Rhetorical Analysis of Khrushchev’s Letter to Kennedy

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A few months after the Vienna Summit, Soviet Chairman Nikita Khrushchev of the USSR sent a response letter to President John F. Kennedy. The contents of the September 1961 letter explained that while he (Khrushchev) understood and sympathized with Kennedy’s idea of a peaceful resolution to their current issues, he believed that a peaceful resolution would be impossible to achieve due to Kennedy’s own actions and words about Khrushchev and the U.S.S.R. Khrushchev mentioned in the seventh paragraph that he wrote a letter to Kennedy about a resolution to their conflicts. However, he then referenced Kennedy's statements on the matter in a way that indicated he intended to retort Kennedy's opinion on the matter and shift blame for the lack of progress. In his letter, Khrushchev states, "After that speech which, putting it bluntly, was belligerent in its nature, my letter would not have been understood by you since it completely differed in spirit, content, and tone of what you said.” The speech Khrushchev was referring to was Kennedy’s “Report to the Nation - Berlin Crisis, 25 July 1961” in which he explained that Khrushchev was making threats about his military power and defined West Berlin as an immediate threat to free men, stating that Khrushchev had seemed indifferent to reality of possible lives that could be lost. Khrushchev was obviously trying to play the role of the victim here in his response following Kennedy's speech to the nation about their meeting. The letter from Khrushchev was slanted from Khrushchev's point of view and made it appear that Khrushchev was the one who wanted to make a deal, while Kennedy was rash and jumped to conclusions. This isn’t the first time in the letter Khrushchev tries to give himself a reasonable and moral Ethos. He opens the letter talking about his current vacation and claims that he didn’t wish to talk politics but had been

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