Program At NSU To Commemorate Cuban Missile Crisis - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Program At NSU To Commemorate Cuban Missile Crisis

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NATCHITOCHES –Northwestern State University's Department of Criminal Justice, History and Social Sciences will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

The program is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 22 at 6 p.m. in the Thomas-D'Amato Reading Room in Watson Library. The admission is free and the public is invited to attend.

Faculty members Dr. Charles Pellegrin and Dr. James MacDonald will re-enact the correspondence exchanged by U.S. President John F. Kennedy and Soviet leader Nikita Khruschev during two heart stopping weeks in October 1962.

"The Cuban Missile Crisis happens at the height of the Cold War," said MacDonald.  "We have to keep in mind, the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba – an effort to topple the Castro regime had only happened a year before.  Khrushchev mistakenly thought Kennedy was weak, and proceeded to construct the Berlin Wall in Germany during 1961.  The president showed a measured response to the appearance of missiles in Cuba.  The situation easily could have escalated into war."

In addition to letters exchanged by the American and Soviet leaders, Pellegrin has selected archival footage which include excerpts from the Kennedy-Nixon 1960 presidential debate, as well as news reels composed at the height of the crisis.

"The crisis in Cuba was one of the most significant developments in the Kennedy Administration," said Pellegrin.  "While American allies continued to measure and assess Kennedy's leadership on the world stage through 1962, his domestic political opposition constantly proclaimed the president as being weak on communism.  Kennedy needed a foreign policy success that would satisfy American allies abroad by taking a strong stand against the Soviet threat."

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