Regardless of the scenario, a president must be ready to lead. Below, made available through the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, is the speech that JFK would have delivered to the American people had the Cuban Missile Crisis escalated into a catastrophic full-scale war.

Penned on October 18, 1962 by legendary speechwriter Ted Sorensen, it’s an incredible, fascinating glimpse into our leader’s unspoken response in an hour of despair.

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Amazing. Just another moving reminder of how much history would have been altered if just one or two things had gone differently.