|Name:||Adlai Stevenson II|
|Birth Day:||February 5, 1900|
|Death Date:||July 14, 1965(1965-07-14) (aged 65)
|Birth Place:||Los Angeles, United States|
As per our current Database, Adlai Stevenson II died on July 14, 1965(1965-07-14) (aged 65)
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Stevenson was raised in the city of Bloomington, Illinois; his family was a member of Bloomington's upper class and lived in one of the city's well-to-do neighborhoods. On December 30, 1912, at the age of twelve, Stevenson accidentally killed Ruth Merwin, a 16-year-old friend, while demonstrating drill technique with a rifle, inadvertently left loaded, during a party at the Stevenson home. Stevenson was devastated by the accident and rarely mentioned or discussed it as an adult, even with his wife and children. However, in 1955 Stevenson heard about a woman whose son had experienced a similar tragedy. He wrote to her that she should tell her son that "he must now live for two", which Stevenson's friends took to be a reference to the shooting incident.
Stevenson left Bloomington High School after his junior year and attended University High School in Normal, Illinois, Bloomington's "twin city", just to the north. He then went to boarding school in Connecticut at The Choate School (now Choate Rosemary Hall), where he played on the tennis team, acted in plays, and was elected editor-in-chief of The Choate News, the school newspaper. Upon his graduation from Choate in 1918, he enlisted in the United States Naval Reserve and served at the rank of Seaman Apprentice, but his training was completed too late for him to participate in World War I.
He attended Princeton University, becoming managing editor of The Daily Princetonian, a member of the American Whig-Cliosophic Society, a member of the Quadrangle Club, and received a B.A. degree in 1922 in literature and history. Under prodding from his father he then went to Harvard Law School, but found the law to be "uninteresting", and withdrew after failing several classes. He returned to Bloomington where he wrote for the family newspaper, The Daily Pantagraph, which was founded by his maternal great-grandfather Jesse Fell. The Pantagraph, which had one of the largest circulations of any newspaper in Illinois outside of the Chicago area, was a main source of the Stevenson family's wealth. Following his mother's death in 1935, Adlai inherited one-quarter of the Pantagraph's stock, providing him with a large, dependable source of income for the rest of his life.
A year after leaving Harvard, Stevenson became interested in the law again after talking to Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. When he returned home to Bloomington, he decided to finish his degree at Northwestern University School of Law, attending classes during the week and returning to Bloomington on the weekends to write for the Pantagraph. Stevenson received his J.D. degree from Northwestern in 1926 and passed the Illinois State Bar examination that year. He obtained a position at Cutting, Moore & Sidley, one of Chicago's oldest and most prestigious law firms.
Adlai Ewing Stevenson II was born in Los Angeles, California, in a neighborhood now designated as the North University Park Historic District. His home and birthplace at 2639 Monmouth Avenue has been designated as a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument. He was a member of a prominent Illinois political family. His grandfather and namesake Adlai Stevenson I was Vice President of the United States under President Grover Cleveland from 1893 to 1897. His father, Lewis Stevenson, never held an elected office, but was appointed Illinois Secretary of State (1914–1917) and was considered a strong contender for the Democratic vice-presidential nomination in 1928. A maternal great-grandfather, Jesse W. Fell, had been a close friend and campaign manager for Abraham Lincoln in his 1858 US Senate race; Stevenson often referred to Fell as his favorite ancestor. Stevenson's eldest son, Adlai E. Stevenson III, became a U.S. Senator from Illinois (1970–1981). His mother was Helen Davis Stevenson, and he had an older sister, Elizabeth Stevenson Ives, an author who was called "Buffie". Actor McLean Stevenson was a second cousin once removed. He was the nephew by marriage of novelist Mary Borden, and she assisted in the writing of some of his political speeches.
