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John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born on May 29th, 1917 in Brookline, Massachusetts. John was the second of nine children born to Joseph Patrick and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy. He was brought up in a family that demanded intense physical and intellectual competition among the children and he was taught in the teachings of the Roman Catholic church and the political precepts of the Democratic Party. He graduated from Harvard University, and he published the best-seller "Why England Slept". For six months he then served as a secretary to his father, who was the U.S. ambassador of Great Britain.
JFK joined the navy in 1941, and he was sent to the South Pacific two years later. As a matter of fact, he escaped death in battle, and he was later on awarded the Navy and U.S. Marine Corps medal for heroism. His back, which bothered him since he was a teenager, continued to trouble him for the rest of his life. By the end of the war, his brother Joe, who was expected to be the first Kennedy to run for office, had been killed in the war. Now the family's political expectations passed on to John, who had originally planned to carry out an journalistic or academic career. He was expected to run for office and to win, which he did actually.
His political career begun as Congressman in 1946, when he first represented the state of Massachusetts. He received almost twice the amount of votes as his Democratic opponent. Later on, he overwhelmed his Republican candidate. He was still only 29 years old. JFK served three terms in the House of Representatives. His greatest accomplishments were obtaining: better working conditions, more public housing, higher wages, lower prices, cheaper rents and more Social Security for the aged. In foreign affairs, he always supported Cold War policies,
and he backed both the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan.
Kennedy had a safe seat in the congressional district of Boston. He could become a power in the House, but instead he ran for U.S. Senate. His mother and three of his sisters held supported him officially, and his brother, Robert, managed his campaign. Kennedy defeated Henry Cabot Lodge jr. and won. In less than a year later, he married Jaqueline Lee Bouvier.
As a senator, he quickly earned a reputation for responsivness from his people. Kennedy did not support Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy's campaign, concerning campaigns against workers that were accused of being Communists.
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Kennedy moved leftward in his politics, and gradually his trust grew, until the legions that once had followed two-time presidential candidate, Gov. Adlai E. Stevenson, now followed him. Kennedy had nearly become a vice-president by 1956. He had become on of the country's most famous politicians by appearing on 40 million TV-screens. He was motivated by the widespread theory that no Roman Catholic candidate could be elected president. His popularity grew fast. He and his wife were shown on magazine covers and his whole family now supported him in public. Finally, in 1960, he announced his presidential candidacy. His opponents were Hubert H. Humphrey and Lyndon B. Johnson. He knocked Humphrey and the common theory against Roman Catholic candidates, by winning in the Protestant West Virginia. He now chose Johnson for his running mate. And his phrase, "We stand on the edge of a New Frontier", became attached to his programs from now on.
Kennedy won the election by defeating Republican candidate, Richard Nixon. He started talking about doing something about the unemployment, the bad economy and the missile gap, which was a presumed Soviet superiority in the number of nukes). JFK was the youngest man and the only Roman Catholic ever elected for president. His phrase: "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country", became known world wide. He remained at the position for about a 1000 days.
Kennedy's administration's first foreign affair was the with Cuba. The Joint Chiefs recommended to send an armed force to Cuba, and start an uprising against leader Fidel Castro, but the invasion was a failure. All the men were either killed or captured. He took all the responsibility upon himself. The Soviet premier, Nikita Khrushchev, thought he was supreme of Kennedy, when he ordered a wall built between East and West Berlin. Kennedy activated National Guard, and Khrushchev backed out. Later on, a certain amount of short- and intermediate-range nuclear missiles. Kennedy ordered these to be dismantled. He ordered a blockade of Cuba that would stop ships from travelling to the island. For 13 days, a war seemed near, but the Soviet premier announced the withdraw of the weapons.
JFK was a very popular president, both at home and abroad. Later on, Joseph Kennedy had been invalided, but the other Kennedys were in and out of Washington DC. Robert Kennedy was now the second most powerful man in the country. The whole family was now involved in his presidential work and everything seemed so positive.
JFK believed that his Republican opponent in 1964 would be Sen. Barry Goldwater. To represent a unity among the Democrats, he toured Texas with his to fellow Democrats, Gov. John Connally Jr. and Sen. Ralph Yarborough. On Friday, November 22, 1963, he ans his wife were in a motorcade riding slowly through Dallas when a sniper opened fire. Two bullets struck the president, and by the arrival at "Parkland Memorial Hospital", he was dead. Vice President Johnson took for Kennedy. A 24-year-old Dallas citizen, was accused for the murder, but he was shot by local night club owner, Jack Ruby. In 1979 a special committee of the U.S. House of Representatives concluded that Oswald not the only gunman involved. It might have been a conspiracy which include figures from organized crime. Today, the assasination still remains as a matter of controversy and speculation.