Since the beginning of civilization, there have always been men who because of their personalities and actions have become legends in their own ways. These men have grown from being common men to becoming vital leaders of the century. ‘John Fitzgerald Kennedy’ was one such leader who stood out of the crowd with his unique persona and swept the nation with his actions.
John. F. Kennedy was popularly known as JFK and had become a major symbol of resurrection of American policies and had become a president which still the citizens of America think would be unmatched by many for the coming centuries. John .F Kennedy was a visionary and a very straight thinker and which is why he received the highest rivalry in political circuits. John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born in the year 1917 on 29th May in Brookline, Massachusetts. He was born to Joseph Patrick Kennedy and Rose Fitzgerald. John. F Kennedy had Irish descent and that came from his paternal grandfather as he was an Irish national who emigrated to the United States of America in 1849. Kennedy was fortunate enough to be born in family which had a lot of reputation and belonged from a political back ground. JFK’s grandfathers were both very prominent figures in the political arena of Boston. His maternal grandfather was the mayor of Boston and shared a great rapport with people due which he was nicknamed as ‘Honey Fitz’. John. F. Kennedy was born with blood that had political fascination from both his sides of the family. Even his father was first a very well to do successful businessman
and later on he too became the ambassador to Great Britain. In one way it can be assumed that John. F. Kennedy was born in family which was suppose to be one of the prominent families of the city and was very well to do since childhood; he could be labeled as someone who was born with a silver spoon. John. F. Kennedy was the second of the nine Kennedy kids. JFK during his childhood was known by the name of Jack in his household and by his friends. John as a child had all the luxuries of the world, but never had a good health. He had suffered diseases like whooping cough, measles and chicken pox when he was very young. He faced his first life threatening situation at the age of three when he contracted ‘scarlet’s fever’, a highly contagious and life threatening disease of that era. John. F. Kennedy had a life full of summer homes, servants, and all the happiness money could buy. His only competition was his elder brother Joe, who was much ahead of him academically and athletically. The sibling rivalry existed between the two and it was always John who had to face injuries because of Joe’s dominance.
As John finished his schooling he decided to join Harvard and join his elder brother who was already studying in Harvard. John joined Harvard in the year 1936 and with his nagging perseverance he pushed his body to play football during college. Since he was not that athletically built and also he was not a very health person, John ruptured a disk in his spine while playing football which ended his football playing determination, and later on became a major problem in his life. John being an average student didn’t perform out of world performance and his grades were always average. The turning point
came in John’s life when his father became the Ambassador to Great Britain. The appointment of his father greatly enticed him about Europe and its history along with its strategic alliance with each other. This interest brought in him in a change for which would amend his destiny. When John was still a senior student at Harvard, the World War II started and this is when he wrote a thesis on the reasons of Great Britain’s being unprepared for the German war. This thesis eventually was transformed into a book known as ‘Why England Slept’ and was widely acclaimed for it too.
After completing his education in Harvard, John decided to join the armed forces but was rejected due to his back and chronic illness. He tried again in the navy and with the political influence of his father he was admitted in the Navy and was assigned to serve in the South Pacific (Miller Centre of public Affairs). John was assigned to command the PT boat 109. On 2nd August 1943, his PT boat was smashed by a destroyer of Japanese in the region of new Georgia in the Solomon Islands. The PT boat was badly destroyed, and the attack by the Japanese destroyer killed two of his crew members out of the twelve he commanded. However in this tough situation John who did in to have the best of the medical conditions had on the other hand the best of hearts, and he led his team to hang on to their boat for hours. Once the hope had died down of being rescued, John led his team while helping a fellow comrade on his back to swim three miles to a small island. Here is where John’s leadership skill came into picture and he motivated his team to survive on the island on four days, and during this period he used go off
swimming on his own to find American vessels for rescue. Since he couldn’t find rescuers he sweet talked friendly natives and coxed them to give his message which was carved on a coconut to the US infantry patrol. His quick thinking and high motivational skills got John. F. Kennedy the Purple Heart and a medal from the U.S. Navy and Marine corps for displaying valor and heroism (johnfkennedy.org). John couldn’t take the whole ordeal physically and after contracting malaria he had to undergo surgery for his back and after which he was discharged by 1945.
After returning home, John got the news of his brother being killed in a plane crash and this was another life altering moment, as his brother was always being counted as a person who would make an impact politically. John. F. Kennedy initial choices of becoming a teacher or writer got changed and with serious discussion with his father, he decided to join politics and make a career in it. In the year 1946 John. F. Kennedy participated in the eleventh Massachusetts’s congressional district for the congress and won here convincingly.
