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Robert Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis: A Reassertion of Robert Kennedy's Role as the President's ‘Indispensable Partner’ in the Successful Resolution of the Crisis

Hayes, M; (2019) Robert Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis: A Reassertion of Robert Kennedy's Role as the President's ‘Indispensable Partner’ in the Successful Resolution of the Crisis. History , 104 (361) pp. 473-503. 10.1111/1468-229X.12815.

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Abstract

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of his death, this article examines the role Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy (RFK) played in the successful resolution of the Cuban Missile Crisis, drawing on significant new archival sources only made available in recent years. It challenges prevailing approaches to the Cuban Missile Crisis which attempt to downplay or diminish RFK's role in the successful resolution of this extraordinary thirteen‐day period, when the world stood on the brink of nuclear war. It reconciles two contrasting profiles of RFK: the dovish profile set forth by insider accounts and the hawkish one propounded by revisionist historians. This article reveals the role of RFK to have been far more complex, fluid and essential in the successful resolution of the crisis than such rigid demarcations can encompass. This article justifies its assertion across two aspects to RFK's role: firstly, as an advisor in his own right; and, secondly, as de facto Chief of Staff, presidential agent and intermediary for his brother. Quite apart from their individual contributions, taken collectively these amount to an idiosyncratic and unique role. This article argues that it was a role that could not have been fulfilled by any other individual, and without which the crisis may not have been averted.

Type: Article
Title: Robert Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis: A Reassertion of Robert Kennedy's Role as the President's ‘Indispensable Partner’ in the Successful Resolution of the Crisis
Location: UK
DOI: 10.1111/1468-229X.12815
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-229X.12815
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Cuban Missile Crisis, Robert F. Kennedy, Cold War
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10075581
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