John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born May 29th 1917 in Brookline Massachusetts. His parents were Joseph Patrick Kennedy and Rose Fitzergald Kennedy. John was the second child of nine. They were catholic’s and were a very comfortable family. His grandparents came from Ireland in the middle of 1800, and because of poverty they traveled to USA. They did not have much money, but they both became political leaders in Boston.
Joseph P. Kennedy holding John (to the right) and his brother Joseph Patrick Jr. (left).
The father of Joseph P. Kennedy (father of John) was Patrick Kennedy. He was a very rich businessman and politician. At age on 30 Joseph p. Kennedy also got very rich. He made a fortune on shipbuilding, estate agency business and in stock-job. He worked himself up to be consultant for president Franklin D. Roosevelt under world war II, and after a wild he became ambassador in Great Britain from 1938 - 1940.
When John, or Jack like he was called by family and friends, was three years old he got problems with his health. He got scarlet fever, a disease that was deadly at that time. But like we all know John fought this, and was up on his feet a month later. But throughout his whole life he was suffering from bad health.
At age of 13 John began on Canterbury School in New Milford, Connecticut. But then he got sick and had to leave the school. He never came back. Later he began on Choate Preparatory School. There he had many friends and played football, tennis, basketball and golf. He loved to read and his favorite subjects where English and History. At 1935 John graduated from Choate and the same year he entered Princeton University. But after just six weeks he had to leave Princeton because of illness. He spend two moths at a hospital for observation. In 1936 he began as a freshman at Harvard College. He liked to swim and was a member of Harvard’s swimming team. Under a football mach he injured his back, an injury that bothered him his whole life. At this time his father was the United Stats Ambassador to England and John became interesting in European politic. He wrote his first book called “Why England Slept” when he was 23 years old. It was a thesis about why England was unprepared for a war with Germany. This became a bestseller in the USA and Great Britain. On his political science exam he got cum laude which is a very good grade. In 1940 he graduated from Harvard.
In The Navy
After John’s elder brother Joe had sign into the marine’s air force, john decided to do the same. And in 1941 he volunteered for the U.S Army, but was rejected because of his back problem that he got at Harvard. He got very disappointed, and said his back was fine. He began to train his back every day for 5 moths. Then he tried again, and this time he got in. He was send to Washington were he worked as a desk worker. John didn’t like that job. He thought that he didn’t do anything good for the country by staying behind a desk. He wanted to be on board on a ship, because of his talents in sailing.
John in the BT 109 Motor Torpedo.
7. December 1941 the war came to the USA when Japan attacked the American naval base Pearl Harbor by Hawaii. After some months John was send to a Motor Torpedo Boat Center in Melville, Rhode Island. And when he was done there, he was appointed to lieutenant. In April 1943 john finally became commander at a BT 109 motor torpedo boat. On August 2nd, 1943 John and his crew of twelve, were attacked by Japanese warship. They got hit by a torpedo, and john injured his back once again. The ship sank, and two of his men were killed. They had to swim to an Island 3 miles from where the ship sank. But one of them was badly burned, and couldn’t swim at all. John took this man, and swam all the way with him towing after. For this action he received the Navy and Marine Corps Medal. In aftertime people saw upon him as a war hero. Because of his very injured back he had to leave the navy.
A while later John and his family got a very sad messenger that affected the whole family. Joe his elder brother had been killed when his fly exploded. Joe had been like a father for john and his brothers and sisters. It took a while for John to recover form this terrible tragedy.
Political Career and his family life
John was now unemployed and began looking for a job. He got a job as a journalist for the International News Service, but didn’t like the job. Politics had always been an important thing in the Kennedy family, so John quit as a journalist and went with his dad to Boston. He ran for congress in Massachusetts, Boston. He won the election in 1946 and became congressman for House of Representatives. He was re-elected three times and stayed her in 6 years.
John was looking forwards now, he had got more self confident by the six years as a congressman. In April 1952 he ran for senator for the state Massachusetts. He crushed the republican Henry Cabot Lodge, and won the election. Under his campaign he got problems with his back because he worked so hard, and had to use crutches.
John, his wife, and their children’s in the summer of 1962.
One day John met a journalist women named Jacqueline Bouvier Onassis. They found the tone very well and only 3 months later, 12th September 1953 they got married in St. Mary church in Newport, Rhode Island. John was at that time 36 years old, and Jacqueline 24. They got two children’s together, their daughter Caroline in 1957 and their son, John Jr. in 1960. They also got a third child in 1963, Patrick but unfortunately he died only two days after his birth.
In 1953 John got problems with his back again and had to go through two operations, one in November 1953, and the other one in February 1954. These operations were very serious, and it was only a little change that he would make it. Since John was a catholic he received the last rite before the operations, which is catholic’s traditions. Only a couple of weeks later John could go home and recover form his operations. Under his recovering time he wrote a second book, with the title “Profiles in Courage”. It was about U.S senators who risked their careers to fight for cases they believed in, and was given out in 1956. The book was so good, that in 1957 it was rewarded the Pulitzer-Prize for Biography.
