAL fun comes in questioning how history might have changed. The war brought technological advancements. Everything from rocket-power to M&M’s to America’s rise as an industrial power were birthed by The War. No more arguments where you can compare your opponent to “Hitler” (now synonymous with “Evil”). Certain global alliances/partnerships might not exist today. The nation of Israel might not exist either. And what would
The Space Race
Just four months into his presidency and one month after Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space (the fact his name is in my browser’s dictionary only emphasizes the significance of that event), President Kennedy delivered his famous “land a man on the moon by the end of the decade” speech
before a joint session of Congress at Rice University in Houston. Less than four years earlier, Russia leapfrogged the rest of the world in Space Technology by putting the first
The goal to land a man on the moon “by the end of the century” was seen as fulfilling Kennedy’s challenge when Apollo 11 landed on the moon on
One of Kennedy’s first acts as President of the United States was “The Bay of Pigs” fiasco, a botched plan to overthrow the new dictator Fidel Castro. A year later, the world was taken to the brink of nuclear war with
Less than two months before he was assassinated, President Kennedy spoke out against America becoming even more involved in Vietnam, a war in which the
When it was learned that Kennedy’s assassin, Oswald, was an avowed Communist that once defected to the Soviet Union and trained by their military only to return to the U.S. to kill the president of the United States, Lyndon Johnson, now president, was rumored to have been absolutely convinced that the Soviets were behind the assassination of President Kennedy.
(or some other country with nuclear missiles [ie: none].)
Johnson greatly increased U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War (but waited until just days after the election to act because he needed the support of anti-war Kennedy voters) in retribution for what I believe Johnson believed was retaliation for the assassination of President Kennedy. Had Kennedy not been assassinated, the likelihood is the U.S. never would have become so embroiled in the Vietnam War. The anti-war turmoil of the 1960′s might never have happened and we might very well still have a “military draft” today. No “Hippies”, no peace-movement, a decade of some of amazing music and protest songs. No “Kent State” Massacre, tens of thousands of
As senator, Kennedy voted against Eisenhower’s 1957 Civil Rights Act to stay in the good graces of the (then) very racist Democratic Party, but by the 1960 presidential campaign, Kennedy backed off his 1957 vote (in a move cynics view as a way to draw black support away from Nixon and “The Party of Lincoln”). The significance of being president 100 years after Abraham Lincoln was not lost on Kennedy. As president, Kennedy appointed
Following the assassination of Kennedy, pushing through Civil Rights legislation was seen as advancing Kennedy’s will, and Johnson, who already blamed Russian involvement in his predecessors’ death, couldn’t discount the hatred of racist as wanting Kennedy dead as well (Russia has always been notoriously
Despite advancing the rights of blacks, as president, Kennedy never called for a re-vote on the 1957 Civil Rights Act, instead using his brother to ensure that federal funds for
America would look very different today had JFK of not been assassinated 50 years ago this week. That’s the lesson boys & girls. Hitler had to live and Kennedy had to die. What a screwed up world we live in.
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