In 1928, Stevenson married Ellen Borden, a well-to-do socialite. The young couple soon became popular and familiar figures on the Chicago social scene; they especially enjoyed attending, and hosting, costume parties. They had three sons: Adlai Stevenson III, who would become a U.S. Senator; Borden Stevenson, and John Fell Stevenson. In 1935, Adlai and Ellen purchased a 70-acre (28 ha) tract of land along the Des Plaines River near Libertyville, Illinois, a wealthy suburb of Chicago. They built a home on the property and it served as Stevenson's official residence for the rest of his life. Although he spent relatively little time there due to his career, Stevenson did consider the estate to be his home, and in the 1950s, he was often called "The Man from Libertyville" by the national news media. Stevenson also purchased a farm in northwestern Illinois, just outside Galena, where he frequently rode horses and kept some cattle.
In July 1933, Stevenson took a job opportunity as special attorney and assistant to Jerome Frank, the general counsel of the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA), a part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal. Following the repeal of Prohibition in December 1933, Stevenson changed jobs, becoming chief attorney for the Federal Alcohol Control Administration (FACA), a subsidiary of the AAA which regulated the activities of the alcohol industry.
In 1935, Stevenson returned to Chicago to practice law. He became involved in civic activities, particularly as chairman of the Chicago branch of the Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies from 1940 to 1941. As chairman, Stevenson worked to raise public support for military and economic aid to the United Kingdom and its allies in fighting Nazi Germany during the Second World War. Stevenson "believed Britain [was] America's first line of defense" and "argued for a repeal of the neutrality legislation" and support for President Roosevelt's Lend-Lease programme. His efforts earned strong criticism from Colonel Robert R. McCormick, the powerful, isolationist publisher of the Chicago Tribune, and a leading member of the non-interventionist America First Committee.
In 1940, Major Frank Knox, newly appointed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as Secretary of the Navy, offered Stevenson a position as Principal Attorney and special assistant. In this capacity, Stevenson wrote speeches, represented Secretary Knox and the Navy on committees, toured the various theaters of war, and handled many administrative duties. Since Knox was largely a figurehead, there were few major roles for Stevenson. However, in early 1944 he joined a mission to Sicily and Italy for the Foreign Economic Administration to report on the country's economy. After Knox died in April 1944, Stevenson returned to Chicago where he attempted to purchase Knox's controlling interest in the Chicago Daily News, but his syndicate was outbid by another party.
In the alternate history novel Dominion by C. J. Sansom, World War II ends in June 1940 when the British government, under the leadership of the Prime Minister Lord Halifax, signs a peace treaty with Nazi Germany in Berlin. Franklin D. Roosevelt is steadfast in his opposition to the Nazis and the treaty, which results in him losing the 1940 election to his Republican opponent, Robert A. Taft, who becomes the 33rd president. Taft is re-elected in 1944 and 1948 but Stevenson defeats him in 1952, becoming the 34th President. Shortly after Stevenson's election in November 1952, The Times, which is owned by the pro-Nazi British Prime Minister Lord Beaverbrook, speculates that Stevenson will follow in Roosevelt's footsteps and pursue an interventionist foreign policy regarding European affairs. Several weeks later, President-elect Stevenson gives a speech indicating that he intends to begin trading with the Soviet Union upon taking office on January 20, 1953.
In a parallel universe featured in the Sliders episode "The Return of Maggie Beckett", the German Wehrmacht breaks through the Allied lines in the Battle of the Bulge in 1944, which causes World War II to drag on until 1947. General Eisenhower is relieved as the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe and returns to the United States in disgrace. Consequently, Stevenson becomes president. The Stevenson administration makes the Roswell UFO incident in July 1947 public knowledge and signs the Reticulan-American Free Trade Agreement (RAFTA), giving the US access to advanced Reticulan technology. This leads to a human mission to Mars in the 1990s.
In 1945, Stevenson took a temporary position in the State Department, as special assistant to US Secretary of State Edward Stettinius to work with Assistant Secretary of State Archibald MacLeish on a proposed world organization. Later that year, he went to London as Deputy United States Delegate to the Preparatory Commission of the United Nations Organization, a position he held until February 1946. When the head of the delegation fell ill, Stevenson assumed his role. His work at the Commission, and in particular his dealings with the representatives of the Soviet Union, resulted in appointments to the US delegations to the United Nations in 1946 and 1947.
