In the fall of 1963 American efforts to build a autonomous firewall versus Communism in south Vietnam to be failing. The country"s president, Ngo Dinh Diem, ran the country like a fiefdom. Plenty of Vietnamese started to gravitate toward the Communist opposition. In the White House, a frustrated john F. Kennedy struggled to acquire Diem -- and also the Communist insurgency -- under control.

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The President through Krushchev in Vienna, 1961. Courtesy: U.S. Room of State.

Khrushchev ongoing to probe for American weakness. In an answer to the only of Pigs and to American nuclear missiles posted close to the Russian border in Turkey, the Soviet leader authorized the installation of atom missiles in Cuba. An American reconnaissance aircraft discovered the missile website in October, 1962.

For days, Kennedy and also his advisors heatedly discussed a variety of military and also diplomatic responses. Finally, a conclusion to be reached: while the risk of battle was great, to display weakness can be worse.

On October 22, in a televised address, Kennedy revealed the dilemm to the American public. The announced a marine "quarantine," or blockade, of Cuba which would remain in result until the Soviets withdrew your missiles. He likewise warned the the launching of Cuban missiles against any country in the western Hemisphere would be concerned as an assault on the joined States and also would result in a "full retaliatory response" top top the Soviet Union. The people stood closer 보다 it ever before had come full-scale atom war.

Within a week, Khrushchev capitulated -- however not without some American concessions. The Soviets withdrew their missiles in return for public assurances that the U.S. Would certainly not invade Cuba. In addition, Kennedy privately agreed to retract missiles indigenous the Turkish bases.

Berlin and the Cuban Missile dilemm were decided quickly, yet other cases would not be addressed as quickly. In southern Vietnam, the Communist insurgency verified no indications of letting up.

Some the Kennedy"s "advisers" warned him that American involvement can mire America in a bloody, protracted war. Despite these warnings, the president enhanced financial and military assistance to the Diem government. Through the end of 1962, more than 15,000 American advisors were in south Vietnam, and US security there had actually passed the $2 billion mark. The outcomes were not encouraging.

Diem seemed an ext interested in developing an autocratic program than he did in promoting democracy. That consolidated power among his household members and refused come share power with local leaders. A Catholic, Diem oppressed the Buddhists who consisted of the overwhelming bulk of south Vietnam"s population. Kennedy threatened Diem v a loss of American aid if the did no institute democratic reforms. Diem ignored these warnings, and also support because that the Communists grew.

As 1963 wore on, Kennedy thought about his options. He could commit further, even send in American combat troops. He might withdraw, and also let the Communists case victory. Kennedy discovered neither solution palatable. Then another option developed. Several of Diem"s generals started to plot a coup against their leader. Kennedy, who had promised to help developing nations assist themselves, provided his approval.

On November 2, 1963, Ngo Dinh Diem died at the hand of his generals. In south Vietnam, citizens responded positively to the coup. Through Diem out of the way, hopes rose that south Vietnam can stave off the Communists.

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Less than 2 weeks ~ Diem"s death, Kennedy himself was assassinated. The male who promised the people he would stand approximately the Communists had done so -- for far better and for worse. Now one more Cold Warrior, lindon Baines Johnson, would certainly take his place. And also in the jungles of Vietnam, America"s bloodiest Cold battle confrontation was just beginning.