Kennedy


     John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the 35th president of the United States. He
was the youngest president ever to be elected, the first Roman Catholic
president, and the first president to be born in the 20th century. Although, he
didn't get the chance to live out his term and possible another one, he impacted
the entire world. No other president was so popular, especially with the young
people. John F. Kennedy was born May 29th, 1917, child of Joseph P. and Rose

Kennedy. John had eight brothers and sisters: Joseph P. Jr. (1915), Rosemary
(1918), Kathleen (1920), Eunice (1921), Patricia (1924), Robert F. (1925), Jean
(1928) and Edward M. (1932). All of the children were born in Brookline,

Massachusetts. They were all very competitive due to their parents. The only
thing that was important to them was winning. John grew up in the nineteen
twenties and thirties at his birth place of Brookline, Massachusetts. John had
once stated, "life is unfair,"1 yet for him the statement was
definitely not true. His childhood consisted of many things. Coming from a
wealthy family let him have the freedom to do what most kids couldn't. That
still didn't keep him from behaving like other kids. He and his brothers and
sisters all participated in things such as sailboat races, tennis matches, or
even just a simple game of touch football. All family members were always
encouraged to get involved with government issues. Small talk wasn't allowed at
the Kennedy dinner table2. They discussed world and national issues. The impact
of these discussions wouldn't be seen until later. Joseph and Rose were trying
to prepare their sons for public life and prepare their daughters for marriages
to distinguished young men. In 1937, the Kennedy family moved to Great Britain
so that John's father could become the American ambassador there for three
years. John stayed in the United States for an education at Harvard University.

John was a very good student at Harvard, yet he didn't make the high grades that
his brother had. So, John joined two clubs and spent most of his time working on
a newspaper published at Harvard, "Crimson"3. When he had finished his
school term his father decided to let him tour Europe. When he was there he
started to become interested in wars and politics, after noticing Hitler's
actions. John went back there the following summer and saw how Hitler never gave
up and continued to strengthen his army. He knew of the war that was soon
coming. The United States had sided with Great Britain, so he knew he would have
to go into the war. So, he went to enter the Air Corps, but was turned away
because of his back problems. Instead he went for the position on naval officer
and passes the health analysis. He was assigned to the intelligence division, he
thought it was very boring. Shortly after Pearl Harbor was attacked, John was
sent for motor torpedo (PT boat) training4. Officer Kennedy soon became

Lieutenant Kennedy. In Tulagi, John was assigned to a dirty old looking boat
that had already been through nine months of combat. John experienced his first
real combat when his boat was attacked by a Japanese fighter plane. Only two men
were injured that time. They continued to stay there until one night when a full
size Japanese ship came full speed at Kennedy's boat. The boat was demolished
and the Japanese thought that all of the men had been killed. All of the men
were forced to swim to Plum Pudding Island , three and one half miles away, with

Kennedy leading them. After his triumph he was promoted to Full Lieutenant and
was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for saving his crew. He also
received a Purple Heart for the severe back injury he suffered from the
collision. After that, he took command of another PT boat and took part in many
more missions. For John one particularly bad thing happened in this war, his
brother died. Which impacted his life so greatly. The family had expected his
brother Joe to run for public office. Now that he was gone, John was now the
eldest son and it was now his responsibility. In 1946, he had the chance to run
for Congress. Though he was still weak from his war injuries, he campaigned
aggressively. He won that election that November, he was only 295. He served
three terms as a Democratic Congressman, from 1947 until1953. In 1952 he ran for

U.S. senate against Henry Cabot Lodge. He won that election and less than a year
later he enhanced his appeal to the people. He married Jacqueline Lee Bouvier on

September 12, 1953. He was a very popular and successful Senator. He had almost
become Stevenson's vice presidential running mate in 1956. His speech on
concession brought him into over 40 million homes in America. He quickly became
one of the most famous political figures in the country. Already his campaign
for 1960 nomination had begun. Kennedy had to make extreme efforts toward this
campaign. People were saying that no Roman Catholic man could ever become
president. His mission was to prove them wrong. The press loved him, he and his
wife appeared on magazine covers, photographers followed them everywhere. He had
to do a number of speeches and appearances. So, to transport him and his staff
around the country, his father bought him a forty passenger Convair aircraft6.

In January 1960, Kennedy formally announced his presidential candidacy. His
rivals were Senators Hubert H. Humphrey of Minnesota and Lyndon B. Johnson of

Texas. Kennedy knocked Humphrey out of the way and was still battling the rumors
of a catholic president. He dealt with that by winning the primary in West

Virginia, which is primarily Protestant. He was nominated on the first ballot,
and chose Johnson as his running mate. Kennedy narrowly won the general election
against Nixon. He was inaugurated on January 20, 1961. At the inauguration is
where he made his famous speech. The speech was about America's revolutionary
heritage. Which is when he made this famous quote," Ask not what your
country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."7 Kennedy's
first year in office brought him considerable success. Congress passed a bill
increasing minimum wage, and Congress passed his bill to create the Peace Corps.

