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Tufts professor: JFK's collected demeanor helped prevent destruction

Friday, November 22, 2013, 11:59am
(NECN) - The assassination of John F. Kennedy, our nation’s 35th president, was an event that shocked the nation.

It has been 50 years since that day, and the country is taking part in remembering his legacy.

Professor Alan Henrikson is the first recipient of the Lee E. Dirks Professorship in Diplomatic History at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.
     
He joined us with some historic perspective on the day.

He said, “I would say primarily what he did was to pull mankind back from the brink of nuclear war.”

Henrikson spoke on the Cuban missile crisis and said were it not for Kennedy’s calm and collected approach to the situation, it could have ended much differently.

Henrikson said Kennedy learned on the job and learned how to keep control as president and reduce tensions.

How close did we close to come to nuclear annihilation?

Henrikson said, “We came a lot closer than even the Kennedy administration officials themselves realized.”

He said it was discovered there were Soviet military officials in Cuba that had operation control over tactical nuclear weapons that they could have used had the United Stated launched an invasion.

He said, “Many of the Englishmen thought the United States and its president were about to cause the world to blow up. It was a frightening time for everybody.”

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