On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested for the crime, but he was never prosecuted due to his murder by Jack Ruby two days later. Pursuant to the Presidential Succession Act, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as president later that day. The FBI and the Warren Commission officially concluded that Oswald was the lone assassin, but various groups still believe that Kennedy was the victim of a global conspiracy.
On 12 February 1964, barely three months after Kennedy’s assassination while all of America was still in mourning for its just fallen leader a political thriller motion picture was released in America about a military-political cabal’s planned take-over of the United States government in reaction to the president’s negotiation of a disarmament treaty with the Soviet Union. The movie was titled Seven Days in May.
The movie was based on a book written in late 1961 and into early 1962, during the first year of the Kennedy administration, reflecting some of the events of that era. In November 1961, President John F. Kennedy accepted the resignation of vociferously anti-Communist General Edwin Walker who was indoctrinating the troops under his command with personal political opinions and had described former President Harry S. Truman, former United States Secretary of State Dean Acheson, former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and other recent still-active public figures as Communist sympathizers.
Although no longer in uniform, Walker continued to be in the news as he attempted to run for Governor of Texas and made speeches promoting strongly right-wing views. In the film version of Seven Days in May, Fredric March, portraying the narrative’s fictional President Jordan Lyman, mentions General Walker as one of the “false prophets” who were offering themselves to the public as leaders. (Accused John F. Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald purportedly fired rifle shots into the home of General Walker in April 1963.)
President Kennedy had read Seven Days in May shortly after its publication and believed the scenario as described could actually occur in the United States. Kennedy himself described atleast one of the writer of the book Fletcher Knebel in particular as being “Washington’s most widely read and widely plagiarized commentator”. According to John Frankenheimer in his director’s commentary, production of the film received encouragement and assistance from Kennedy through White House Press Secretary Pierre Salinger, who conveyed to Frankenheimer Kennedy’s wish that the film be produced and that, although the Pentagon did not want the film made, the President would conveniently arrange to visit Hyannis Port for a weekend when the film needed to shoot outside the White House.
As they collaborated on the novel, Knebel and Bailey, who were primarily political journalists and columnists, also conducted interviews with another controversial military commander, the newly appointed Air Force Chief of Staff, Curtis LeMay, an advocate of preventive first-strike nuclear option.
Kennedy had appointed John Kenneth Galbraith as his most trusted strategic advisor. During his time as advisor Galbraith was appointed United States Ambassador to India from 1961 to 1963. His rapport with President Kennedy was such that he regularly bypassed the State Department and sent his diplomatic cables directly to the president. In June 1993, his son Professor James Galbraith discovered a declassified Top Secret document that details a National Security Council Meeting with Kennedy in 1961.
In his analysis Did the U.S. Military Plan a Nuclear First Strike for 1963? of this Top Secret memo, Galbraith writes that beginning in 1957 the U.S. military started preparing plans for a preemptive nuclear strike against the U.S.S.R, based on growing lead in land-based missiles and top military and intelligence leaders presented an assessment of those plans to President John F. Kennedy in July of 1961. At that time, some high Air Force and CIA leaders apparently believed that a window of outright ballistic missile superiority, perhaps sufficient for a successful first strike, would be open in late 1963.
The document describes this meeting of the National Security Council on July 20, 1961. At that meeting, the document shows, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the director of the CIA, and others, presented plans for a surprise attack.
As predicted by the National Security Council the Cold War tensions between US and Russia in the following couple of years did gave them a window of opportunity for a successful first strike during the Cuban Missile Crisis. However, Kennedy was facing a foe more relentless than Khrushchev. The aggressive Joint Chiefs of Staff argued for the deployment of nuclear weapons and kept pressing to invade Cuba. To counter the military’s willingness to use nuclear weapons against the Communists, Kennedy pushed the Pentagon to replace Eisenhower’s strategy of “massive retaliation” with what he called “flexible response”—a strategy of calibrated force that his White House military adviser, General Maxwell Taylor, had described in a 1959 book, The Uncertain Trumpet. As Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. the presidential historian revealed that Kennedy’s success in fending them off may have been his most consequential victory.
There are parallels to this story that many experts have been citing at apart from President Putin and Trump and their followers. With Putin’s comment that no one would survive U.S.-Russia nuclear war to his telling NBC’s Megyn Kelly that “Kennedy’s assassination was arranged by the United States special services” to the attempts, threats and jokes on Donald Trump’s assassination increasing by the day and his rift with the Deep State – there maybe more here than meets the eye. Is history repeating itself or is being carefully crafted?