On July 15, 1971, Richard Nixon announced to the nation that he had accepted the PRC’s invitation for him visit China.
President Nixon’s trip to China in 1972 ended twenty-five years of isolation between the United States and the People’s Republic of China (PRC). He viewed his trip as the first step in a long process of contact between the United States and the PRC. Further, he believed it would reduce tension between the United States, the PRC, and the Soviet Union.
The President’s trip to China required a tremendous amount of planning. Part of this effort involved matters of protocol and etiquette, such as the use of chopsticks.
Image: Transcript of Speech President Nixon Gave Announcing Upcoming Trip to China. 7/15/1971.
More on Ping Pong Diplomacy: Nixon’s Trip to China on the Presidential Timeline.
Did JFK Really Tell Berlin He Was a Jelly Doughnut?
One of the iconic moments of John F. Kennedy’s Presidency comes from a speech he gave at the Rathaus Schöneberg in West Berlin, Germany on June 26, 1963. When the President declared “Ich bin ein Berliner!” to a cheering crowd, he preserved the German phrase in history. But the speech has been plagued by claims that, instead of expressing international unity by stating “I am a Berliner!” in German as he intended, JFK enthusiastically shouted a less inspiring phrase: “I am a jelly doughnut!”
Newspapers, magazines, and even textbooks have repeated the story for decades: a native Berliner would’ve said “Ich bin Berliner” and JFK’s use of the article ein changed the meaning, causing chuckles as the crowd imagined the jelly doughnut called a Berliner in parts of Germany. Fifty years later, a new generation may wonder: How could the President, who hand-wrote the pronunciation on his speech card to be sure he’d get it right, make such a cringe-worthy mistake?
But many historians and linguists have stepped in to poke a hole in the doughnut story and clear JFK’s name of this deep-fried controversy. Historian Andreas Daum notes, “saying ein Berliner is correct if used metaphorically,” which, of course, is what Kennedy was doing – not saying he was literally from Berlin, but that he was symbolically with Berlin. Historian Jürgen Eichhoff argues that the wording JFK used was actually the only way to express this particular meaning, and the German speakers (including West Berlin Mayor Willy Brandt) who heard JFK practice the speech agreed.
Historians also point out that archival evidence (like recordings and witness interviews) debunks the idea that the German-speaking crowd found anything weird about JFK’s wording: “No one in the square,” Presidential advisor McGeorge Bundy later said, “confused JFK with a doughnut.”
On the anniversary of JFK’s Berlin speech, we can all rest easier knowing many experts agree President Kennedy did not declare himself a jelly doughnut at this pivotal moment in Cold War history!
A very, very big thanks to JFK Library archivist Stacey Chandler for this guest Tumblr post!
Images: President John F. Kennedy Speaks in Rudolph Wilde Platz; JFK’s handwritten pronunciation note from the President’s speech files; President Kennedy in motorcade with Willie Brandt, Mayor of West Berlin and Konrad Adenauer, Chancellor of West Germany. 6/26/63.
Before and After Operation Doorstep
Mannequin Family in a House at Operation Doorstep, 7,500 Feet from the Blast, before the Blast, 03/17/1953
Mannequin Family in a House at Operation Doorstep, 7,500 Feet from the Blast, after the Blast, 03/17/1953
(see also "Operation Cue" conducted in May of 1955.)
Eisenhower Reaches out to the Russian People
On March 4, 1953 President Dwight D. Eisenhower drafted this statement for the Russian people while Joseph Stalin was gravely ill. Stalin died the next day on March 5, 1953.
Draft statement by President Eisenhower on Joseph Stalin, 03/04/1953
September 21 - MiG-15 from a North Korean Defector
HQ. FEAF, TOKYO —- Pictured here is the Russian-built MIG-15 fighter interceptor which was flown to a U.S. Air Force base at Kimpo near Seoul Monday September 21, by a North Korean officer pilot, in a daring flight to freedom. The flier was interviewed by world-wide press media representatives Tuesday, September 22. The MIG-15 is being studied by U.S. Air Force authorities. ca. 09/22/1953
60 years ago on September 21, 1953, North Korean pilot No Kum-Sok defected to South Korea with this MIG-15 aircraft. He later received a $100,000 reward for his actions under “Operation Moolah,” an initiative by the U.S. Air Force to obtain and study Soviet fighter technology.
Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space and Under Water Between the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union, 08/05/1963
On August 5, 1963, the Limited Test Ban Treaty was signed by the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union. After Senate approval, it was signed by President Kennedy on October 7, 1963. The treaty went into effect on October 10, 1963, and banned nuclear weapons testing in the atmosphere, in outer space, and under water.
On August 5, 1963, after more than eight years of difficult negotiations, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union signed the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
The Limited Nuclear Test Ban treaty was signed in Moscow on August 5, 1963, by U.S. Secretary Dean Rusk, Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko, and British Foreign Secretary Lord Home—one day short of the 18th anniversary of the dropping of an atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
Over the next two months, President Kennedy convinced a fearful public and a divided Senate to support the treaty. The Senate approved the treaty on September 23, 1963, by an 80-19 margin. Kennedy signed the ratified treaty on October 7, 1963.
- prohibited nuclear weapons tests or other nuclear explosions under water, in the atmosphere, or in outer space
- allowed underground nuclear tests as long as no radioactive debris falls outside the boundaries of the nation conducting the test
- pledged signatories to work towards complete disarmament, an end to the armaments race, and an end to the contamination of the environment by radioactive substances.
-from the JFK Library
Operation “Little Vittles”
In July 1948 Berlin Airlift pilot Gail Halvorsen began handing out and later dropping candy via handkerchief parachutes to the children who had gathered to watch at Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport. With the approval of superiors and the support of confectionery companies, “Operation Little Vittles” was born and “Candy Bombers” and “Raisin Bombers” began dropping care packages to the children of Berlin.
50 years ago - JFK in Berlin
On June 26, 1963, John F. Kennedy stood at Rudolph Wilde Platz (now John F. Kennedy Platz) in West Berlin to deliver one of his most well-known speeches. His visit to the divided city followed appearances across Germany, from Bonn to Cologne, to Frankfurt. In Berlin, 120,000 people gathered to listen to President Kennedy deliver his remarks:
“Freedom is indivisible and when one man is enslaved, all are not free. When all are free, then we can look forward to that day when this city will be joined as one and this country and this great Continent of Europe in a peaceful and hopeful globe…
All free men, wherever they may live, are Citizens of Berlin, and, therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’”
From the JFK Library
"Ich bin ein Berliner"
President John F. Kennedy’s Remarks at the Berlin Rathaus Reading Cards June 26, 1963
50 years ago on June 26, 1963, President John F. Kennedy delivered one of his most memorable speeches that electrified an adoring crowd gathered in the shadow of the Berlin Wall. Almost 2 years after the construction of the Berlin Wall and 15 years after the Berlin Airlift, Kennedy paid tribute to the spirit of Berliners with his pronouncement of solidarity: “Ich bin ein Berliner” (I am a Berliner).
Although Kennedy deviated from his notes and improvised much of his speech, he spelled out his pivotal phrase phonetically on this note card.
The Berlin Airlift begins 65 years ago, June 24, 1948
WORLD IN FILM. Issue no. 176, 100 DAYS OF BLOCKADE, 1948
On June 24, 1948, Soviet forces began a blockade of West Berlin, severing all land connections between the city and western Europe. In response, U.S. and British Commonwealth Forces launched the Berlin Airlift (aka “Operation Vittles” for the Americans) to supply their garrisons and the population of Berlin.
At its height, the airlift delivered 5000 tons of supplies daily, including food, milk and coal, with aircraft arriving at Berlin every 30 seconds (at multiple airports). The blockade was eventually lifted on May 12, 1949.
The White House to Kremlin “Hotline”
Hot Line Teletype Machine
Lyndon B. Johnson Museum Collection
Established 50 years ago on June 20, 1963 and announced on August 30, 1963 by the Kennedy White House, the Kremlin-White House teletype “Hotline” was established in the aftermath to the Cuban Missile Crisis - to be used only in an emergency to ensure clear communication between the President and the Soviet Premier.
The White House Hotline teletype machine was used for the first time for communication between President Lyndon Johnson and Soviet Premier Alexsei Kosygin during the Six Day War in the Middle East.