A Time For Greatness: The Alternate Presidency of John F. Kennedy and beyond

Was Castro's death filmed?

What was Goodlett's reaction to the death of Sec Nitze in Vietnam?

'suspected communist sympathizers were executed in the street.' - this is not how one conducts justice. This should give some pause before praising Diem's regime.

Operation Heavyweight - start heavy and see if that cows the opposition into talks/defeat? Might work in some places, but I suspect Vietnam is not one of them.

So censorship of the media - not a good thing, but one required for 'controlling the message' - I suspect govts. will learn this well for future conflicts. Though I be the press with get lots of 'scoops' from behind the lines in Vietnam.

A heavy code of conduct for soldiers on the ground will make a big difference to the locals I suspect. Learning a few words of the local language will help.

I still suspect the only way to 'win' Vietnam was an invasion of the North. How fast can China respond? What resources did they have near the border? Can the US land troops in the North and block the border? Then sweep south and up from the north at the same time?
Can hardly keep soldiers off girls.
 
Can hardly keep soldiers off girls.
I have not been service personnel, but I suspect you can with high threat to ones career and liberty policed by a lot more MP’s, plus a few ‘examples’ made of folk who fail the standards JFK expects- there will always so,e who break the rules anyway, but the % is lower if the threat is higher.
 
@PickledFish, Elvis seems like a good musician and a terrible human being--something that is not uncommon among many famous people, who can be good at what they do, but are horrible people (there's a reason for the #MeToo movement, IMO)...
 
I have not been service personnel, but I suspect you can with high threat to ones career and liberty policed by a lot more MP’s, plus a few ‘examples’ made of folk who fail the standards JFK expects- there will always so,e who break the rules anyway, but the % is lower if the threat is higher.
Who polices the MPs? Any sex not.actually rape is fine by me.
 
One person in Cuban history you have not mentioned yet is that of Fulgencio Batista, the pre-Castro dictator. At this point in this TL, he is still in exile outside of Cuba. Would there be a possibility of him having returned to Cuba and accept conditions from the Free Cuban government not to go into politics again but accept a good and comfortable retirement?
 
One person in Cuban history you have not mentioned yet is that of Fulgencio Batista, the pre-Castro dictator. At this point in this TL, he is still in exile outside of Cuba. Would there be a possibility of him having returned to Cuba and accept conditions from the Free Cuban government not to go into politics again but accept a good and comfortable retirement?
At present, yes he is still in exile. However, I’m happy to reference him in a future update! The Cuban Elections are coming very, very soon so that gives me an excuse.
 
I think the butterflies are really starting to pick up in pop culture now. For one thing, with Elvis dead at the height of his popularity - whatever else one can say about him - we won't have to witness the spectacle of his decline in the 1970's. On the other hand, the number of "Elvis sightings" may increase exponentially, because you know as sure as shootin' a legend/conspiracy theory is going to arise that Elvis never was on that plane.

Assuming things have gone more or less the same with the Beatles' career as OTL, they will have by now made their first, and legendary, visit to the United States in February 1964, with the attendant explosion of Beatlemania. I don't think JFK is much of a rock-and-roll man; Frank Sinatra is much more his speed. He ought to have some good quips about the great Beatle craze, though. I wonder if Jimi Hendrix is still in the Army or has returned to civilian life, and if he was involved with the Black Veterans of Cuba before turning to music.

Another pop-culture fad, the spy craze, should be underway by now, driven by the James Bond movies. I note that TTL, "Goldfinger", not "From Russia With Love", was the second in the series - hopefully FRWL won't be long delayed, as it's my personal favorite of the 007 films. Also, another project that Ian Fleming had key, if brief input, into, "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.", should be in filming for its first season. Interesting sidelight; OTL, the pilot, "The Vulcan Affair", was in the middle of filming on November 22, 1963, and Robert Vaughn, a devoted Kennedy supporter, was pretty well broken up about the assassination (he would later campaign actively for Bobby in 1968). TTL, the international-cooperation theme of the series should really resonate with Kennedy; I can even see JFK dropping by the set at one point.
 
