USA: The Cuban nightmare Close

 

In public places where the evening Kennedy address was broadcast, viewers rose and sang the national anthem when the President went off the screens.

The next day, there were some who could not believe it, and others who suffered from anxiety. A New York woman said she was worried, and feared that something could happen. Wall Street was hesitant and the indexes fell appreciably and the European markets followed suit.

The crisis hit the headlines for a whole week. The Press was unanimous in supporting the President, even the rather systematically critical Daily News printed a three Cheers for Kennedy headline. The Americans were deeply concerned, but an opinion poll showed that 84% of them approved the Kennedy line. A few hundred female pacifists paraded outside the UN building from 23 to 26 October, demanding that a compromise be reached under the aegis of the UN. A similar demand was formulated by a group of intellectuals who wanted “to prevent the threatening holocaust”.

New York Times 23/10/62
The New York Times
23 October 1962

New York Times 25/10/62
From The New York Times
25 October 1962

   

At the same time as he admitted that the atmosphere was extremely tense and social functions were disrupted by the events, the correspondent of Le Figaro in the USA noted on 24 October that whenever the situation becomes serious, the nation tends to rally round the President. The New York Times, stressing the determination of the USA, wrote that the country was prepared for implacable action, but Soviet retaliations were to be expected in Berlin. a warlike atmosphere was noticeable in certain States. Even traditionally isolationist Midwesterners expressed their desire to mop up Cuba and to revive the old Teddy Roosevelt spirit.

New York Times 24/10/06
The New York Times
24 October 1962

In the streets of New York, the correspondent of Le Figaro detected more concern than panic. There was no noticeable rush to the stores specialized in the sale of fall-out shelters. Some groceries did run out of stock as housewives anticipated a nuclear war; the same was the case in Brussels and in Zurich, but there was no panic buying in US supermarkets at large.

More significant, as regards the tension was the rush on transistor radios and TV sets, because of the special programs they were running.

The population was nervous: an explosion in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, started a panic as people believed that hostilities had begun.

   

In its 25 October issue, The New York Times analyzed the evolution of the crisis, attributing to JFK's firm stand the Kremlin's indecisiveness and final decision to stop the ships en route to Cuba. The stepping up of the installation of missile bases in Cuba goaded the Democrat Administration to even more determination. On October 27, The New York Times said that it could not last forever.

New York Times 25/10/62
The New York Times
25 October 1962
   

The next day, all the papers expressed a feeling of relief, satisfaction and cautious hope. The Wall Street Journal praised JFK's resolution and deterrent credibility. As a whole, the US Press thought that the President had won the day, and James Reston wrote in The New York Times that JFK had gained in prestige and authority.

New York Times 27/10/62
The New York Times
27 October 1962



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