His ecstatic win was the beginning of his political career and as he started gaining experience he became more and more triumphant speaker. He started gaining command over his persona and started delivering chilling speeches to the crowds. With the passing of time, his reputation started increasing at an alarming rate and after serving six years in the House of Representatives, John. F. Kennedy was finally elected as a senator in the year 1952. In short time after being elected as a senator John. F. Kennedy
decided to settle down and married Jacqueline Bouvier who holding a post of writer with the Washington Times herald. John since his college days had got the knack of writing things and ultimately after going through another surgery on his back, he wrote a book called ‘profiles in Courage’, while recovering from his injury. This book received world wide acclimation and even won the Pulitzer award. The year apart from his back surgery proved lucky for him, and after receiving accolades for his book, he became the father of his first child. By 1956 his political popularity had started peaking and he was almost taken for becoming the vice president of the country, however due to unknown reasons this was dropped and Kennedy decided to run for president in the forthcoming elections.
His dream came true on the 8th of November in 1960, when he not only contested presidential elections from the Democratic Party but also defeated republican favorite Richard Nixon. John. F Kennedy had created history on two counts, firstly he was the first catholic to be elected as a president and secondly he was the second youngest president at the age of 43. His second child John-John was born before he could have the inauguration. The victory over the much experienced Nixon was very close and Kennedy only won by a whisker. John showed much of his persona once he started his tenure and told people clear views of what felt on issue which were considered to be taboo. Since being a roman catholic he had felt discrimination on many ends in the political foray, his statement was clear of having the church operating separately from the government and he wanted to end bigotry. JFK and his beautiful wife Jacqueline became ideal personalities for the world around. His better half had the same kind of liking of what he had mostly in terms of history and culture. John. F. Kennedy was the first president who used to fervently invite people who were from different talent genres for lunches as he believed this nation’s talent had to be appreciated. His famous quote “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for the country” rung many bells in the society and asked people to work towards the major issues which were depleting the society’s moral and social values. His clear cut approaches and simple but conclusive words always cut through the worst of the adamant people.
John. F. Kennedy in his short span of three years went thought a lot of challenge in his tenure. This was the time, when Russia and America were constantly growing part and the cold war seemed to reach new heights. U.S had already showcased its muscles in the Second World War with the bombing of Japan and soon after Moscow acquired nuclear capabilities too, which in one looked as the first country that could challenge the United States of America. John. F. Kennedy strategies to over throw Fidel Castro but his plan didn’t get implemented the way he wanted and ultimately failed. Moscow sees this hostile chance dug by the US, and it fumigates West Berlin more on the lines of not being communist like its eastern counterpart. In 1962, Kennedy faced his worst challenge in his tenure and as US was on the edge of having a war which would be fully loaded on each other’s nuclear capabilities. The following will shed some light on the strength of character of John. F. Kennedy by observing his handling of such a tough situation:
‘In October 1962, Kennedy imposed quarantine on all offensive weapons bound for Cuba. The Russians backed down and agreed to take the missiles away. The American
response to the Cuban crisis persuaded Moscow of the futility of nuclear blackmail’ (The white house). It was under Kennedy that the test ban treaty got into existence due to which today many countries don’t have this weapon of destruction. John portrayed theory of domino to the people and made wholesome efforts for Vietnam to get away from communism, and in the pretext of that, he started the whole Vietnam War. He also in some times took the losses of space race on a personal level and in the end to counter’s Russia’s first person on space record , he created a 7 man team which he ultimately send to be the first people on moon. It was because of him today the space centers can afford to ask huge sanctions and funding as he opened everyone’s eyes on the advantages of space corporations. John. F. Kennedy who himself had faced discrimination in terms of being a catholic, understood the pain of being colored in America during those days and after a lot of dissent finally he passed the law of everyone being equal and to be treated equal.
John. F. Kennedy was gunned down when he was waving from his open top motorcade in Dallas by an individual named Lee Harvey Oswald. The killer himself was gunned down by Jack Ruby and because of this development till today Kennedy’s murder has been associated with a lot of mystery and discrepancy. Till today he is remember as a person who wanted equality and benevolence to rule the earth and his popularity can only be judged on the basis that people from all over the world cried and expressed grief on the day he died. He will always be remembered as a President who could have done lot of development but didn’t get that much time to progress his real ideas for science and technology.
1) Miller Centre of public Affairs, “Life before the Presidency”. http://millercenter.org/academic/americanpresident/kennedy/essays/biography/2
5) Arthur Meier Schlesinger, Arthur Meier Schlesinger, Jr.” Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House”. Published by Houghton Mifflin Books, 2002