In 1948, Stevenson was chosen by Jacob Arvey, leader of the powerful Chicago Democratic political organization, to be the Democratic candidate in the Illinois gubernatorial race against the incumbent Republican, Dwight H. Green. In a surprise upset, Stevenson defeated Green by 572,067 votes, a record margin in Illinois gubernatorial elections. President Truman carried Illinois by only 33,612 votes against his Republican opponent, Thomas E. Dewey, leading some commentators to write that "Clearly, Adlai had carried the President in with him." Paul Douglas, a University of Chicago professor of economics, was elected Senator on the same ticket.
In 1949, Adlai and Ellen were divorced; their son Adlai III later recalled that "There hadn't been a good relationship for a long time. I remember her [Ellen] as the unreasonable one, not only with Dad, but with us and the servants. I was embarrassed by her peremptory way with servants." Several of Stevenson's biographers have written that his wife suffered from mental illness: "Incidents that went from petulant to bizarre to nasty generally have been described without placing them in the context of the progression of (her) increasingly serious mental illness. It was an illness that those closest to her – including Adlai for long after the divorce – were slow and reluctant to recognize. Hindsight, legal proceedings, and psychiatric testimony now make understandable the behavior that baffled and saddened her family." Stevenson did not remarry after his divorce, but instead dated a number of prominent women throughout the rest of his life, including Alicia Patterson, Marietta Tree, and Betty Beale.
On June 2, 1949, Stevenson privately gave a sworn deposition as a character witness for Alger Hiss, a former State Department official who was later found to be a spy for the Soviet Union. Stevenson had infrequently worked with Hiss, first in the legal division of the AAA in 1933, and then in 1945, 1946, and 1947 on various United Nations projects, but he was not a close friend or associate of him. In the deposition, Stevenson testified that the reputation of Hiss for integrity, loyalty, and veracity was good. In 1950 Hiss was found guilty of perjury on the spying charges. Stevenson's deposition, according to his biographer Porter McKeever, would later be used in the 1952 presidential campaign by Senators Joseph McCarthy and Richard Nixon to "inflame public opinion and attack Adlai as 'soft on communism'." In the 1952 campaign, Senator Nixon would claim that Stevenson's "defense of Hiss" reflected such "poor judgment" on his part that "doubt was cast about Adlai's capacity to govern." In a 1952 appearance on NBC's Meet the Press, Stevenson responded to a question about his deposition for Hiss by saying "I'm a lawyer. I think that one of the most fundamental responsibilities...particularly of lawyers, is to give testimony in a court of law, to give it honestly and willingly, and it will be a very unhappy day for Anglo-Saxon justice when a man, even in public life, is too timid to state what he knows and what he has heard about a defendant in a criminal trial for fear that defendant might later be convicted. That would to me be the ultimate timidity."
Principal among Stevenson's achievements as Illinois governor were reforming the state police by removing political considerations from hiring practices and instituting a merit system for employment and promotion, cracking down on illegal gambling, and improving the state highways. He sought, with mixed success, to cleanse the Illinois state government of corruption; in one instance he fired the warden of the state penitentiary for overcrowding, political corruption, and incompetence that had left the prisoners on the verge of revolt, and in another instance Stevenson fired the superintendent of an institution for alcoholics when he learned that the superintendent, after receiving bribes from local tavern owners, was allowing the patients to buy drinks at local bars. Two of Stevenson's major initiatives as governor were a proposal to create a constitutional convention (called "con-con") to reform and improve the Illinois state constitution, and several crime bills that would have provided new resources and methods to fight criminal activities in Illinois. Most of the crime bills and con-con failed to pass the state legislature, much to Stevenson's chagrin. However, Stevenson did agree to support a Republican alternative to con-con called "Gateway", it passed the legislature and was approved by Illinois voters in a 1950 referendum. Stevenson's push for an improved state constitution "began the process of constitutional change...and in 1969, four years after his death, the goal was achieved. It was perhaps his most important achievement as governor." The new Constitution had the effect of removing the structural limitations on the growth of government in the State.
