"THANK GOD FOR BOBBY": ROBERT KENNEDY AND THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS
SCHOOL OF ADVANCED AIR AND SPACE STUDIES AIR UNIVERSITY MAXWELL AFB United States
Pagination or Media Count:
Most accounts of the Cuban Missile Crisis portray the events as a standoff between United States President John Kennedy and Soviet Union Secretary Nikita Khrushchev. However, behind the scenes other members of Kennedys staff, most importantly his brother Robert, facilitated backchannel negotiations with the Soviet Union through Ambassador Dobrynin and provided input and recommendations through the Executive Committee EXCOMM staff to the President. Robert Kennedy, as the U.S. Attorney General, filled a role far outside this positions typical responsibilities. The uniqueness of being the trusted brother to the President combined with his strengths at communicating with a diverse group of people allowed a freedom of thought amongst the Presidents advisors EXCOMM and communication between the White House and Kremlin. Furthermore, Robert Kennedys ability to effectively communicate the stance of the United States and negotiate a settlement with the Kremlin through Dobrynin proved essential to avoiding nuclear conflict. This thesis employs a historical narrative format utilizing archive documents, interviews with key figures, and scholarly analysis. A combination of first person accounts compared with documents and notes from the key players, audio recordings of the actual meetings, combine to provide a breadth of analysis on the events as they occurred. Many documents and audio recordings have been released in recent years including those from the EXCOMM meetings, President Kennedys phone conversations, and Robert Kennedys personal confidential files. These resources provide new information from primary sources previously unavailable to the public. This thesis will attempt to separate common misperceptions about the crisis and answer the question of the level of RFKs importance to the resolution of the crisis.
- Government and Political Science
- Humanities and History