SILVER SPRING, Md., Sept. 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Most Americans aren't aware that a mere footnote in our country's history could have been the catalyst for a potentially catastrophic series of events in the early 1960s. Lee Harvey Oswald was not the first man who wanted to kill John F. Kennedy. Three years earlier, a deranged political fanatic named Richard Pavlick plotted to murder JFK with a suicide bomb in Palm Beach, Fla. Pavlick came within seconds of carrying out his plan just weeks before President-elect Kennedy was to take office. What if JFK had died in December 1960? In an all-new and riveting take on American history, the Military Channel, in collaboration with NBC News' Peacock Productions, presents the world premiere special WHAT IF...? ARMAGEDDON 1962 on Tuesday, October 22 at 10/9c. The documentary travels back to the 1960s to explore what might have happened if Lyndon B. Johnson was in office instead of JFK during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Our nation's history often appears predestined. But in truth, historical events are frequently borne out of a series of random occurrences. If one seemingly minor aspect of an iconic event played out differently, U.S. – indeed, world – history could radically change forever. Inspired by author and political journalist Jeff Greenfield's imaginative and knowing book "Then Everything Changed," WHAT IF...? ARMAGEDDON 1962 poses the question: where would the world be today if JFK had not been alive to expertly guide America through the Cuban Missile Crisis?
"In WHAT IF...? ARMAGEDDON 1962, the Military Channel shines a light on what is arguably the most important political event of the 1960s – the Cuban Missile Crisis – and how, with different leadership, much of the world might have been destroyed in a nuclear war," said Henry Schleiff, Group President, Investigation Discovery, Military Channel, and Destination America. "The film is a departure from the typical conspiracy theories that exist around the assassination of John F. Kennedy, resulting instead in a very plausible 'what-if' scenario that truly illustrates the pressure cooker of an unprecedented international crisis and its potential consequences for life and death."
Along with remarkable archival film footage, photos, and strikingly realistic images of "what-if" situations, four experts provide commentary to compare what really happened and what might have been:
- Jeff Greenfield: Political journalist and author of "Then Everything Changed" and the upcoming "If Kennedy Lived," Greenfield reveals an alternate world by combining thorough research and an insider's knowledge of politics.
- John Gresham: A passionate historian and well-known commentator on military history, Gresham co-wrote "DEFCON-2," a single-volume history of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
- Timothy Naftali: An expert on counterterrorism and the Cold War, Naftali is the former director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. Among others, he co-authored two books on the Cuban Missile Crisis and Nikita Khrushchev.
- Eric Swedin: In his book "When Angels Wept: A What-If History of the Cuban Missile Crisis," historian Swedin posits a shocking apocalyptic vision in an alternate-history retelling of the Cuban Missile Crisis.