JFK on the containment of Communism, 1952

John F. Kennedy, [Portion of an address], ca. August 12, 1952 (GLC02313)In August 1952, as he was campaigning for the US Senate, John F. Kennedy addressed the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Federation of Labor. This manuscript is a draft of the speech Kennedy delivered before the influential labor union. Kennedy focused on the expansion of Communism and the priority of containment. Kennedy referred to the Communist threat as "an enemy, power[full], unrelenting and implacable who seeks to dominate the world by subversion and conspiracy." He asserted that "All problems are dwarfed by the necessity of the West to maintain against the Communists a balance of power." He also pointed out that containment was necessary not only for United States military safety, but also because of the threat Communism posed in "political & economic" spheres.

A full transcript is available.





But In our efforts to contain the tide of Communist expansion, it would be a mistake to judge the Communist threat as primarily military, although it is Russian military prestige that has force & gives persua persuasion to her [illegible] to the beliefs of its political & economic doctrines.


Certainly we must stand devote all our available energies to the task of rebuilding our military strength and we should use every means at our disposal to persuade our friends in the West to do likewise.