Tuesday, July 25, 1961: Report on the Berlin Crisis

President John F. Kennedy gives a nationwide speech in which he lays out the steps the United States will take in response to the escalating tensions between the U.S. and the Soviet Union over the fate of Berlin. Kennedy proposes an expansion in military preparedness -- boosting the number of the armed forces as well as increasing spending on both weaponry and civil defense. "So long as the Communists insist that they are preparing to end by themselves unilaterally our rights in West Berlin and our commitments to its people, we must be prepared to defend those rights and those commitments. We will at all times be ready to talk, if talk will help. But we must also be ready to resist with force, if force is used upon us. ... We seek peace, but we shall not surrender," Kennedy says, in a speech that sounds like it is preparing Americans for the possibility of war.

* Video (from jfklibrary.org): @
* Transcript (from American Presidency Project): @
* "A Kennedy speech that was weaker than it sounds" (excerpt from the book "Berlin 1961"): @
* Joint Chiefs of Staff memorandum to Defense Secretary Robert McNamara (July 18): @

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