Paper Summary: President John F. Kennedy's visit to West Berlin on 26 June 1963 has come to be regarded as one of the greatest political spectacles of the twentieth-century. During the eight-hours that Kennedy spent in the divided city, hundreds of thousands of jubilant spectators flooded onto its streets to catch a glimpse of the young President, and to hear him proudly declare that he, too, was a Berliner. Appealing to literature from the fields of political geography, history, international relations, and presidential studies, my research examines how Kennedy's trip to Berlin served to re-define the city's place within the imagined geopolitical landscape of the Cold War. In this presentation, I shall discuss how the President's visit was portrayed by the US printed news-media industry, as well as consider the ways in which this creative process served to both reinforce and contest the geopolitical narratives that the Kennedy administration sought to advance through his time in the divided city.
Biography: Ed Bryan is a political and historical geographer at the Department of Geography, University of Cambridge. In addition to his research exploring the geopolitical significance of President Kennedy’s visit to Berlin, he has published work on the geopolitical history of US-UK state visits, Taiwan’s contested claims to sovereignty, and more-than-human political philosophies.
18.11.2019 | 14:00
John F. Kennedy Institute