John Fitzgerald Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963).
Also called John F. Kennedy, Jack Kennedy, Jack or JFK, he was a political leader, who became, in 1960, the thirty-fiveth president of the United States, being in turn the youngest president, after Theodore Roosevelt, as well as the first and only Catholic president.
Today, he is regarded by American public opinion as one of the greatest presidents in history, and many of his connationals place him on the same level as the Fathers of the Fatherland.
John F. Kennedy was born on May 29, 1917, in Brookline, Massachusetts, United States, the second of nine children of Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. and Rose Fitzgerald. His father was a renowned banker, who became ambassador to the United Kingdom. His mother held the position of congressman and mayor of Boston.
JFK began his education at Brookline Public School, Edward Devotion School, where he remained until the third grade, when his parents moved him to Noble and Greenough, a private school for men.
During his years of study he did not excel in any subject, being better known for his popularity and his penchant for fun. He also moved from one school to another, due to a delicate health, which on several occasions caused his hospitalization. In 1935, he finally graduated from The Choate School.
In October 1935 he entered Princeton University, where he stayed for only six weeks, before being hospitalized, to perform specific studies that ruled out possible Leukemia.
In September 1936 he entered Harvard University. During the early months of 1939, he traveled to the Soviet Union, the Middle East and the Balkan Peninsula to gather information for his undergraduate work.
In 1940, he presented his thesis, titled Appeasement in M’nich, which earned him the degree of Internationalist cum laude and the publication of his work, which was edited under the title Why England Fell Asleep, and which became a bestseller.
In 1941, he enlisted in the United States Navy. On August 2, 1943, the PT-109 boat, under his command, was attacked in the Pacific by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri. JFK helped his crew ashore, an action that earned him several decorations, despite aggravating his spinal injury. He was decommissioned in 1945. In 1946, Kennedy ran and won the democratic party’s position as representative. In 1952, he became Senator.
On September 12, 1953, he married Jacqueline Lee Bouvier (Jacqueline Kennedy) with whom he had four children, of whom only two survived. Their relationship was marked by constant rumors about JFK’s extramarital affairs, including her romance with Marilyn Monroe.
In 1957 his book Profiles of Courage won a Pulitzer Prize. As a Senator, he highlighted his vote, in 1957, in favor of the final passage of the Civil Rights Act, the greatest achievement of which was the right of black citizens to vote.
After an arduous campaign, JFK was elected on 13 July 1960 as a presidential candidate by the Democratic Party. On September 26 of that year, he starred alongside Richard Nixon as the first televised political debate. On November 8, 1960, JFK won the presidency, in one of America’s most closely contested electoral contests.
Its presidency is recognized as having been a period of economic prosperity, marked by growth of 5.5% of GDP and stable inflation of just 1%. One of his first acts was the creation of the Peace Corps, so that U.S. citizens would volunteer in developing countries.
As for Civil Rights, his actions were positive in the fight against racism, as well as the Immigration and Nationality Act, enacted in 1965, after his death. JFK is also remembered for starting the space race in 1961, being responsible for the invasion of Bay of Pigs in Cuba, carried out unsuccessfully on April 17, 1961.
Similarly, in 1962, he faced the missile crisis, involving the US, Cuba and the Soviet Union. He also promoted the Alliance for Progress to combat communism in the world, while starring alongside Nikita Khrushchev one of the tense stages of the Cold War.
His presidency is also remembered for having backed a 1963 coup against Iraqi President Abdul Karim Qasim, as well as for his performance in the Vietnam War, which sought to halt the advance of communism in that Western nation.
Kennedy approved the use of Napalm and orange agent against civilian population. However, most historians claim that at the time of his death, JFK planned to withdraw some of its troops from Vietnamese territory. Similarly, on October 7, 1963, Kennedy achieved the Partial Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.
Death and reconnaissance
On November 22, 1963, during a presidential parade, in Dallas, Texas, he received several gunshot wounds, allegedly fired by Lee Harvey Oswald. JFK was seriously injured, dying half an hour later.
His body rests at Arlington Cemetery. After his physical departure he has been the center of numerous tributes, among which the Christening of New York Airport with his name in 1963, as well as the center of operations at Cape Canaveral was named as the Jhon F. Kennedy Space Center, although in 1973 the decree was repealed. His face has appeared since 1964 on the fifty-cent coin.
Image source: excelsior.com.mx
July 31, 2019