John F. Kennedy's Inaugural Address Historical Context

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The Cold War

Kennedy's entire political career took place in the shadow of the cold war and the nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union. It is little wonder then that his inaugural address emphasizes the battle for freedom in an "hour of maximum danger." His pledge that the American people would "pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and success of liberty" is a direct reference to the war between the communist world and the free world.

The Yalta Conference, a 1945 meeting between Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Joseph Stalin ("The Big Three"), is widely recognized as the beginning of the cold war. Roosevelt sought Soviet assistance in the Pacific War; Churchill sought free elections in Eastern Europe; and Stalin sought to establish a base of Soviet influence in Eastern Europe for the sake...

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This section contains 864 words
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Buy the John F. Kennedy's Inaugural Address Study Guide
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