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A Biography of John F. Kennedy

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John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born 29 May 1917 in Brookline, Massachusetts. He was the grandson of John Fitzgerald, the Mayor of Boston and Congress member. He attended the Edward Devotion School in Brookline up to the beginning of the 3rd Grade. He then went to the Noble and Greenough Lower School and its successor the Dexter School through the 4th Grade.

In 1927, Kennedy and his family moved to a mansion in Riverdale, New York City which they rented, and two years later they bought and moved into a 21 room mansion in a six acre estate in Bronxville, New York. There, he attended the Riverdale Country School, a single-sex private school up to the 7th Grade.

Over the next few years, Kenney attended a number of private boarding schools.

In January 1934, Kennedy became ill and lost a severe amount of weight. He spent most of June 1934 in hospital were he was diagnosed with colitis (an inflammation of the colon).

Having graduated in June 1935 from the Choate School, he went on his first trip abroad in 1935 with his parents and sister Kathleen to London to study at the London School of Economics (LSE). Within a week, however, Kennedy was diagnosed with jaundice and returned to the United States.

Having spent a brief six week spell at Princeton University, Kennedy enrolled as a freshman at Harvard University in September 1936. Kennedy completed his honours thesis in 1940 and released it as a book “Why England Slept” which became a bestseller. The book was about Britain’s part in the Munich Agreement.

JFK and World War II

In September 1941, Kennedy joined the US Navy, and after a number of desk assignments, was put in control of a patrol torpedo (PT) boat as a Lieutenant. On 2 August 1943, Kennedy’s boat was damaged and he and his crew (Kennedy himself towing a wounded crew member) had to swim to a nearby island, and later to another island. Kennedy received the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for heroic conduct.

Start of Kennedy’s Political Career

After World War II, Kennedy decided on a political career and won a seat in the US House of Representatives in 1946. After six years as a congressman, he won a seat in the U.S Senate in 1952. On 12 September 1953 Kennedy married Jacqueline Bouvier.

Over the next two years, Kennedy underwent a number of operations of his spine, nearly dying in the process and was often absent from the Senate.

In the 1956 presidential nominee Adlai Stevenson, let the Democratic convention choose the Vice-Presidential nomination where Kennedy finished second to Senator Estes Kefauver. On 2 January 1960, Kennedy officially announced that he would run for the presidency. In 1961, Kennedy won the election with 319 electoral votes 219 against Richard Nixon.

John F. Kennedy and the Presidency

During his presidency JFK was involved in the Cuban Missile Crisis, which took place during October 1962, and the Bay of Pigs Fiasco.

Kennedy, perhaps unnerved by the Cuban Missile Crisis and Cold War, pushed hard to get a nuclear weapons test ban treaty enforced. The United States, United Kingdom and the Soviet Union signed a partial test ban treaty, which prohibited the testing of nuclear weapons on the ground, in water, or in the air (not underground).

Kennedy was also eager to progress in the “space race”. In May 1961, he announced that the US would put a man on the moon by the end of the century. This did come true with Neil Armstrong setting foot on the moon in 1969.

Assassination of John F Kennedy

JFK was assassinated on 22 November 1963. There is much controversy about the killing and is still one of the greatest unsolved mysteries on the 20th century.

On 14 March 1967, JFK’s body was permanently buried at Arlington Cemetery in Washington D.C.

John and Jacqueline Kennedy had a troubled personal life: she had two miscarriages and their newborn son, Patrick, died in August 1963. Caroline Kennedy is their only child to still be alive, with John Fitzgerald Kennedy Jr. dying in a plane crash in 1999.

John F. Kennedy was ranked 3rd on the Gallup list of most admired people of the 20th century.


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