Nuclear powers must avert those confrontations which bring an adversary to a choice of either a humiliating retreat or a nuclear war. To adopt that kind of course in the nuclear age would be evidence only of the bankruptcy of our policy — or of a collective death-wish for the world.
— John F. Kennedy
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Quote in Context
Let us reexamine our attitude toward the cold war, remembering that we are not engaged in a debate, seeking to pile up debating points. We are not here distributing blame or pointing the finger of judgment. We must deal with the world as it is, and not as it might have been had the history of the last 18 years been different. We must, therefore, persevere in the search for peace in the hope that constructive changes within the Communist bloc might bring within reach solutions which now seem beyond us. We must conduct our affairs in such a way that it becomes in the Communists' interest to agree on a genuine peace. Above all, while defending our own vital interests, nuclear powers must avert those confrontations which bring an adversary to a choice of either a humiliating retreat or a nuclear war. To adopt that kind of course in the nuclear age would be evidence only of the bankruptcy of our policy — or of a collective death-wish for the world. To secure these ends, America's weapons are nonprovocative, carefully controlled, designed to deter, and capable of selective use. Our military forces are committed to peace and disciplined in self- restraint. Our diplomats are instructed to avoid unnecessary irritants and purely rhetorical hostility. For we can seek a relaxation of tension without relaxing our guard. And, for our part, we do not need to use threats to prove that we are resolute. We do not need to jam foreign broadcasts out of fear our faith will be eroded. We are unwilling to impose our system on any unwilling people — but we are willing and able to engage in peaceful competition with any people on earth.
Quote Source Information
• Source: Wikiquote: "John F. Kennedy" (Quotes, 1963, American University speech:
Commencement Address at American University (10 June 1963); also entitled “Strategy of Peace”, is considered one of Kennedy’s most powerful speeches, in which Kennedy laid out a hopeful, yet realistic route for world peace at a time when the U.S. and Soviet Union faced the potential for an escalating nuclear arms race. Kennedy addressed American University graduates mere months after the fierce standoff over the Cuban Missile Crisis. At the time of his speech world powers were gathered in Geneva to discuss complete nuclear disarmament. In his speech the President asks the graduates to re-examine their attitudes towards peace, the Soviet Union, and the Cold War, famously remarking, "If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can make the world safe for diversity." The President also announces that he, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, and British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan have agreed to hold discussions concerning a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty. Finally, he explains that the United States will not conduct atmospheric nuclear tests on the condition that other countries uphold this same promise.)
About this Picture
Name: Castle Romeo
Summary: This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required.
Description: Deutsch: Atombombentest Romeo (Sprengkraft 11 Mt), siehe Operation Castle English: Castle Romeo nuclear test (yield 11 Mt) on Bikini Atoll. It was the first nuclear test conducted on a barge. The barge was located in the Castle Bravo crater. Suomi: Ydinkoe Romeo (räjähdysvoima 11 Mt) Bikinin atollilla. Testi oli osa Operaatio Castlea. Romeo räjäytys oli ensimmäinen proomulla tehty ydinkoe. Proomu sijaitsi Bravo kokeen kraaterissa. Français : Champignon atomique résultant de l'essai nucléaire Romeo, dans le cadre de l'opération Castle, dans l'atoll de Bikini.
Date: 27 March 1954
Source: This image is available from the National Nuclear Security Administration Nevada Site Office Photo Library under number XX-33. This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required.
Author: United States Department of Energy
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