From the Edge of History


From the Edge of History


Ted Sorensen



Ted Sorensen, Former Special Counsel & Advisor to President John F. Kennedy. Throughout his long professional relationship with first Senator and then President John F. Kennedy, from 1953 to 1963, Theodore C. Sorensen witnessed many of the decade’s pivotal events first-hand, including:

•The Bay of Pigs Invasion. Prior to Kennedy’s ascension to the presidency, President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s administration formulated a plan to overthrow Cuba’s Communist leader Fidel Castro. Due to Cuba’s strategic location astride the access points from the Gulf of Mexico into the Atlantic Ocean, it is in a position to prevent exports from the American Midwest. A pro-Soviet regime in Cuba therefore represented a geopolitical nightmare for U.S. policymakers. On April 17, 1961, President Kennedy ordered the invasion of Cuba by anti-Castro Cubans to proceed. However, the invasion failed and proved a great source of embarrassment to the new administration.

•The Cuban Missile Crisis. On October 14, 1962, American U-2 spy planes observed Soviet missiles in Cuba. The Kennedy administration confronted a serious dilemma: if the U.S. failed to act, it faced the threat of nuclear weapons capable of reaching the East Coast of the U.S. within minutes. However, an attack on the missile sites in Cuba could have led to nuclear war with the Soviet Union. Despite pressure for an air assault on Cuba, President Kennedy instead instituted a naval blockade of the island to prevent the delivery of more missiles. He also negotiated with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev to remove the missiles from Cuba. President Kennedy’s actions were instrumental in alleviating the crisis.

Publication Date



JFK, Bay of Pigs Invasion, Cuban Missile Crisis

From the Edge of History