Early in 1952, while Stevenson was still governor of Illinois, President Harry S. Truman decided that he would not seek another term as president. Instead, Truman met with Stevenson in Washington and proposed that Stevenson seek the Democratic nomination for president; Truman promised him his support if he did so. Stevenson at first hesitated, arguing that he was committed to running for a second gubernatorial term in Illinois. However, a number of his friends and associates (such as George Wildman Ball) quietly began organizing a "draft Stevenson" movement for President; they persisted in their activity even when Stevenson (both publicly and privately) told them to stop. When Stevenson continued to state that he was not a candidate, President Truman and the Democratic Party leadership looked for other prospective candidates. However, each of the other main contenders had a major weakness. Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee won most of the presidential primaries and entered the 1952 Democratic National Convention with the largest number of delegates, but he was unpopular with President Truman and other prominent Democrats. In 1950 Kefauver had chaired a Senate committee that traveled to several large cities and held televised hearings into organized crime. The hearings revealed connections between organized-crime syndicates and big-city Democratic political organizations, which led Truman and other Democratic leaders to oppose Kefauver's bid for the nomination: "a machine politician and proud of it, [Truman] had no use for reformers who blackened the names of fellow Democrats." Truman favored U.S. diplomat W. Averell Harriman, but he had never held elective office and was inexperienced in national politics. Truman next turned to his Vice-President, Alben Barkley, but at 74 years of age he was dismissed as being too old by labor union leaders. Senator Richard Russell Jr. of Georgia was popular in the South, but his support of racial segregation and opposition to civil rights for blacks made him unacceptable to Northern and Western Democrats. In the end Stevenson, despite his reluctance to run, remained the most attractive candidate heading into the 1952 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
In the 1952 campaign Stevenson also developed a strong dislike for Richard M. Nixon, then the GOP vice-presidential candidate. "Adlai literally loathed Nixon. No other person aroused such disgust; not even Joseph McCarthy...Friends who often wished he could be more of a hater were awed at the strength of his distaste for Nixon." A biographer wrote that "for Stevenson, Nixon was an ambitious, unprincipled partisan who craved winning, the exact personification of what was wrong with modern American politics...[for Stevenson] Nixon was an entirely plastic politician...Nixon was Stevenson's complete villain. Others sensed the potential for immorality that led to Nixon's humiliating resignation in 1974, but Stevenson was among the first." During the 1952 campaign Stevenson often used his wit to attack Nixon, and once stated that Nixon "was the kind of politician who would cut down a redwood tree, and then mount the stump and make a speech for [tree] conservation."
The journalist David Halberstam later wrote that "Stevenson [was] an elegant campaigner who raised the political discourse" and that in 1952 "Stevenson reinvigorated [the Democratic Party] and made it seem an open and exciting place for a generation of younger Americans who might otherwise never have thought of working for a political candidate." During the campaign, a photograph revealed a hole in the sole of Stevenson's right shoe. This became a symbol of Stevenson's frugality and earthiness. Photographer William M. Gallagher of the Flint Journal won the 1953 Pulitzer prize on the strength of the image.
Unlike 1952, Stevenson was an announced, active candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1956. Initially, with polls showing Eisenhower headed for a landslide re-election, few Democrats wanted the 1956 nomination, and Stevenson hoped that he could win the nomination without a serious contest, and without entering any presidential primaries. However, on September 24, 1955, Eisenhower suffered a serious heart attack. Although he recovered and eventually decided to run for a second term, concerns about his health led two prominent Democrats, Tennessee Senator Estes Kefauver and New York Governor Averell Harriman, to decide to challenge Stevenson for the Democratic nomination. After being told by his aides that he needed to enter and win several presidential primaries to defeat Kefauver and Harriman, Stevenson entered and campaigned in the Minnesota, Florida, and California primaries. Stevenson was upset by Kefauver in the Minnesota primary, who successfully portrayed Stevenson as a "captive" of corrupt Chicago political bosses and "a corporation lawyer out of step with regular Democrats." Stevenson next battled Kefauver in the Florida primary, where he agreed to debate Kefauver on radio and television. Stevenson later joked that in Florida he had appealed to the state's citrus farmers by "bitterly denouncing the Japanese beetle and fearlessly attacking the Mediterranean fruit fly." He narrowly defeated Kefauver in Florida by 12,000 votes, and then won the California primary over Kefauver with 63% of the vote, effectively ending Kefauver's presidential bid.
