John F.Kennedy



Number President 35th President
Terms Served 1 Term Served (assassinated)
Dates Served 1961-1963
Party Democrat
State Represented Massachusetts
Married to / First Lady Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy
Born May 29, 1917 in Brookline, Massachusetts
Died November 22, 1963. Killed by an assassin's bullet in Dallas, Texas
Age John F. Kennedy would be 91 years old this year


First U.S. President to be born in the 20th century. John Fitzgerald’s birthplace was in Brookline, Massachusetts, was of Irish descent, and was the second child among siblings. His parents had powerful political connection. His schooling started in Brookline, continued at Riverdale, NY and was completed at Choate School, Wallingford, Connecticut. In 1936 he enrolled at Harvard University and graduated in 1940 in International Affairs. During this period, he traveled extensively in Europe and South American countries and later assisted his father pen a memoir as the U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain.

Kennedy’s military career was initiated in 1940 under his father’s influence and he joined the U.S. Navy. He was assigned to the Pacific Theater after Pearl Harbor bombing and was the commander of a Navy patrol torpedo vessel named P T 109. During action in 1943, the warship was rammed by the Japanese destroyer, Armagiri injuring him and his crew severely. This spinal injury troubled him for the rest of his life. But he managed to swim ashore with his crew in spite of the severe injury and this heroic act earned him the “Naval and Marine Corps Medal”. His other decorations during World War II constituted of Purple Heart, Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal and World War II Victory Medal.

After the 2nd World War, Kennedy’s interest in political career was given a thrust when he became the Democrat Mayor of Boston in 1946. In 1952, he became a Senator defeating the Republican candidate, Henry Cabot Lodge. He married Jacqueline Lee Bouvier in 1953. In 1955, while recuperating from spinal surgery, he wrote “Profiles in Courage”, which won the Pulitzer Prize in history. He was re-elected in the Senate for a 2nd term in 1958. He declared his intention to contest the Presidential election in 1960 and defeated his Republican rival Richard Nixon in a closely contested poll in 1961. He was the youngest and the first Roman Catholic President in U.S. history. His first speech, as the President, electrified his constituencies and the phrase “ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country” became an instant hit through out the world!

 His foreign policy included “Bay of Pigs” invasion, the Cuban Missile Crisis, building of the Berlin Wall, the Space Race, American Civil Rights movement and the beginning of the Vietnam War. In the “Bay of Pigs” mission, he permitted a band of Cuban exiles to invade Cuba to facilitate the overthrow of Fidel Castro. The mission failed. Shortly, afterwards, the Soviet Union launched a campaign against West Berlin.

Kennedy reinforced the Berlin garrison by increasing the U.S. military strength which compelled the Soviet Union to relax its pressure on Central Europe. This was followed by the Cuban Missile Crisis of October, 1962 when the Soviet Union sought to install nuclear armed missiles in Cuba. He imposed blockade of Cuba and also banned movement of weapons. This forced the removal of missiles from Cuba and highlighted the futility of nuclear blackmailing. This event satisfied Kennedy to initiate the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1963. This helped in slowing down the nuclear arms race in the world.
His domestic program was called “New Frontier” where he propounded the steps to equalize citizens and promised to end racial discrimination. His support of the Civil Rights movement remained intact in spite of fierce opposition. One of his first Presidential Act was the creation of Peace Corps. Through this program, the Americans extended help and assistance to the underdeveloped nations of the world. Kennedy was staunch in his support of the U.S. space mission and promised the first manned landing on Moon within the 60s. His economic policy earned him distinction as it headed America towards sustained expansion since World War II. One of his objectives was to eradicate pockets of privation and poverty. With his tragic assassination on November 23, 1963 at Dallas, Texas, his grandiose plans for the American nation and the world came to a sudden halt.



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