Fifty years on

Fifty years ago this month, many of us wondered if we were on the brink of nuclear Armageddon as the Kennedy Administration confronted the Soviet Union over the latter’s stationing of nuclear missiles in Cuba. The way JFK and his colleagues handled the crisis is probably the most studied case-study in crisis management in history — see, for example, The Kennedy Tapes: Inside the White House During the Cuban Missile Crisis, but it’s still fascinating.

To mark the anniversary, the JFK Memorial Library has put together a remarkable web production which not only contains an excellent narrative of the evolution and resolution of the crisis, but also a riveting portfolio of documents, photographs, movies and audio recordings of the secret deliberations of Kennedy and his advisers. It takes time to absorb, but it’s worth it. And it’s a brilliant illustration of what the Web can do if used imaginatively.