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Berlin 1961: Kennedy, Khrushchev and the Most Dangerous Place on Earth

Events | Headline and Cultural Forums

Drawing from a wealth of new documents and interviews, Atlantic Council President and former Wall Street Journal editor-journalist Fred Kempe offers a new look at one of the epic dramas of the Cold War— Berlin in 1961—and its lessons for today. In June 1961, Nikita Khrushchev called Berlin, “the most dangerous place on earth.” And by fall of that year, American and Soviet tanks found themselves facing each other down, less than 100 yards apart. On one side was a young, U.S. president still reeling from the Bay of Pigs crisis. On the other, a Soviet premier hemmed in by the Chinese, East Germans, and hard-liners in his own government. Much has been written about the Cuban Missile Crisis a year later, but Kempe shows that the Berlin crisis of 1961 was actually more decisive and in shaping the Cold War – and more perilous.

A book signing will follow the lecture.

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