President John Frizgerald Kennedy started his involvement in the cold
war as a candidate for congress. His campaign addressed the issues
involving the coldwar and took a anti-Cold War platform along with many of
the other Democrats of the era. Along with this, he also "tough on
communism". In 1952, while running for senator he boasted on his work that lead
to the conviction of a communist union official.
Even in his campaign for the presendency, Kennedy held a "tough on the
Soviets" issue which criticized Eisenhower for "falling behind the
Soviets". He promised more money toward the national defense while
charging Eisenhower for allowing non-existent "missile gaps" to develop
between US and Soviet nuclear arsenals.
In order to make up for this missile gap, Kennedy ordered and increase
on the production of nuclear arms. This then set off a nuclear arms race
which then lead to the US losing it role as the top nuclear power by the
end of the decade. Kennedy did, on the other hand, sign the Limited Test
Ban Treaty which started the disarment of nuclear weapons, but it has been
said that he signed it only for enviromental means, not for any longterm
goals of eliminating nuclear weapons.
JFK tried to reduce tensions with the USSR following the Cuban Missile
Crisis. But in the resuction of tention, he had no intention of pulling out
of the containment set by the Truman Doctrine. It was also for these reasons
that Kennedy held the line in Vietnam, increasing the number of troops from
500 to 16,000. Confronted with the suggestion of pulling out he responded "I
think that would be a mistake"
Kennedy also was determined in not seeing Vietnam lost. It was he who
decided that South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem needed to be removed
from office because Kennedy felt he was an obstacle in winning the war. Kennedy
authorized the coup that overthrew Diem by assassination on November 1, 1963.
Kennedy was involved with Vietnam all the way even until the eve of his own
For more information on Kennedy:
Kennedy and the Cold