I don't think JFK is much of a rock-and-roll man; Frank Sinatra is much more his speed. He ought to have some good quips about the great Beatle craze, though.
Despite his disinterest, posing for pictures with the Beatles would be too perfect a PR moment to pass up, so I'm certain it would exist.
 
Primaries, LBJ, Renewing the New Frontier, and Reagan's Time for Choosing
The Maryland Democratic Primary
May 19th, 1964 was the scheduled date of the Maryland primary.

It was an important primary for many reasons. Most of all however, a victory for George Wallace would be a significant feather in the cap of the segregationist movement.

And there was a real concern Wallace could win, after a number of race riots inflame racial tensions in the state.

Another cause for concern was Wallace’s already strong showing in Wisconsin, where he won almost 40% of the vote against Governor John W. Reynolds, who was acting as a surrogate for Kennedy.

The result shocked virtually everyone, including Wallace himself, and President Kennedy.

Wallace hoped to parlay this success into a potential victory in one of the upcoming states – Indiana or Maryland.

Indiana had a history of KKK activity, so Wallace hoped and believed his message would resonate there – and it did, for a certain kind of citizen.

However, the Democratic Party quickly galvanized to halt Wallace’s momentum. Ted and Bobby Kennedy personality campaigned in the state, along with several other political heavy hitters.

Once again, Wallace gained nearly 40% of the vote, shocking political pundits and Kennedy’s political allies.

By the time Maryland rolled around, there was a genuine fear that Wallace could win in the state. Especially given that Wallace was running against controversial Governor J. Millard Tawes.

Tawes’ pro-civil rights position, as well as his recent decision to increase the state income tax, were two avenues of attack Wallace used to attack the Governor.

With election day coming up, it looked very likely Wallace would win.

Unfortunately for Wallace, civil rights activists knew this too.

Black voters and liberal voters turned out in massive numbers to thwart the surging candidacy of George Wallace.

In the end, Wallace would lose by a razor thin margin of less than 2,000 votes.

Wallace was publicly angered by the result of the election:
“The results of this election are a sham! An insult to the good citizens of Maryland! A conspiracy driven by the Kennedy administration, the civil “wrongs” movement, and communist agitators! Our national movement to stand up for America will not end here.”
-- Governor George Wallace, following the result of the Maryland Democratic primary

While Wallace’s vague commitment to continue the work of 1964 led many to believe he would pursue a 3rd party run, for now, President Kennedy had a clear shot to re-nomination, free from the annoyance that was Alabama’s Governor.



The Maryland Republican Primary
The Republican Primary occurred that same day, and the status of that race was far more competitive and in doubt.

The momentum of Rockefeller’s win in New Hampshire, and the energetic campaigning of Henry Calbot Lodge, saw the Governor pick up victories in New Jersey, Massachusetts, West Virginia, and Oregon.

Some of these victories were close-run things, but it was fair to say Nelson Rockefeller was the front runner.

But he was hardly assured of victory. The details of his divorce and remarriage still followed him around.

Though many voters were more concerned about Goldwater’s apparent flippancy with regard to nuclear weapons, many social conservatives could never support Rockefeller.

This created the distinct possibility of a brokered convention.

Indeed, many expected such a thing to take place. The field was badly splintered, with Rockefeller’s victories generally coming with less than 40% of the vote.

John Byrnes had won Wisconsin, William Scranton in Pennsylvania while Barry Goldwater won in Illinois, Texas, Indiana, and Nebraska.

Maryland saw John W. Steffey, a Goldwater surrogate, achieve only 20% of the vote, soundly losing to unpledged delegates.

It appeared that all roads led to California.



LBJ retires
On May 20th, 1964, Lyndon Banes Johnson announced his retirement from the Senate, citing health reasons.

The Senate Majority Leader had suffered a serious heart attack in 1955, and in his final speech before the Senate, mentioned that his health had deteriorated in recent months:
“My doctors have told me that I am no longer healthy enough to continue my duties as a Senator. I intend to heed their advice. This is truly a biter sweet moment for me. I have loved my time in Congress, but now I must focus on my health and my family.”

While those were his official reasons, few insiders really believed this was the case.

The investigation into Bobby Baker threatened to completely embarrass LBJ, not only destroying his legacy and career, but also derailing Kennedy’s legislative agenda.