His biographer Jean H. Baker wrote of Stevenson's two presidential campaigns in 1952 and 1956 that "what would be remembered...were not his public programs and ideas for a New America but, ironically, the private man – his character and personality, his wit and charm, his efforts to negotiate and keep the peace within the Democratic Party, his elegant speeches, and the grace with which he accepted defeat."
In Robin Gerber's novel Eleanor vs. Ike, Stevenson suffers a fatal heart attack as he approaches the podium to accept the Democratic nomination in 1952. He is replaced as the Democratic presidential candidate by former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.
In the alternate history short story "The Impeachment of Adlai Stevenson" by David Gerrold included in the anthology Alternate Presidents, Stevenson is elected in 1952 after Dwight D. Eisenhower makes the mistake of accepting Joseph McCarthy as his running mate instead of Richard Nixon. He successfully runs for re-election in 1956, once again defeating General Eisenhower. However, he proves to be an extremely unpopular president.
Following his defeat, Stevenson in 1953 made a well-publicized world tour through Asia, the Middle East and Europe, writing about his travels for Look magazine. His political stature as head of the Democratic Party gave him access to many foreign leaders and dignitaries. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1953. In the 1954 off-year elections Stevenson took a leading role in campaigning for Democratic congressional and gubernatorial candidates around the nation. When the Democrats won control of both houses of Congress and picked up nine gubernatorial seats it "put Democrats around the country in Stevenson's debt and greatly strengthened his position as his party's leader."
At the 1956 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, former President Truman endorsed Governor Harriman, to Stevenson's dismay, but the blow was softened by former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt's continued enthusiastic support. Stevenson easily defeated Harriman on the first ballot, winning his second Democratic presidential nomination. He was aided by strong support from younger delegates, who were said to form the core of the "New Politics" movement. In a bid to raise enthusiasm for the Democratic ticket, Stevenson made the unusual decision to leave the selection of his running mate up to the convention delegates. This set off a frantic scramble among several prominent Democrats to win the vice-presidential nomination, including Kefauver, Senator Hubert Humphrey, and Senator John F. Kennedy. After fending off a surprisingly strong challenge from Kennedy, Kefauver narrowly won the vice-presidential nomination on the second ballot. In his acceptance speech, Stevenson spoke of his plan for a "New America", which included extending New Deal programs to "areas of education, health, and poverty." He also criticized Republicans for trying to "merchandise candidates like breakfast cereal."
In Michael P. Kube-McDowell's alternate history novel Alternities, Stevenson is mentioned as having been elected president in 1956 and serving for two terms, though he is quoted as describing his second term as a curse.
The alternate history novella "Southern Strategy" by Michael F. Flynn (Alternate Generals, volume two, Baen, 2002), is told entirely from Stevenson's point of view. In a world where the Kaiser's Germany is the leader of something resembling a free world in 1956, Stevenson is a former senator of the United States, which is in ruins after a Second American Civil War. The novella follows Stevenson's increasingly futile efforts to negotiate an armistice between League of Nations peacekeepers led by General Erwin Rommel and several disparate guerrilla-terrorist bands with differing agendas. One of the terrorist bands is led by Richard Nixon.
Early in 1957, Stevenson resumed law practice, allying himself with Judge Simon H. Rifkind to create a law firm based in Washington, D.C. (Stevenson, Paul, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison), and a second firm in Chicago (Stevenson, Rifkind & Wirtz). Both law firms were related to New York City's Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. Stevenson's associates in the new law firm included Willard Wirtz, William McCormick Blair Jr., and Newton N. Minow; each of these men later served in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. He also accepted an appointment, along with other prominent Democrats, to the new Democratic Advisory Council, which "pursued an aggressive line in attacking the [Republican] Eisenhower administration and in developing new Democratic policies." He was also employed part-time by the Encyclopædia Britannica as a legal consultant.