Which was an agency to perform social and humanitarian services overseas. The
program's goal was to create peace and friendship with nations. Within two years
the Peace Corps were working in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Kennedy ran
into some problems after the conservative Republicans joined with the Southern

Democrats to stop legislation they didn't like. A Medicare bill, a civil rights
bill, and a bill to create a Cabinet-level Department of Urban Affairs were all
defeated8. Kennedy didn't lose all of his approval because he get some of his
bills passed. Congress passed a bill to lower tariffs, authorized a purchase of
over $100 million in United Nations bonds, and Congress appropriated more than
$1 billion dollars to send a man to the moon. Kennedy began to lose popularity
after he started forcing universities in the south to accept black students.

People thought that he was limiting their rights as citizens. He continued to
speak out against segregation and lost even more populairty. In 1959, after
several attempts, a revolution led by Fidel Castro finally overthrew the Cuban
dictator Fulgencio Batista y Zaldivar. During the next two years Castro became
very hostile towards the United States. After some problems with $1 billion
dollars in properties and companies owned by the U.S., Castro began to proclaim
his belief in Communism. Cuba then became part of the cold war. Kennedy approved
an invasion of Cuba by CIA trained Cuban exiles. In April 1961, more then 1000
exiles landed in Cuba at a place called Bay of Pigs. Their plan was to move
inland and join with anti-Castro forces to stage a revolt. Castro's forces were
there to meet the invaders, and the revolt didn't happen. The CIA promised air
support, but that never came. The exiles were taken as prisoners. The prisoners
were released in exchange for food and medical supplies valued at $53 million.

In March 1961, Kennedy introduced the Alliance for Progress, which would
strengthen democratic institution in the Latin American nation to prevent them
from doing what Cuba did. In August in was established by the charter of Punte
del Este. This would be a Latin American version of the Marshall Plan. All Latin

American nations except Cuba joined , pledging " to bring our people
accelerated economic progress and broader social justice within the framework of
personal dignity and individual liberty."9 This brought the U.S popularity
in Latin America. On June 3, 1961, in Vienna, Autstria, Kennedy and Khrushchev
met and reviewed the relationship between the U.S and the U.S.S.R. . There was a
lot of hostility, considering that there was a shooting down of a U.S spy plane
in Soviet air space. The Bay of Pigs invasion created hostility too. NO
agreements were reached on any important issues. The Soviet premier actually
made it clear that the policies toward the Untied States would be even more
strict. In August 1961, the Communists ordered that there be a wall put up
between East and West Berlin. West Germany was under the control of the US,

France and Britain. Those countries protested the wall, but since East Germany
was Communist, it was done anyway. Allied forced weren't even allowed to travel
through Berlin. This was the beginning of the Cuban Missile Crisis. This was the
closest the world's ever been to nuclear war. Khrushchev decided to supply Cuba
with nuclear missiles that would be in range of the Eastern United States. He
denied it when asked if he was supplying Cuba with missiles, but in the summer
or 1962 there a US spy plane photographed a construction site managed by the

Soviets and then spotted a missile on October 14th. For seven days Kennedy met
with advisors on how to handle and respond to this, while the administration
carried on as if nothing was wrong. On October 22nd, Kennedy told the nation
about the missiles, demanded that the USSR remove the missiles and declared the
water around Cuba a quarantine zone. Kennedy warned the USSR that if Cuba
attacked the US it would be considered an attack on the US by USSR itself.

Troops were sent to Florida to prepare for invading Cuba and air units were
alerted. American vessels blockaded any Soviet ships that looked suspicious and
searched them. For several days Soviet ships avoided the quarantine zone while

Kennedy and Khrushchev discussed this. On October 26th Khrushchev agreed to
remove all of the missiles. Before the US could respond to that note, Krushchev
sent another trying to negotiate other terms. The USSR removed and dismantled
all of the mistled and offered the US an on-site inspection. Kennedy promised
not to invade Cuba and to remove missiles from Turkey. Cuba, angry at the Soviet
submission refused the promised inspection. US spy planes revealed that the
missile bases were being dismantled. Kennedy was a hero, he had avoided nuclear
war and possibly World War III. As a result of him displaying courage and
strength. On November 22, 1963, President and Mrs. Kennedy were in Dallas,

Texas. They were trying to win support from the state that Kennedy had barely
carried in 1960. AS the motorcade approached an underpass, two shots were fired
in rapid succession. One bullet passed through Kennedy's neck and struck

Governor Connally in the back. The other bullet hit the president in the head.

His car sped to Parkland Hospital. At 1:00PM he was pronounced dead, he had
never regained consciousness. Less then 2 hours after the shooting, on the
residential plane, Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as the 36th president of the

United States. That afternoon, Lee Harvey Oswald, who was employed in the
warehouse, was arrested in a movie theatre and charged with murder. On November

24 the body of President Kennedy was carried on a horse drawn carriage from the

White House to the Rotunda of the Capitol.10 Hundreds of thousands of people
filed passed the coffin of the president. The grave was marked by an eternal
flame that was lit by his wife and his brothers.