John Fitzgerald Kennedy the 35th President of the United States

John Fitzgerald Kennedy: the 35th President of the United States

J.F.K. was born in Brookline, Massachusetts on May 29, 1917, second oldest of nine children. Although his great grandparents did not come to America with much money, already his grandfathers were political leaders in Boston. His father even was an adviser to President Roosevelt and Ambassador.

When J.F.K was young he travelled much around. After he graduated at Harvard College in 1940 he wrote a best-selling book about decisions which led to World War II. Then he joined the Navy to fight the Japanese. After World War II he decided to get politician in stead of teacher or writer. In 1946 he was elected to the House of Representatives and six years later to the U.S. Senate. He married Jacqueline Lee Bouvier in 1953. She gave birth to his first child, Caroline, in 1957. The same year he was awarded the Pullitzer Prize - a book about senators who fought for things in which they believed.

The Democrats chose Kennedy as their presidential candidate in 1960. Kennedy asked Lyndon B. Johnson to run with him for Vice President. On November 8, he defeated Vice President Richard M. Nixon in a very close race. One advantage surely had been that J.F.K. offered help to the jailed Martin Luther King what brought him many votes of African Americans. Kennedy was the first Catholic and youngest president in the U.S..

One of the first things he did was asking the Congress to spend more money on space exploration, with the goal of landing a man on the moon by the end of the decade. He also had to make more difficult decisions - it was the time of "Cold War". In June 1961 he met Nikita Khrushchev to discuss about Berlin because many East Germans have moved to the Western part of the city. The two, however, strongly disagreed, so the Soviets built a huge wall dividing Berlin. In 1962 the Cold War heated up - an American spy plane found out that the Soviets were building nuclear missile launchers in Cuba. Fidel Castro supported the Soviets of course. J.F.K. did not know what to do. So he placed a naval blockade - a ring of ships around Cuba to prevent the Soviets from bringing in more military supplies. Several days later Khrushchev agreed to remove the missiles - in exchange the United States promised not to invade Cuba. They also installed a "Hot Line" between the White House and the Kremlin to prevent a war from beginning by mistake. Later they also signed a treaty that outlawed nuclear bomb tests, which were pretty harmful for environment.

There were, however, also serious problems in the U.S. In most southern states many public places were racially segregated. State and local laws also prevented black Americans from voting. In May 1961, a group of white and black people ignored segregation laws and travelled together by bus through the south. Crowds of angry white people beat and burned their buses. So J.F.K had to send marshals to protect them. In 1962 the nation had to face violence against black people once again. An African American, James Meridith, was admitted to the University of Mississippi. J.F.K. wanted to convince governor Ross Barnett to allow Meridith to attend classes, but he had to order the National Guard and federal marshals to enforce the Constitution. After two people had died segregation ended at the University of Mississippi and Meridith registered for classes. After there was the same problem in Alabama, J.F.K. decided to talk to the nation on television about civil rights.

On November 22, 1963, Kennedy's car drove slowly past cheering crowds in Dallas, when shots rang out. He was seriously wounded and died a short time later. Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested afterwards, but before his trial he was probably shot by Jack Ruby. Some still believe that these two were part of a conspiracy. His death, however, caused enormous sadness among all Americans and people all over the world. Hundreds of Thousands gathered in Washington to join his funeral.   

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