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John F. Kennedy and the Missile Gap
Christopher A. Preble
"Preble's contribution is significant.... [He] substantiates his thesis in great detail and draws upon excellent research."—The Journal of American History
"A path-breaking study ... raises key issues with respect to both cold war historiography and present-day international politics."—The International History Review
"An extremely thorough, well-documented effort."—American Historical Review
John F. Kennedy owed his victorious bid for the presidency—as well as his success in reversing former president Dwight D. Eisenhower's military and economic policies while in office—largely to his ability to exploit fears of an alleged Soviet strategic superiority, famously known as the "missile gap." Capitalizing on American alarms about national security, within months after his inauguration, he won Congressional authorization for two supplemental defense appropriations that collectively increased the defense budget by more than 15 percent. Yet, argues Christopher Preble, the missile gap was a myth. The Kennedy administration perpetuated that myth to justify a massive military buildup that had profound implications for both the domestic economy and for American foreign relations.
(2004) 256 pp.
Christopher A. Preble is Director of Foreign Policy Studies at the Cato Institute. He holds a Ph.D. in History from Temple University.
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