“The Challenge of Imperialism”

Fifty years ago this month, a young senator from Massachusetts with his eye on the White House took a big gamble. On the Senate floor, before his astonished colleagues, John F. Kennedy gave a controversial speech that questioned nearly all of the assumptions of American foreign policy and delved deeply into a hot-button topic that no one wanted to talk about. He was instantly denounced by the White House, the State Department, American allies, and the press. But the speech eventually won him admirers around the world, and brought him that much closer to his party’s nomination for president.

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Ted Widmer

Senior Fellow