With this in mind, Johnson used the massive media storm around Vietnam to quietly retire from the Senate and return to his ranch in Texas.

Texas Governor John Conally appointed Representative Jim Wright to serve as Senator, with a special election scheduled to take place during the Presidential election of 1964.

Mike Mansfield, Senator from Montana, became Senate Majority Leader following Johnson’s resignation. It was up to him to shepherd the Civil Rights Act through the Senate.

The end of Johnson’s career as an elected official brought with it the end of an era. No one in history had been as effective in the position as he had been.

But Johnson’s time as a party elder and back-room power broker had only just begun.


Renewing the New Frontier
On the 22nd of May 1964, John F. Kennedy gave one a major, memorable speech as President, when he gave the commencement speech to the University of Michigan.

The event was attended by 100,000 people at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

During the speech, Kennedy reaffirmed his commitment to the Great Society and embraced the themes of service that had become such a staple of his Presidency.

“During my time as President, I have often spoken of the Great Frontier. A set of challenges that I believe our nation can complete before the end of his decade. In the first half of this decade, we have already made much progress in these goals.

Yet there are so many more goals to accomplish. Goals such as providing adequate care for the elderly and the vulnerable, strengthening our economy, setting foot on the moon, securing freedom for our allies and peace among would-be adversaries.

While a President can set these goals, it is young people such as yourselves who are truly those who drive this nation to greatness.

You are the true custodians of the New Frontier.

Those of you who enter the field of medicine will heal our sick and provide for the elderly.

Those of you who enter the field of business and economics will push American enterprise to new heights and enrich us all in the process.

Those of you who enter the fields of science and engineering will create the modern marvels that send us to the moon.

Those of who enter the military will help secure freedom across the world, while keeping us safe here at home.

And those of you who enter politics or consider diplomatic work will be the ones who secure a durable, and lasting peace among nations.

In all these fields and more, those of you here today, and young people across this nation, are our greatest resource and our best hope for a brighter tomorrow.”

Many students in the crowd recounted in the years and decades subsequently, that Kennedy’s speech proved the inspiration that inspired them to enter public service, the military, or take a risk on a new business venture.

While President Kennedy was certainly an older, more experienced, slightly more jaded political figure than he was in 1960 when his Presidential campaign began, he had not lost his ability to inspire with high minded political rhetoric.

This would serve him well, with re-election right around the corner.

Enter: Reagan
On May 23rd, 1964, Barry Goldwater again references atomic weapons in a speech:

"Defoliation of the forests by low yield atomic weapons could well be done. When you remove the foliage, your remove the cover. However, there are conventional bombs – such as the BLU-82 bomb, which can do the job of removing cover and exposing guerrillas without radiation or risking atomic war.

The major supply lines too, I think, would have to be interdicted where they leave Red China. According to my studies of the geography, it would not be difficult to destroy these routes. However, nuclear weapons are not necessary, and we should not use them in Vietnam. "

Goldwater’s statement was designed to clear up confusion and remove concern over his views on nuclear weapons.

However, in doing so, he reminded many voters of his past controversial comments, as well as those of campaign surrogates like Curtis LeMay.

It was clear Goldwater’s campaign needed a shot in the arm if he was going to win in California. Luckily for him, he was about to get it.

On May 26th, 1964, a major televised program was first aired by the “Citizens for Goldwater” group, to be broadcast across California and strengthen the candidacy of Barry Goldwater before the scheduled primary on June 2nd.

The program, entitled “A Choice, Not an Echo”, featured numerous conservative speakers endorsing Goldwater and criticising the ethos of liberal Republicans.

Speakers included Phyllis Schlafly, Curtis LeMay, Norris Cotton, William Knowland, Governor Paul Fanin and more. The event also included media clips of Nixon making positive comments about Goldwater, though he made no official endorsement of any candidate and promised to support the Republican nominee.

However, the most impactful speech came from actor and SAG leader, Ronald Reagan:

“Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you and good evening. The sponsor has been identified, but unlike most television programs, the performer hasn't been provided with a script. As a matter of fact, I have been permitted to choose my own words and discuss my own ideas regarding the choice that we face in the coming days, and coming months.

