President John F. Kennedy had a speech on April 27, 1961; famously called "THE PRESIDENT AND THE PRESS". In that speech, he mentions a hidden enemy with concealed acts. Who is it?

The President have referred to the issue mainly in this part:

Today no war has been declared--and however fierce the struggle may be, it may never be declared in the traditional fashion. Our way of life is under attack. Those who make themselves our enemy are advancing around the globe. The survival of our friends is in danger. And yet no war has been declared, no borders have been crossed by marching troops, no missiles have been fired.

If the press is awaiting a declaration of war before it imposes the self-discipline of combat conditions, then I can only say that no war ever posed a greater threat to our security. If you are awaiting a finding of "clear and present danger," then I can only say that the danger has never been more clear and its presence has never been more imminent.

It requires a change in outlook, a change in tactics, a change in missions--by the government, by the people, by every businessman or labor leader, and by every newspaper. For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence--on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations.

Its preparations are concealed, not published. Its mistakes are buried, not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumor is printed, no secret is revealed. It conducts the Cold War, in short, with a war-time discipline no democracy would ever hope or wish to match.


It's worth noting that the speech was delivered on April 27, 1961 after the failed Bay of Pigs invasion (April 17–20, 1961) which was "intended to overthrow the increasingly communist government of Fidel Castro".

Here's an analysis from The New York Times:

Delivered after the failed Bay of Pigs invasion (an attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro in Cuba), the speech focuses on his view of the “dilemma faced by a free and open society in a cold and secret war.”

[ ... ]

This speech is given in the midst of the Cold War; in fact, just a little more than a week after the failed Bay of Pigs invasion. Kennedy felt that leaks in the press had, in part, led to the military failure in Cuba. As a result, Kennedy organizes his words around a desire to reconcile two somewhat contradictory needs: “the need for far greater public information; and [the] need for far greater official secrecy.”

Another excerpt from his speech probably provides a clearer context.

In time of war, the government and the press have customarily joined in an effort based largely on self-discipline, to prevent unauthorized disclosures to the enemy. In time of "clear and present danger," the courts have held that even the privileged rights of the First Amendment must yield to the public's need for national security.

(emphasis mine)

Hence, the enemy that Kennedy was referring to was Communism.


It seems pretty obvious that he was talking about the Soviet/communist camp, especially given the last sentence "It conducts the Cold War [...]"

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