Against the advice of many of his political advisers, Stevenson insisted on calling for an international ban to aboveground nuclear weapons tests, and for an end to the military draft. Despite strong criticism from President Eisenhower and other leading Republicans, such as Vice-President Nixon and former New York Governor Thomas Dewey, that his proposals were naive and would benefit the Soviet Union in the cold war, Stevenson held his ground, saying in various speeches that "Earth's atmosphere is contaminated from week to week by exploding hydrogen bombs...We don't want to live forever in the shadow of a radioactive mushroom cloud...[and] growing children are the principal potential sufferers" of increased strontium 90 in the atmosphere. In the end, Stevenson's push to ban atmospheric nuclear bomb tests "cost him dearly in votes", yet "Adlai finally won the verdict", as Eisenhower suspended aboveground nuclear tests in 1958, President Kennedy would sign the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty into law in 1963, and President Nixon would end the military draft in 1973.
In early 1960 Stevenson announced that he would not seek a third Democratic presidential nomination, but would accept a draft. One of his closest friends told a journalist that "Deep down, he wants [the Democratic nomination]. But he wants the [Democratic] Convention to come to him, he doesn't want to go to the Convention." In May 1960 Senator John F. Kennedy, who was actively campaigning for the Democratic nomination, visited Stevenson at his Libertyville home. Kennedy asked Stevenson for a public endorsement of his candidacy; in exchange Kennedy promised, if elected, to appoint Stevenson as his Secretary of State. Stevenson turned down the offer, which strained relations between the two men. At the 1960 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, Stevenson's admirers, led by Eleanor Roosevelt, Agnes Meyer, and such Hollywood celebrities as Dore Schary and Henry Fonda, vigorously promoted him for the nomination, even though he was not an announced candidate. JFK's campaign manager, his brother Robert F. Kennedy, reportedly threatened Stevenson in a meeting, telling him that unless he agreed to place his brother's name in nomination "you are through." Stevenson refused and ordered him out of his hotel room. In letters to friends, Stevenson described both John and Robert Kennedy as "cold and ruthless", referred to Robert Kennedy as the "Black Prince", and expressed his belief that JFK, "though bright and able, was too young, too unseasoned, to be President; he pushed too hard, was in too much of a hurry; he lacked the wisdom of humility...[Stevenson felt] that both Kennedy and the nation would benefit from a postponement of his ambition."
The writer Gore Vidal, who admired and supported Stevenson, based a main character in his 1960 Broadway play The Best Man on Stevenson. The play, which was nominated for six Tony Awards, centers on the contest for the presidential nomination at a fictitious political convention. One of the main contenders for the nomination is Secretary of State William Russell, a principled, liberal intellectual. The character is based on Stevenson; his main opponent is the ruthless, unscrupulous Senator Joseph Cantwell, whom Vidal modeled on Richard Nixon and the Kennedy brothers. The play was turned into a 1964 film of the same name, with actor Henry Fonda playing Russell. Fonda had been a Stevenson supporter at the 1960 Democratic National Convention.
In April 1961 Stevenson suffered the greatest humiliation of his diplomatic career in the Bay of Pigs invasion. After hearing rumors that "a lot of refugees wanted to go back and overthrow Castro", Stevenson voiced his skepticism about an invasion, but "he was kept on the fringes of the operation, receiving...nine days before the invasion, only an unduly vague briefing by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr." and the CIA. Senior CIA official Tracy Barnes told Stevenson and his staff that "there was going to be a clandestine operation in Cuba...it was strictly a Cuban affair. It would have some American cooperation, but only with the training and financing." According to historian Peter Wyden, Barnes did not tell Stevenson that there would be a large-scale invasion of Cuba, nor did he provide details about the full extent of American support for, and involvement with, the Cuban rebels, nor did he tell Stevenson about the planned air strikes to destroy Castro's air force. Kennedy Library historian Sheldon Stern interviewed Ambassador Charles W. Yost, Stevenson's deputy, who attended the meeting and confirmed that Yost had been suspicious of the story from the start. Yost agreed that this was another one of the CIA's "clumsy tricks." Assistant Secretary of State Harlan Cleveland, who attended the briefing, felt that Barnes was too evasive in his description of the operation, and that it was clear that Stevenson was not to be given the full details of the invasion plan. Historian Garry Wills has written that "news of the invasion was leaking out...Castro knew the landings would occur; only Adlai Stevenson was kept in the dark" about the invasion by President Kennedy and his aides.
