|John Fitzgerald Kennedy
President Kennedy in 1960
It seemed John Fitzgerald Kennedy was destined to become President of the United States. He was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, on May 29, 1917, into a family that was heavily involved in politics. Both of his Grandfathers had been involved in Boston politics. Kennedys father, Joseph P. Kennedy, was a successful businessman who served as the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission in Franklin D. Roosevelts administration.
The Kennedys were prominent Roman Catholics, but John didnt attend Parochial school. Instead he attended a non-religious, but prestigious private school, and later went on to Harvard University. John graduated in 1940 having just average grades.
Kennedys graduation picture
After Kennedy finished school, he joined the navy just two months before the United States entered World War II. Kennedy became commander of a PT boat that was stationed in the South Pacific near the Solomon Islands. There a Japanese destroyer cut his ship in two leaving him in the water for 15 hours. During those 15 hours, Kennedy towed members of his crew to safety and then swam from island to island for the next several days searching for a rescue party. Kennedy later received the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for his display of heroism.
Lt. Kennedy in the Solomon Islands
After the war, John worked for the Hearst newspaper for a short while, then began to seek an elective office. His first run for office was for the Democratic Congressional seat in the 11th District of Massachusetts during the Election of 1946. He won with a 5 to 1 majority over his opponents. This started John F. Kennedys political career.
After that, he was re-elected to the United States House of Representatives twice. Kennedy was well-liked and independent voters loved him, along with many Republicans. Next, he ran for the Senate seat and won in 1952 over Republican Senator Henry Cabot Lodge.
During this time, Kennedy received a Pulitzer Prize for a book he wrote called "Profiles in Courage". The book was about the great political leaders in America, it was published in 1956. He wrote the book while being ill for a long time. Kennedy suffered since childhood from different illnesses: malaria, jaundice, adrenaline insufficiency, and a back injury.
In 1958, while facing a tough opponent named Estes Kefauver, Kennedy lost his seat in the Senate. Despite this loss, at age 41, Kennedy had already had an extremely successful political career and decided to take the next step.
Kennedys campaigning poster
Kennedy started campaigning for the 1960 Presidential Election. Kennedy gave more than 150 speeches the first year of his campaign, 200 speeches the following year, and in 1960, he announced that he was running for President. He focused his campaign on unemployment and the slowness of the economy. His opponent was the Republican Vice President Richard Nixon, and it was a very close election, but Kennedy won. When he became President on January 20, 1961, he was the youngest man ever to be elected.
At the beginning of his Presidency, he faced a giant problem. A group of Cuban Refugees, supported by the CIA, made an attempt in April of 1961 to invade Communist Cuba. It was an absolute failure. Kennedy had to take the blame for the failure of "The Bay of Pigs Invasion."
But later Kennedy improved his image when he held a conference with the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union and made an agreement limiting nuclear bomb tests. This was one of the most important accomplishments of Kennedys first term. Kennedy went on doing a fairly good job as President until late 1963, when the United States and the World faced a shocking Nuclear confrontation. It was here the John F. Kennedy may very well have stopped World War III from starting.
The Soviets decided to take advantage of the young President and secretly built nuclear missile launching pads on the Island of Cuba pointed at the heartland of the United States. When Kennedy discovered the threat he reacted decisively and had the navy blockade Cuba. All ships carrying military supplies were turned back. Soviet nuclear submarines were dispatched and the world faced its first nuclear showdown. It got down to the last hour before the Solviets backed down. Kennedy promised the Solviets the United States would not invade Communist Cuba and the Solviets agreed to remove all the nuclear missiles from Cuba. This was known as the Cuban Missile Crisis.
In November of 1963, Kennedy traveled to Dallas, Texas, to help the Democratic governor raise funds for the upcoming election. It was planned that the President would make a speech at a fund raising dinner. On November 22 he was riding with his wife Jacqueline in a motorcade through Dallas, Texas, when Lee Harvey Oswald fired a fatal shot at Kennedys car. Kennedy was killed, and later the assassin was caught and arrested. Before Oswald could be questioned and tried, he was ambushed and shot by another assassin named Jack Ruby. Although events were very suspicious, Police found no evidence that Oswald was part of a larger conspiracy. Even though Oswald, who was 24 year old, had once worked for the CIA, and had earlier lived in the Soviet Union, nothing was ever found to link the assassination with any other country, group, or persons.
Lee Harvey Oswald
President John F. Kennedy is now buried in Arlington National Cemetery. The American people will never forget what President Kennedy accomplished for our country.
"Kennedy, John F." Encarta Interactive Encyclopedia (CD-ROM), 1999
"J.F.K. Biography" @ http://www.angelfire.com/me/mbkennedy/JFKBIO.html, 5/21/00
"Kennedy, John" Colliers Encyclopedia , Vol. 14. 1992 edition.
26 września 1960 odbyła się pierwsza w historii telewizyjna debata prezydencka między kandydatami: Johnem F. Kennedym i Richardem Nixonem. Jej wynik zmienił charakter kampanii wyborczych.
W planach i kampaniach wyborczych mówił o zakończeniu w USA rasizmu, dotykającego najczęściej Afroamerykanów.