I have spent most of my life as a Democrat. I recently have seen fit to follow another course. I believe that the issues confronting us cross party lines.

Like many former and current Democrats, I often looked to the figureheads of my party for leadership. In years past, that was President Roosevelt, who led us through the Second World War.

In more recent years however, I have found the quality of leadership in short supply among prominent Democrats in Washington.

The party I once knew has left me. And I know there are millions of Democrats and Independents who feel that same way.

We’ve seen our long term financial security squandered in support of an agenda that prioritises bureaucratic make-work over American ingenuity.

We have stumbled aimlessly from conflict to conflict, while our enemies outmanoeuvre and outflank us at every turn.

Our allies, who once counted on us to show leadership, have been left confused and bewildered by the decisions coming out of Washington, and out of the White House.

Because they know, and you and I know, that all the military victories in the world will amount to nothing if freedom falters here at home.

Recently, a veteran of the Cuban War came to me, and told me about the local Cubans he spoke to while he was deployed in-country. He listened to their stories, heard how Castro promised everything yet delivered only misery. Finally, young GI spoke up and said, quote:

“Now that Castro is gone, what do you want for your country?”.

They told him:

“To be as free as yours”.

In their response, they told the entire story.

The United States is a beacon of freedom for all the world, and if our light should be snuffed out – then freedom itself for all mankind may become a distant, unattainable dream.

We're at war with the most dangerous enemy that has ever faced mankind in his long climb from the swamp to the stars, and it's been said if we lose that war, and in so doing lose this way of freedom of ours, history will record with the greatest astonishment that those who had the most to lose did the least to prevent its happening.

Well, I think it's time we ask ourselves if we still know the freedoms that were intended for us by the Founding Fathers.

Because make no mistake, the present administration either does not know these freedoms, or – perhaps more sinisterly - does not want you to know them.

Our great republic was built on the idea that government is beholden to the people, that it has no other source of power except the sovereign people, is still the newest and the most unique idea in all the long history of man's relation to man.

This is the issue of this election: whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.

You and I are told increasingly we have to choose between a left or right. Well I'd like to suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There's only an up or down: up, to man's age-old dream, the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order, or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. And regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would trade our freedom for security have embarked on this downward course.

If the current administration cannot be trusted to guard our hard-won peace and prosperity, then it is clear that we need another course.

Indeed, the upcoming election is a time for choosing.

Make no mistake, we, the American people, deserve a choice, not an echo.

And I believe that Barry Goldwater offers the clearest choice possible.”
-- An excerpt of Ronald Reagan’s “A Time For Choosing” speech.

The speech was instantly a hit and made Ronald Reagan a political star overnight.

At a speech at a California fundraiser shortly after, President Kennedy referred to the speech, to laughter from the audience:
“I’m extremely fortunate to enjoy the support of many of our most famous and talented entertainers. Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr, Janet Leigh…I understand that Senator Goldwater has a celebrity endorser of his own – Mr. uh- Reagan. The star of Bedtime for Bonzo. And he has quite a bit to say about me.”

The outcome of the Republican primary content in California was up in the air. The winner was likely to be the man to challenge Kennedy in 1964.
 
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Was Castro's death filmed?

What was Goodlett's reaction to the death of Sec Nitze in Vietnam?
No, Castro's death was not filmed.

I'll be sure to make references to make more references Goodlett as time goes by. Suffice it to say, his comments on Vietnam came at a bad time.
 
I think the butterflies are really starting to pick up in pop culture now. For one thing, with Elvis dead at the height of his popularity - whatever else one can say about him - we won't have to witness the spectacle of his decline in the 1970's. On the other hand, the number of "Elvis sightings" may increase exponentially, because you know as sure as shootin' a legend/conspiracy theory is going to arise that Elvis never was on that plane.

Assuming things have gone more or less the same with the Beatles' career as OTL, they will have by now made their first, and legendary, visit to the United States in February 1964, with the attendant explosion of Beatlemania. I don't think JFK is much of a rock-and-roll man; Frank Sinatra is much more his speed. He ought to have some good quips about the great Beatle craze, though. I wonder if Jimi Hendrix is still in the Army or has returned to civilian life, and if he was involved with the Black Veterans of Cuba before turning to music.

