The author is grateful to Fredrik Logevall and Andrew Preston for their enormously helpful and timely comments, and to Gerry Hughes for expert historiographical consultation.
Kennedy's international legacy, fifty years on
Article first published online: 11 NOV 2013
© 2013 The Author(s). International Affairs © 2013 The Royal Institute of International Affairs.
Volume 89, Issue 6, pages 1367–1378, November 2013
How to Cite
CRAIG, C. (2013), Kennedy's international legacy, fifty years on. International Affairs, 89: 1367–1378. doi: 10.1111/1468-2346.12078
- Issue published online: 11 NOV 2013
- Article first published online: 11 NOV 2013
This article explores historical assessments of the foreign policy of President John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated fifty years ago. It traces the evolution of JFK historiography from the uncritical so-called ‘Camelot’ school to harsh revisionist critiques in the 1980s and 1990s, and on to the current ‘third wave’ of scholarship. The article focuses in particular on new work concerning JFK's handling of the Berlin and Cuba superpower crises, his role in expanding the United States’ involvement in Vietnam (and whether blame for this war can be assigned to him) and larger questions about his approach to the danger of nuclear holocaust and the possibility of defusing Cold War tensions. The conclusion to the article examines his various peace-seeking initiatives in the months following the Cuban Missile Crisis, and suggests that Kennedy may have been turning towards a more critical view of American Cold War politics when he was killed in Dallas in November 1963.