John’s popularity constantly increasing, and in 1960 he wanted to run for president. But first he had to win the democrats primary election, and on July 13th, 1960 he won the primary election and was selected out to represent the democrats. John asked Lyndon B. Johnson to run with him as Vice President, which he just had beaten in the primary election. Lyndon accepted with gratitude, and now only the republican candidate, Richard Nixon could stand in his way by becoming the 35th President of the USA.
Many people didn’t think John had enough experience to become president, and he got a lot of critics from Protestants, for being a catholic. But he told them the opposite and won a lot of votes under a debate program with his charm and intelligent. In his speeches he promised that if he became president, he would get the country back on its wheels with a political program he called “The New Fontier”. John fought hard to get Martin Luther King Jr. out form prison when he got arrested under a civil right movement in Georgia. This gave him the peoples support.
It was Tuesday November 8th 1960, and it was time to select a new president. Approximately 69 millions people had voted, and they had voted for John F. Kennedy. With 49, 7 % of the votes and Nixon 49, 6 % John won the election. This was the lowest margin on a president election on over 72 years.
January 20, 1961 became John the 35th president for the USA, the first catholic ever elected and the youngest one, 43 years. Dwight D. Eisenhower was now in the history books as the 34th president. In his inaugural speech he said at the end “ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country” which has become a world famous speech. After the speech John, his wife and children moved into the White House.
Civile Right Act
When Kennedy was president, there were a lot of racism in the country and John would help the black people, so they could get the same rights as the white people. He would do everything in his power to stop this racism act, which made him lose much of his popularity among the white people. He proposed law suggestion to the congress that would guarantee the black people right to vote, the same rights as everybody else when applying on a job and access to public hotels.
The Cuba Crises
On October 14, 1962 the Cuba Crises began. John was shown some pictures of some Soviet missiles under configuration, which were placed in Cuba. This was a big threat to the Americans security. For John F. Kennedy, this was a hard time as USA’s president. What should he do? Should he attack and move the missiles with military power, and risk to start world first nuclear war? Or should he ignore them?
John commanded the Soviet to remove the missiles, if not the USA would bomb Cuba. He also send enormous warships around the island, so that the soviet could not transport any more nuclear weapons to Cuba.
October 22, 1962 gave John his first public speech about the crises, and gave the key warning; ”It shall be the policy of this nation to regard any nuclear missile launched from Cuba against any nation in the Western Hemisphere as an attack on the United States, requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union.”
People all over the world felt the intenseness between the two countries, and many people thought a world war III was about to break out.
October 26 John received one letters form the Soviet leader Khrusjtjov, which said that if USA promised that they never would attack or participate in an attack on Cuba, they would remove the missile base. Next day, before John had answered to the letter, he got a new letter for Khrusjtjov. Now he said if USA took away the missiles they had in Turkey, they would remove theirs. John was smart, and just pretended that he hadn’t got the last letter and only answered to the first letter.
28. October 1962 Khrusjtjov finally accepted John’s offer, and removed the missiles. Three months later John also removed his missiles in Turkey, and a nuclear disaster was prevented.
One year after the Cuba missile crises, 5. August 1963 wrote John a contract with the Soviet Union and Grate Britain which gave these countries limits possibilities to take atomic test, and this could only happened on the earth, not in the water or in the atmosphere.
It was time for a new president election, and John was determined to win one more time. November 22. 1963, John and his wife flew to Texas to win some votes, where he didn’t got many votes from last time, in 1960. They drove an open cabriolet through the gates in Dallas. In the front sat the driver and one security guard, behind them governor of Texas, John B. Conally and his wife, and behind them again sat Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy. Their car was the second in a car parade on four cars and thirteen motorbikes, and it was now time to turn into Elm Street. In the same minute they had turned in, two gunshots were fired. The first one went right through John’s neck and hit the governor John B. Conally in his back. This shot didn’t kill John, but the next shot did. It went in his back head, and his wife screamed “Oh now, John!” John was taken to Parkland Hospital, and was pronounced dead, 1.00 PM. Just around 1 hour after his dead, the police arrested a man named Lee Harvey Oswald. Witness say they saw a shot with a rifle in 6. Floor in Texas School Book Depositor, and in the same building Oswald worked. Oswald denied all of this. He had never shot anyone and claimed he was a patsy. He was interrogated many times, and went even through a lie detector witch said that he could be innocent. 2 days later Oswald was killed under a transfer to Dallas County Jail, by a man named Jack Ruby how was arrested right after. Millions of people saw this live on TV.
The man behind the assassination on the 35.President of the US, John F. Kennedy has never been completely clear. Some people think it was Oswald, some don’t. Some think that Oswald and did it together, and some think it’s more in this then people can imagine. But who really killed John is a mystery, and I guess it always will be.
25. November 1963, was the funeral for John F. Kennedy. Around people gathered in Washington when the coffin was transported form The White House to Rotunda of the Capitol, where he was going to be buried. A legend was now dead and buried. Under his three years as president he got very popular, and was maybe the most loved president of the US and the whole world. The black people loved him vey much for his work to create equal right among with and black people. For me personal John F. Kennedy is my favorite president of the USA. I think it’s sad that I never got the change to meet him face to face, he looks like a good man. But his work will live on forever……