Another pop-culture fad, the spy craze, should be underway by now, driven by the James Bond movies. I note that TTL, "Goldfinger", not "From Russia With Love", was the second in the series - hopefully FRWL won't be long delayed, as it's my personal favorite of the 007 films. Also, another project that Ian Fleming had key, if brief input, into, "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.", should be in filming for its first season. Interesting sidelight; OTL, the pilot, "The Vulcan Affair", was in the middle of filming on November 22, 1963, and Robert Vaughn, a devoted Kennedy supporter, was pretty well broken up about the assassination (he would later campaign actively for Bobby in 1968). TTL, the international-cooperation theme of the series should really resonate with Kennedy; I can even see JFK dropping by the set at one point.
I'll make sure to incorporate your great analysis into this timeline moving forward. Thank you!
 
I'll make sure to incorporate your great analysis into this timeline moving forward. Thank you!

You're welcome! Also remember that Star Trek is likely coming up in a couple of years. I don't think Gene Roddenberry would be butterflied out of his dream/concept of a "Wagon Train to the Stars", as he originally called it; indeed, his idealistic vision would likely be amplified. It's going to be interesting to see how exactly TTL's TOS differs from OTL's; maybe, for example, the original idea of a female first officer for the Enterprise stays in place.* In fact, from the very valuable book by Bob Justman and Herb Solow, "Inside Star Trek", most of the key casting seems to have been driven more or less by serendipity. It's possible, for instance, that Lloyd Alden, the person originally cast as the communications officer (he later went on to star in "Room 222" OTL) might stay in place, though I'd hate to lose Nichelle Nichols.

*Contrary to popular myth, NBC actually liked the idea of a female "Number One". What they objected to was having Roddenberry's girlfriend Majel Barrett cast in the part. In fact, they had more problems with the notion of Mr. Spock, especially his appearance - which they considered to be too "Satanic" - than with "Number One".
 
The Maryland Democratic Primary
May 19th, 1964 was the scheduled date of the Maryland primary.

It was an important primary for many reasons. Most of all however, a victory for George Wallace would be a significant feather in the cap of the segregationist movement.

And there was a real concern Wallace could win, after a number of race riots inflame racial tensions in the state.

Another cause for concern was Wallace’s already strong showing in Wisconsin, where he won almost 40% of the vote against Governor John W. Reynolds, who was acting as a surrogate for Kennedy.

The result shocked virtually everyone, including Wallace himself, and President Kennedy.

Wallace hoped to parlay this success into a potential victory in one of the upcoming states – Indiana or Maryland.

Indiana had a history of KKK activity, so Wallace hoped and believed his message would resonate there – and it did, for a certain kind of citizen.

However, the Democratic Party quickly galvanized to halt Wallace’s momentum. Ted and Bobby Kennedy personality campaigned in the state, along with several other political heavy hitters.

Once again, Wallace gained nearly 40% of the vote, shocking political pundits and Kennedy’s political allies.

By the time Maryland rolled around, there was a genuine fear that Wallace could win in the state. Especially given that Wallace was running against controversial Governor J. Millard Tawes.

Tawes’ pro-civil rights position, as well as his recent decision to increase the state income tax, were two avenues of attack Wallace used to attack the Governor.

With election day coming up, it looked very likely Wallace would win.

Unfortunately for Wallace, civil rights activists knew this too.

Black voters and liberal voters turned out in massive numbers to thwart the surging candidacy of George Wallace.

In the end, Wallace would lose by a razor thin margin of less than 2,000 votes.

Wallace was publicly angered by the result of the election:

-- Governor George Wallace, following the result of the Maryland Democratic primary

While Wallace’s vague commitment to continue the work of 1964 led many to believe he would pursue a 3rd party run, for now, President Kennedy had a clear shot to re-nomination, free from the annoyance that was Alabama’s Governor.



The Maryland Republican Primary
The Republican Primary occurred that same day, and the status of that race was far more competitive and in doubt.

The momentum of Rockefeller’s win in New Hampshire, and the energetic campaigning of Henry Calbot Lodge, saw the Governor pick up victories in New Jersey, Massachusetts, West Virginia, and Oregon.

