Each year, the president of the United States faces a host of challenges, opportunities, and crises. The presidential crisis the year you were born can offer a lot of insight into key concerns and priorities at a specific point in history.
Presidential responses to these social, political, and economic issues vary significantly. Reactions to each presidential crisis by year reflect the overall context as well as the individual demeanor, available resources, and overall practicality. As a result, the pressures of being commander in chief weigh heavily on the president, impacting their physical health, popularity among voters, and influence on the world stage.
If you want to know more about US history the year you were born, here's a list of what has been atop the president's agenda for more than four decades.
1960: American U2 Spy Plane Shot Down Over Soviet Union, Dwight D. Eisenhower
As the Cold War escalated, the United States attempted to surveil their rival. When pilot Francis Gary Powers flew his U2 spy plane over Russia on May 1, 1960, he was shot down by a Soviet missile. Powers was captured, tried for espionage, and sentenced to prison.
In 1962, Powers was returned to the US in exchange for Soviet KGB agent Rudolf Abel.
1961: Bay of Pigs Invasion, John F. Kennedy
In an effort to remove Fidel Castro from power in Cuba, the CIA enlisted a group of Cuban exiles to raid the small island country in April. The plan involved the destruction of Cuban munitions, but Castro found out about the invasion and was able to evade the attack.
As the attack continued, mistakes and miscommunication only made things worse for the American-backed exiles, ultimately dooming the whole effort.
1962: Cuban Missile Crisis, John F. Kennedy
For 13 days in October 1962, the United States stood on the brink of nuclear war with the Soviet Union. After the Soviets placed ballistic missiles in Cuba, President Kennedy implemented a naval blockade, attempting to prevent additional weapons from making their way onto the island.
During the standoff, Kennedy and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev exchanged tense messages, ultimately leading to a withdrawal by the Soviet Union. The United States, in turn, agreed to back down from a threatened invasion of Cuba.
1963: Assassination Of JFK, Lyndon B. Johnson
After the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn into office aboard Air Force One.
Johnson's presidency began amid tragedy and remained fraught with social and political tensions as the new president attempted to maintain the agenda of his predecessor.