During the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962, Stevenson gave a presentation at an emergency session of the Security Council. In his presentation, which attracted national television coverage, he forcefully asked Soviet UN representative Valerian Zorin if his country was installing nuclear missiles in Cuba, and when Zorin appeared reluctant to reply, Stevenson punctuated with the demand "Don't wait for the translation, [answer] 'yes' or 'no'!" When Zorin replied that "I am not in an American court of law, and therefore do not answer a question put to me in the manner of a prosecuting counsel...you will have your answer in due course", Stevenson retorted, "I am prepared to wait for my answer until Hell freezes over." Stevenson then showed photographs taken by a U-2 spy plane which proved the existence of nuclear missiles in Cuba, just after Zorin had implied they did not exist.
During his time as UN Ambassador, Stevenson often traveled around the country promoting the United Nations in speeches and seminars. On these trips, he frequently faced opposition and protests from groups skeptical of the United Nations, such as the right-wing John Birch Society. On October 25, 1963 Stevenson spoke in Dallas, Texas, where he was shouted down by unruly protestors led by retired General Edwin Walker's "National Indignation Convention". At one point a woman hit Stevenson on the head with a sign, leading Stevenson to remark "is she animal or human?", and telling a policeman "I don't want her to go to jail, I want her to go to school." Afterwards, Stevenson warned President Kennedy's advisers about the "ugly and frightening" mood he had found in Dallas, but Kennedy went ahead with his planned visit to Dallas in late November 1963.
In July 1965, Stevenson traveled to Geneva, Switzerland, to attend the annual meeting of the United Nations Economic and Social Council. After the conference he stopped in London for several days, where he visited UK Prime Minister Harold Wilson, discussed the situation in South Vietnam with British officials, and was interviewed by CBS newsman Eric Sevareid. On the afternoon of July 14, while walking in London with his aide and romantic partner Marietta Tree to Grosvenor Square, Stevenson suffered a massive heart attack, and died later that day at age 65 of heart failure at St George's Hospital. Marietta Tree recalled:
Adlai Stevenson II was inducted as a Laureate of The Lincoln Academy of Illinois and awarded the Order of Lincoln (the State's highest honor) by the Governor of Illinois in 1965 in the area of Government.
Stevenson has also been referenced in films. Peter Sellers claimed that his portrayal of President Merkin Muffley in Dr. Strangelove was modeled on Stevenson. Stevenson's "Don't wait for the translation" speech to Russian ambassador Valerian Zorin during the Cuban Missile Crisis inspired dialogue in a courtroom scene in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. The historical speech itself is depicted in the 2000 film Thirteen Days with Michael Fairman playing Stevenson, as well as partially depicted in the 1974 television play The Missiles of October by Ralph Bellamy. Stevenson is also referenced in Wayne's World 2 ("Waynestock" is held in an Aurora, Illinois, park named for Stevenson), Plain Clothes (the high school is named for Stevenson), Annie Hall (Woody Allen's character tells a standup joke about the Stevenson-Eisenhower campaign) and Breakfast at Tiffany's. Stevenson also appear in A Global Affair credited as himself.
In the 2016 movie Bogie and Bacall, Stevenson was portrayed by actor Ryan Paevey.
Currently, Adlai Stevenson II is 123 years, 1 months and 16 days old. Adlai Stevenson II will celebrate 124th birthday on a Monday 5th of February 2024.
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