Some of these victories were close-run things, but it was fair to say Nelson Rockefeller was the front runner.

But he was hardly assured of victory. The details of his divorce and remarriage still followed him around.

Though many voters were more concerned about Goldwater’s apparent flippancy with regard to nuclear weapons, many social conservatives could never support Rockefeller.

This created the distinct possibility of a brokered convention.

Indeed, many expected such a thing to take place. The field was badly splintered, with Rockefeller’s victories generally coming with less than 40% of the vote.

John Byrnes had won Wisconsin, William Scranton in Pennsylvania while Barry Goldwater won in Illinois, Texas, Indiana, and Nebraska.

Maryland saw John W. Steffey, a Goldwater surrogate, achieve only 20% of the vote, soundly losing to unpledged delegates.

It appeared that all roads led to California.



LBJ retires
On May 20th, 1964, Lyndon Banes Johnson announced his retirement from the Senate, citing health reasons.

The Senate Majority Leader had suffered a serious heart attack in 1955, and in his final speech before the Senate, mentioned that his health had deteriorated in recent months:


While those were his official reasons, few insiders really believed this was the case.

The investigation into Bobby Baker threatened to completely embarrass LBJ, not only destroying his legacy and career, but also derailing Kennedy’s legislative agenda.

With this in mind, Johnson used the massive media storm around Vietnam to quietly retire from the Senate and return to his ranch in Texas.

Texas Governor John Conally appointed Representative Jim Wright to serve as Senator, with a special election scheduled to take place during the Presidential election of 1964.

Mike Mansfield, Senator from Montana, became Senate Majority Leader following Johnson’s resignation. It was up to him to shepherd the Civil Rights Act through the Senate.

The end of Johnson’s career as an elected official brought with it the end of an era. No one in history had been as effective in the position as he had been.

But Johnson’s time as a party elder and back-room power broker had only just begun.


Renewing the New Frontier
On the 22nd of May 1964, John F. Kennedy gave one a major, memorable speech as President, when he gave the commencement speech to the University of Michigan.

The event was attended by 100,000 people at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

During the speech, Kennedy reaffirmed his commitment to the Great Society and embraced the themes of service that had become such a staple of his Presidency.



Many students in the crowd recounted in the years and decades subsequently, that Kennedy’s speech proved the inspiration that inspired them to enter public service, the military, or take a risk on a new business venture.

While President Kennedy was certainly an older, more experienced, slightly more jaded political figure than he was in 1960 when his Presidential campaign began, he had not lost his ability to inspire with high minded political rhetoric.

This would serve him well, with re-election right around the corner.

Enter: Reagan
On May 23rd, 1964, Barry Goldwater again references atomic weapons in a speech:



Goldwater’s statement was designed to clear up confusion and remove concern over his views on nuclear weapons.

However, in doing so, he reminded many voters of his past controversial comments, as well as those of campaign surrogates like Curtis LeMay.

It was clear Goldwater’s campaign needed a shot in the arm if he was going to win in California. Luckily for him, he was about to get it.

On May 26th, 1964, a major televised program was first aired by the “Citizens for Goldwater” group, to be broadcast across California and strengthen the candidacy of Barry Goldwater before the scheduled primary on June 2nd.

The program, entitled “A Choice, Not an Echo”, featured numerous conservative speakers endorsing Goldwater and criticising the ethos of liberal Republicans.

Speakers included Phyllis Schlafly, Curtis LeMay, Norris Cotton, William Knowland, Governor Paul Fanin and more. The event also included media clips of Nixon making positive comments about Goldwater, though he made no official endorsement of any candidate and promised to support the Republican nominee.

However, the most impactful speech came from actor and SAG leader, Ronald Reagan:


-- An excerpt of Ronald Reagan’s “A Time For Choosing” speech.

The speech was instantly a hit and made Ronald Reagan a political star overnight.

At a speech at a California fundraiser shortly after, President Kennedy referred to the speech, to laughter from the audience:


The outcome of the Republican primary content in California was up in the air. The winner was likely to be the man to challenge Kennedy in 1964.
My first choice Nixon second Goldwater.
 
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