Herblock Looks at 1962: Fifty Years Ago in Editorial Cartoons, Part I
During the second year of his presidency in 1962, President John F. Kennedy (1917–1963) pushed his national and international agenda. At home, he attempted to implement new policies that met with partisan opposition: assisting the unemployed, passing a jobs bill, and creating Medicare. Abroad, he increased military presence in Vietnam and he faced the Soviet Union’s premier Nikita Khrushchev (1894–1971) in a nuclear showdown known as the “Cuban Missile Crisis” in October 1962. The disarmament talks in Geneva did not go well and the doomsday clock ticked closer to midnight, signaling the increased likelihood of nuclear war.
Herblock developed his character “Mr. Atom” in 1946 to visualize the threat of nuclear annihilation omnipresent during the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States from 1945 to 1990. He used Mr. Atom repeatedly in 1962 when Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev challenged American president John F. Kennedy. The Cold War confrontation between the Soviet Union and the United States played out over nuclear missile placement in Cuba and Turkey at the same time diplomats in Geneva, Switzerland struggled with disarmament.
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