John(Jack) Fitzgerald Kennedy, the United States 35th president, is today’s history topic. Kennedy was born in 1917, with 8 siblings, his parents Joe and Rose Kennedy were quite wealthy, so Kennedy grew up in a well place.
He attended high school in Connecticut, was quite mischievous growing up, and then entered Harvard College. While still attending college, and because of his family’s connections, he was able to meet some of the leaders from the Middle East and Europe.
Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 32nd president of the United States, named Joe Kennedy(JFK’s father) as the ambassador of London. And Kennedy would usually served as his father’s representative.
Kennedy graduated from Harvard in 1940, he studied international affairs. He also wrote a thesis on England during World War II, and became a best-selling book.
After Harvard, Kennedy couldn’t join the army, because of some medical disorder he had, so he joined the Navy instead. He worked as an ensign in the office of Secretary of the Navy, till Pearl Harbor was attacked. He then joined the fight and commanded a small gunboat in the Pacific Ocean.
Then Kennedy was discharged, because of a back injury he got, and shortly after he was discharged, the Japanese surrendered in 1945.
After the war, he joined politics, and was able to get a seat in the House of Representative of Massachusetts in 1947. After serving 6 years in the House, he beat Henry Lodge Jr. and became the Senator of Massachusetts(1953-1960).
In the same year, he marries Jacqueline(Jackie) Bouvier, together they had 5 children, unfortunately only 2 survived till adulthood.
In 1960, Kennedy ran for the Democratic nominee for president. And because of his status, serving in the Senate as well as being in the navy, his family’s background, and great oratory skills, he easily won the election, and became the 35th President of the United States.
He is also known as the youngest man ever elected as president, only being 43 years old. Also, he and his management was known as the Camelot Era.
While being president, he was also recognized as “celebrity”, he and Jackie were known for wearing/using the latest fashion trends. They were involved in using the television more, which was a new technology back then, and they even refurnished the White House while staying there.
Kennedy involved himself with the Berlin Wall, in 1963. He gave a speech criticizing the Berlin Wall, and supporting West Berlin with the U.S. support.
Cuba, who had a communist rebel, under Fidel Castro in the 1950s, became a problem to the United States. Both Eisenhower(president before Kennedy) and Kennedy was scared that communism was too close to America, so they brought up a rebellion against Fidel Castro.
The plan, Bay of Pigs Invasion, acted in 1961 with 1,500 trained U.S. Cuban soldiers attacked at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba. Unfortunately, in just 2 days, they were all defeated, and Kennedy had to work up $53,000,000(53-million dollars) to get their soldiers back.
Bay of Pigs Invasion
Also during Kennedy’s presidency was the Space Race, it was not really a “race”, but it’s called that. The U.S. tried to beat the Soviet Union in sending up a satellite to space. But the Soviet Union was the first country to sent up a satellite in space, the Sputnik 1, and it was the first major time the Soviet Union actually beat the U.S.
So the U.S. was worried, that if the Soviet Union can actually sent up a satellite faster the Americans, then what other technology can they have up in their sleeve.
Well, the U.S. was working on something, and tried to sent up a satellite, but failed, this made the Americans worry even more. So Eisenhower established NASA(National Aeronautics and Space Administration), and Kennedy announced in 1962 that they’ll sent a man on the moon.
So 7 years later, in 1969, the Apollo 11 landed on the moon. And Neil Alden Armstrong was the first man to set foot on the moon, and his famous quote “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”.
Now Kennedy was a good president, except for the fail in the Bay of Pigs Invasion, but not all presidents are perfect. Kennedy had a tragic ending, in 1963, while visiting Dallas,Texas, in an open-air limousine, he was assassinated.
The guy who was arrested for the murder was Lee Harvey Oswald, later researchers found that they were more than just one shooter at the location. But as of now, Lee Oswald is known as the killer. But he denied it, and never made it to his trial, because he was then killed by a Texan, Jack Ruby.
Today, we still don’t know the full truth of the Kennedy’s assassination, either Oswald worked alone or not. But following Kennedy’s death, the next president, Lyndon Johnson, was not as popular as Kennedy was with the public.
I hope you liked this essay, I had fun learning about Kennedy and the Space Race, and I hope you enjoyed it also.