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Fear and Negotiations

Nikita Khrushchev and John F. Kennedy

For many in the United States, Communism was an enemy, and they opposed negotiating any compromise, looking forward instead to defeating the enemy. President Kennedy favored negotiations. Two months after the failed invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs, he met the Soviet Union's Nikita Khrushchev at Vienna. There, Khrushchev ignored the advice of his comrade Anastas Mikoyan and did not take Kennedy seriously enough to allow real negotiations. Two months after the Vienna meeting the Berlin Wall went up. In 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Khrushchev and Kennedy had to negotiate under dire circumstances: to avoid war. As Winston Churchill had said in 1954, it is better to "jaw-jaw than to war-war."

Narrative: The Cuban Missile Crisis