History Repeating? Twitter and the Cuban Missile Crisis

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A long, long time ago (50 years to be exact) the United States was embroiled in a major international crisis. And, we didn’t have Twitter to keep us apprised of the breaking developments that were leading the U.S. and Soviet Union to the brink of nuclear war.

This month marks the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis. A Cold War story that was a turning point in the presidency of John F. Kennedy and probably would have been his ticket to a second term in 1964, if only….

The Twitter account @JFK1962 (formerly @JFK1961 and soon to be @JFK1963), a project of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, has been re-creating the Kennedy Presidency via social media.

The Kennedy White House was as media savvy for its time as the Obama White House, using television to make Kennedy seem as accessible and friendly as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and the rest are used to portray Barack Obama as in touch with the present and future-ready. Key similarity: both presidents happily embraced using their latest communication tools.

The 13 days of the Cuban Missile Crisis (October 16-28) are currently being tweeted using transcripts from the Kennedy Presidency and other historical documents archived at the Kennedy Library. Sample tweet:

“We’ve got a blockade with/without a declaration of war..We’ve got invasion. We’ve got notification of Khrushchev.

Kathy Drasky
Kathy Drasky regularly writes about online culture. Her marketing and communications work with the ANZA Technology Network, Advance Global Australians and with various Australians and Australian enterprises has led to at least a dozen trips Down Under.

An accomplished digital photographer, her photos have appeared in 7x7 Magazine, the San Francisco Chronicle and Google Schmap.
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One Response to History Repeating? Twitter and the Cuban Missile Crisis

  1. Aline Dobbie October 19, 2012 at 11:59 pm #

    At the same time as the Cuban Missile Crisis China walked into India and right down into Assam. I was there aged just 16 and in between education. It was a terrible thing and the Indian Army found itself outfoxed but primarily because the Indian government had neglected the army because they feared it could turn on them like Pakistan’s had. Prime Minister Nehru felt betrayed by the Chinese whom he had turned a blind eye to when they invaded Tibet. It was a most shocking betrayal and made India wake up to her acclaimed ‘non alignment policy’ which had also been mute during the Hungary crisis. Because of family connections young as I was a famous tea company asked me to help organise the evacuation of their tea garden personnel. The RAF also came to help but the Indian Air Force did a wonderful job. My parents at 30 minutes notice put up a Scots family with two sets of twins who had had to walk out with one suitcase…the 2nd set were 3 month old babies! The Chinese still have aspirations to own parts of India and are probably the world’s last imperialists….but their country might yet implode.

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