20 stycznia 1961 został zaprzysiężony na 35 prezydenta USA, wtedy też wypowiedział słynne słowa: „Nie pytaj, co twój kraj może zrobić dla ciebie, zapytaj, co ty możesz zrobić dla swojego kraju” (ang. Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country).
W tym samym 1961 r. został uhonorowany tytułem Człowieka Roku tygodnika „Time”.
10 Things You May Not Know About John F. Kennedy
By Christopher Klein
On November 22, 1963, 46-year-old John F. Kennedy was murdered as bullets ripped through his presidential motorcade parading through downtown Dallas. Fifty years after his assassination, learn 10 surprising facts about America’s 35th president.
1. He and Jackie Kennedy had four children.
In addition to Caroline and John, Jr., the Kennedys had two other children. In 1956, Jackie gave birth to a stillborn girl whom the couple intended to name Arabella, and on August 7, 1963, Patrick Bouvier Kennedy was born five-and-a-half weeks early. The baby weighed under five pounds and died two days later from a pulmonary disease. The bodies of the two children were removed from Massachusetts in 1963 to be next to their father in Arlington National Cemetery.
2. Kennedy received last rites three times before his presidency.
Kennedy suffered from poor health his entire life and, fearing imminent death, America’s first Catholic president received the sacramental last rites of the church on three occasions. On a trip to England in 1947, Kennedy fell ill and was given perhaps a year to live after being diagnosed with Addison’s disease, a rare disorder of the adrenal glands. Returning to America aboard the Queen Mary, Kennedy was so ill that a priest was summoned to administer last rites. He received the sacrament again in 1951 after suffering from an extremely high fever while traveling in Asia and in 1954 after he slipped into a coma from an infection after surgery to address his chronic back problems.
3. The Army medically disqualified Kennedy from service.
In the months before the United States entered World War II, Kennedy attempted to enlist in the military, but his intestinal and back problems caused him to fail the physical examinations for both the Army’s and Navy’s officer candidate schools. Using his father’s connections, however, the future president was admitted to the Navy in October 1941. As a commanding officer of PT-109, he became a wartime hero after helping his crewmates survive the gunboat’s 1943 sinking.
4. He won a Pulitzer Prize.
Kennedy authored his first book, “Why England Slept,” at age 22, and in 1945 he spent a few months as a newspaper correspondent for William Randolph Hearst’s newspapers covering the United Nations conference in San Francisco and the aftermath of World War II in Europe. In 1957, a Pulitzer Prize in biography was awarded to Kennedy for “Profiles in Courage,” although there has since been controversy as to how much of the book was ghostwritten by his aide Theodore Sorensen.
5. Kennedy briefly attended Princeton University.
Prior to his enrollment at Harvard University, the future president in 1935 began his undergraduate career at another Ivy League institution, Princeton University. His stint there was brief. A gastrointestinal illness forced him to leave Princeton after only two months, and after convalescing he transferred to Harvard.
6. He donated his congressional and presidential salaries to charity.
Kennedy’s father built a family fortune, and when the young politician entered Congress in 1947, he earned sufficiently ample annual income from trusts established by his father that he decided to donate his entire legislative salary to various charities. Kennedy quietly maintained the practice as president after becoming the richest man to ever take the oath of office.
7. Kennedy installed a secret taping system in the White House.
Richard Nixon was not the first president to record his private White House conversations. In the summer of 1962, Kennedy secretly installed a taping system in the Oval Office and Cabinet Room that transmitted recordings to a reel-to-reel tape recorder in the White House basement. The president likely installed the system to aid him in writing his future memoir, and it captured many historical discussions between Kennedy and his staff, including discussions during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
8. Kennedy proposed a joint Soviet mission to the moon.
Although Kennedy famously challenged the country in the first months of his presidency to land a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s, by September 1963 he had such concerns about the space program’s high cost that he proposed partnering with the Soviet Union on a joint expedition to the moon. “Why,” he asked in an address to the United Nations General Assembly, “should man’s first flight to the moon be a matter of national competition? Why should the United States and the Soviet Union, in preparing for such expeditions, become involved in immense duplications of research, construction and expenditure?”
9. There were rumors that he considered dropping Lyndon Johnson from the 1964 ticket.
With more than a year before the 1964 presidential election, rumors swirled that Kennedy was considering replacing Johnson as his running mate with Florida Senator George Smathers, North Carolina Governor Terry Sanford or another Democrat. Kennedy’s secretary, Evelyn Lincoln, wrote in her 1968 memoir that the president mentioned a possible switch to her three days before his death, and hours before the assassination, the November 22, 1963, edition of the Dallas Morning News printed an interview with Nixon, who was in the city on business, with the headline: “Nixon Predicts JFK May Drop Johnson.”
10. Kennedy feared running for re-election against Mitt Romney’s father.
When evaluating prospective Republican candidates for the 1964 presidential campaign, Kennedy welcomed the prospect of running against Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater, who ultimately received his party’s nomination, but he was concerned about the prospects of facing more moderate Michigan Governor George Romney, father of the 2012 Republican presidential nominee. “The one fellow I don’t want to run against is Romney. That guy could be tough” he privately confided to a friend in 1963.