We view the late John F. Kennedy as a progressive political reformer, tragically cut down, a man against the prospect of war, despite the fact in practice he was actually elected President on a ticket that called for, and received, increased production of long range Nuclear Missiles to use against the Soviet Union. Meaning his actions brought the world closer to the brink of nuclear destruction than it had ever been previously, not just once, but twice within his one term in office.
The tragedy we feel concerning the untimely death of the US President often overshadows the actions of Kennedy, the Politician, as well as the man. What you are about to read here isn't one of your usual conspiracy round-ups concerning the late 35th President of the USA, this is about a secret countdown that was going on behind the scenes leading to Dealey Plaza and what happened there on November 22nd, 1963.
That countdown was for a pre-emptive, full-scale nuclear strike against the Soviet Union, planned to be launched by the United States that same year, presided over and facilitated by President John F. Kennedy, unbeknown to the public and never so much as touched upon by the Warren Commission.
This is the real conspiracy concerning JFK; this is the conspiracy you never knew existed. Welcome to Top5s Countdown to 22 November 1963...
5 The End Of The World Started - Not With A Bang - But A Beeping
The countdown began in 1958 when John F. Kennedy was still a Senator seeking re-election.
The previous year, October 4th, 1957, the Soviet Union had succeeded in placing the world's first artificial satellite into low-earth orbit, Sputnik 1, the result being the USSR lead the world in long-range ballistic missile technology.
The actual payload didn't matter, what Sputnik meant to the US (or so it was perceived) was that, for the first time in the nation's history, a foreign power had the means of launching a long-range missile attack that could strike American soil.
That perception changed everything, and yet actually was never true. Not at that time.
The truth was that including interim prototypes, throughout this period the USSR actually only possessed four functioning ICBM's, all of which were on low alert at a test site called Plesetsk, which even the Russians were never entirely sure who the wretched things were liable to hurt most if used in anger, assuming they even left the launch pad!
But the United States never knew that, not officially at least.
Secretly, beginning in 1956, the U-2 Spy-Plane programme had been over-flying the USSR and surveillance material acquired by the CIA pegged the Soviets actual long-range Intercontinental Ballistic Missile capability at being no higher than a dozen prototypes at best.
But the very existence of that information remained, by necessity, compartmentalized and classified. The White House were in no position to acknowledge what they knew openly for fear of revealing the U-2 programme, which above all else had to remain secret.
In light of that information being withheld from the rest of the Intelligence community, bodies such as the Director of National Intelligence, after Sputniks successful launch, began churning out reports wildly overestimating the true extent of the Soviets actual ICBM program.
National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) 11-10-57, issued in December that same year, predicted that as early as mid-1958 to 1959, the USSR would have a first-strike capability of 10 prototype ICBM's compared to 6 in the USA.
A similar NIE report, released August 1958, concluded Russia had the technical and industrial capability to produce 100 fully operational ICBM's by as early as 1960 and (perhaps) as many as 500 between 1961-62, double that predicted in the US.
4 Kennedy's Road To The White House (1958-1960)
In the run-up to Kennedy's re-election bid to Senate the following year (1958), a colleague, Senator Stuart Symington (former Secretary of the Air Force) leaked Kennedy a copy of one of these exaggerated intelligence reports. Kennedy immediately seized upon launching an election platform pointing to a perceived "Missile Gap" existing between the USSR and the US, voicing the criticism that the Republican Party, led by outgoing President Dwight D. Eisenhower, was "weak on defence" and calling for an increase in ICBM production.
Kennedy re-won his seat to the US Senate on the strength of that platform and from there went on to use the same rhetoric in his Presidential Election campaign in 1960.
Unable to make any form of public rebuttal to Kennedy's claims about these so-called shortcomings in America's missile defence programme, Eisenhower invited Kennedy and his running mate, Lyndon B. Johnson, to a top-level briefing where both were formally appraised of the true facts concerning the "Missile Gap", a gap that (in reality) massively favoured America, which (by 1961/62) would hold the upper-hand with some 185 operational ICBM's of its own and over 3,400 deliverable warheads at its disposal.
Irrespective, and knowing full well Eisenhower was completely hog-tied over the issue by National Security, Kennedy blithely carried on with the misleading claims concerning the "Missile-Gap" throughout the remainder of his campaign for office, knowing perfectly well they weren't in the slightest bit true...
Politically astute as Kennedy's tactic may have been in getting himself into the Whitehouse, this course of rhetoric employed was to have a lasting effect on how Kennedy was viewed further afield, particularly behind what would become the Iron Curtain...
3 The Berlin Crisis - July 25th, 1961
Let's face it. John F. Kennedy's time in office was never dull.
In April 1961, Kennedy had allowed himself to be talked into agreeing to back Cuban Exiles in an attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro. The Bay of Pigs was an unmitigated fiasco which not only consolidated Castro's position in Cuba and humiliated Kennedy on the world stage, it also drew Cuba politically closer to the USSR, all of which, coupled with the outcome of the disastrous Vienna Summit, would have a direct bearing on the Cuban Missile Crisis the following year.
