A meeting in Vienna

In early June 1961, U.S. president John F. Kennedy and USSR chairman Nikita Khrushchev had an important meeting in Vienna.  There are many viewpoints about what happened, but the consensus is that the Soviet leader pushed his way around the new U.S. president.  In his book about President Kennedy, Richard Reeves concluded that Kennedy was totally unprepared for the summit.  It's hard to believe, but apparently no one told President Kennedy that Chairman Khrushchev was testing him.

I wonder if the two men joked about September 12 — an important anniversary that they shared?

On this day in 1953, Kennedy, then a new senator from Massachusetts, and Khrushchev, of the USSR, had something to cheer about:

Jack married Jackie.  Richard Cardinal Cushing officiated the wedding ceremony at St. Mary's Church in Newport, Rhode Island.  They had a huge reception later.  Of course, JFK was elected president in 1960.

On the same day over in the USSR, Nikita Khrushchev was elected leader following the death of Stalin.  Khrushchev tried to reform the country by denouncing Stalin's totalitarian policies at the 20th Party Congress in 1956 and released millions of political prisoners.  He tried to present a new image to the world, but the Hungarians, crushed by Warsaw Pact tanks, ended that version of what we would later call "perestroika."

Years later, the two met in Vienna as the leaders of their two nations.  They went head to head in the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962.

They had something to cheer about on this day in 1953!  I wonder if anyone reminded them about it.

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Image: Pikist.