In the era of nuclear confrontation, John F. Kennedy attempted to prevent war six times during his short tenure as president. He didn t live to face a seventh.
VIRTUAL JFK: VIETNAM IF KENNEDY HAD LIVED takes up one of America s controversial what if scenarios, examining the question: Would the U.S. have escalated the war in Vietnam if Kennedy was not assassinated in 1963? With insight and erudition, the film traces JFK s presidency a 1,000-day term plagued with tense political stand-offs through rare and previously-unseen archival footage, offering nuanced accounts of the former president s political decisions and, by extension, his probable response to the escalating conflict in Vietnam.
Featuring unprecedented access into the leadership style of one of the nation s most important leaders, VIRTUAL JFK sheds new light on the man who helped avoid war in six crises and did not live to save America from the devastating war in Vietnam.
If you have any political curiosity at all (or even just a jones for Kennedy lore), Virtual JFK: Vietnam If Kennedy Had Lived
will prove a most enticing "what if" enterprise. What if one single piece of history hadn't happened? What if John F. Kennedy had not died by assassin's bullet on November 22, 1963, but survived to preside over the bulk of an incredibly turbulent decade? Virtual JFK
does not create a new alternate-history story line, but it does lay out a series of game-changing events during the Vietnam War and then reflects back on Kennedy's actual speeches, writings, and actions to suggest ways he might have dealt with each new twist of the disastrous conflict. Thus the film examines Kennedy's responses to the Bay of Pigs fiasco, the communist incursion into Laos, and the raising of the Berlin Wall--instances in which his moderate but decisive actions forestalled U.S. military action. More famously, his approach to the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 was the mark of a true chess player; we hear tapes of JFK cannily predicting that overt American military action in Cuba would give the Soviets an excuse to take West Berlin. Predictably, he was accused of being an appeaser during strategy sessions--but he won the day in history's eyes. We'll never know how Kennedy might have handled Vietnam, but these arguments (urged along by Brown University professor James G. Blight, the only talking head in the movie) make for tantalizing viewing, and director Koji Masutani has assembled a particularly impressive collection of original footage, some of which might be new even to veteran Kennedy watchers. This image of a prudent, thoughtful president practicing farsighted diplomacy was probably part of the point of this 2008 film; along with the history lesson, it wants to suggest contemporary ways of being smart on the world stage. --Robert Horton