Key Issues Nuclear Weapons History Presidential Policies Kennedy

President John F. Kennedy - Nuclear Events


A B-52 bomber, carrying two 24 megaton bombs, crashes in Goldsboro, North Carolina. On one of the bombs, five of the six interlocking safety devices fail, and a single switch prevents detonation. The explosion would have been 1,800 times more powerful than the bomb that exploded in Hiroshima.

The United States and the Soviet Union sign a "Joint Statement of Agreed Principles for Disarmament Negotiations," known as the McCloy-Zorin Accords. It outlines a program for general and complete disarmament.

President Kennedy prohibits public disclosure of Soviet nuclear tests, unless he otherwise authorizes it. Memo

September 1962
As part of a campaign to reduce the United States’ vulnerability to nuclear attack, President Kennedy advises Americans to build fallout shelters. President Kennedy’s letter in the September issue of Life magazine sets off a wave of "shelter-mania" which lasts for about a year.

US deploys Jupiters in Italy and Turkey

10/15/1962 - 10/28/1962
President Kennedy leads the US through the Cuban Missile Crisis, bringing the US to one of the only three worldwide alert statuses in history. The Crisis ended peacefully after President Kennedy secretly made a deal with Khrushchev to remove US Jupiters from Turkey. Inside the Cuban Missile Crisis; Special Assistant to National Security George McBundy Video Clip, On the Brink of Nuclear War; Video Clip

The Threat of Cuban Missles in Cuba

June 1963
Kennedy and Khrushchev establish a radio and telegraph Hot Line between the two governments in an effort to prevent possible accidents.

Kennedy, Khrushchev, and Macmillian (UK) sign the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, pledging to work towards complete disarmament, an end to the armaments race, and an end to the contamination of the environment by radioactive substances. Radio and Television Address to the American People on the Limited Test Ban Treaty, July 26, 1963.


Nuclear Stockpiles