Kennedy was on the ropes.
The Berlin Crisis was a problem inherited from his predecessor, Eisenhower.
Back in 1958 Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev demanded the withdrawal of Western forces from West Berlin, too many young, skilled people were fleeing the Soviet Union to the West via East Berlin, the so-called Brain Drain, and the Russians were determined to stop it.
To that effect, the plan was to reunify West Berlin with East in favour of East Berlin, and therefore, Soviet, control, at the cost of the rights of every German living in West Berlin.
On July 25th Kennedy would deliver a televised speech which would triple the US Draft, commit 1 million troops to West Berlin, call for an additional $3.25 billion dollars in convention weapons spending and institute a program of nationwide fallout shelter construction on American soil to address the problem. An interesting tactic for a man who professed to prefer negotiation over a military response.
But five days before that speech, July 20th, Kennedy had been made privy to a highly classified Net Evaluation Document, which may very seriously have influenced, not only his thinking in this but his thinking overall....
2 The 1961 Briefing - July 20th, 1961
Since 1957 annalists for the National Security Council had quietly been publishing assessments outlining the likely probable outcomes of various US and Soviet nuclear scenarios, Net Evaluation Subcommittee reports, and within them, a pattern had emerged.
Unthinkable though it was, according to Net Evaluation a window existed wherein if the US continued on the course it was on, America would be in a position to win a pre-emptive nuclear attack against the Soviet Union. The optimum point being 1963.
If America was going to launch a nuclear war, it had to do so in 1963 or lose the opportunity.
Kennedy reportedly left that meeting in disgust, but five days later he initiated a national program of fall-out shelter construction and improved fall-out detection systems.
Looking back at those, mostly, cinder-block constructions set aside for civilian use, we think it laughable these things were ever considered adequate to endure, let alone protect, anyone from a nuclear blast.
And the truth is, they wouldn't have.
But if all the purpose these things were expected to serve was to protect US citizens from fallout originating thousands of miles away, in Russia, stocked with provisioned and water, as Kennedy instructed they should be, they would have served adequately enough...
All America had to do was maintain a stalemate between itself and the Soviet Union until 1963.
From attending that meeting on July 20th, Kennedy went from an inexperienced young leader on the ropes to a confident, international statesman able to stare down the barrel of a nuclear gun...
In August 1961 the Soviets began constructing the Berlin Wall, the Iron Curtain descended, the Cold War began. In 1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis came and went, Kennedy stood his ground; the Soviets backed down, in exchange the US scrapped it's Jupiter Medium Range Ballistic Missiles in Turkey.
The stalemate was maintained. The next flashpoint would be Vietnam....
To shed light on what happened next, you have to see Kennedy as the Soviets saw him.
To Westerners, he was a liberal, but to the Soviets, he was a militarist who came to power calling for increases in Nuclear Weapons, had backed military coups and was openly preparing his country in readiness for Nuclear War, at the same time being leader of a country the Soviets knew outgunned them.
In reality - Kennedy was a man who trusted implicitly his ability to negotiate first and foremost, ultimately, perhaps too much. He distrusted military options outwardly but kept those options firmly on board for later use in discussion.
20 days before his own assassination, reluctantly, Kennedy agreed to the US backing a coup in South Vietnam against despotic leader Ngo Dinh Diem, an ally who was becoming an embarrassment.
That coup resulted in Diem's murder. With re-election looming in '64 Kennedy had pledged the removal of 1000 troops stationed in advisory roles in South Vietnam as part of a timetabled withdrawal, and, against military advice, was sticking to his guns.
He wanted US troops out of Vietnam, at least to the extent of a reduction, he could take to the voters.
The problem was, from a certain perspective, Kennedy's action here could be viewed as a prelude to Nuclear War.
If you want to keep things conventional, exactly as Kennedy had done in Berlin, you put troops in. Here Kennedy was pulling troops out at exactly the wrong time to be doing it, in what his own military annalists knew he knew was the very worst possible year, the year all-out nuclear war became tenable.
John F. Kennedy subsequently died November 22nd, that same proposed year... American troops went into Vietnam. The world continued to turn.
Is it beyond the realm of possibility in that late autumn of 1963 the Whitehouse perceived its own Chief Executive Officer an active threat, not just simply to National Security, but world peace?
Think his actions through. To get himself elected President he lied, knowingly, calling for an increase in America's nuclear arsenal which in no way could have decreased the world's already high political tensions. Now, as the campaign for re-election began to draw closer Kennedy appeared once more prepared to play an extremely dangerous game with the life of the world and every living thing on it.
When people ask if there was ever a conspiracy to kill JFK, they're asking the wrong question. There's always someone out there for whom the only solution is a bullet or a bomb; there'd be no Secret Service without them. Nobody has ever had to commission the assassination of a President. The only thing necessary is to ensure whoever's out there can succeed in their attempt. Given the opportunity...
The only question has always been, was that opportunity given? And the answer has always been: Clearly. Yes.