Eric Martell

Presidential Scholars Adviser:  Dr. Sharmain van Blommestein
Project Adviser: Dr. Thomas Baker

The Cuban Policy of John F. Kennedy: its effect on the Relationship between the President and the American Defense Apparatus by Eric Martell


For one thousand and thirty-six days, John F. Kennedy, the vibrant young man from Massachusetts, guided the United States through some of the most intense momentseric martell photo of the Cold-War. The man came to the White House with a vision to redefine America’s standing in the world. Kennedy’s policies towards the island-nation of Cuba have been debated in great detail for the last half-century. From the fiasco that embarrassed the nation at the Bay of Pigs, to the 1962 Missile Crisis that very nearly brought the world to the brink of nuclear war, to the secret assassination attempts ordered against Fidel Castro, the Kennedy administration faced relentless pressure from the American Defense Apparatus, pressure from the polarized world, as well as harsh critics here at home. This project will examine in great detail how the relationship between Kennedy and the Defense Apparatus was strained due to the Cuba situation, and how it deteriorated over time. It will examine the feelings and decisions made by both John and Robert Kennedy during JFK’s time in office. I will also study how those decisions were received by the Defense Apparatus, and how differences between the two entities evolved into hostility by 1963. This project should generate new understandings and should shed light on the mesmerizing era known as “Camelot.”