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Kennedy Presidency


President Kennedy,
24 Oct 1961.
Photo by Cecil Stoughton.

John F. Kennedy narrowly defeated Richard Nixon in the 1960 election, succeeding Dwight Eisenhower. His presidency was arguably the height of the cold war with the Soviet Union, culminating in the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. Besides continuing hostility with Castro and Cuba, other trouble spots like Vietnam and Laos consumed Kennedy’s attention and engendered conflicts over policy.

The early 1960s saw the continued flowering of the Civil Rights movement, with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. leading the fight for desegregation, voting rights, and other advances. The economy under Kennedy was solid if unspectacular, and Kennedy engaged in some battles there including the steel crisis of 1962.

On a trip to shore up support in Texas, where support for Democrats was weakening, Kennedy made his fateful trip to Dallas. On November 22, 1963, gunfire rang out in Dealey Plaza. Kennedy was rushed to Parkland Hospital, but efforts to resuscitate him were futile. His assassination was the first of several political murders of progressive leaders of the 1960s, and is thought of by many as a turning point in U.S. history.

Kennedy and Cuba – Cuba was one of the hottest hotspots in the Cold War after Fidel Castro came to power there. In 1962, nuclear war nearly broke out between the U.S. and the Soviet Union over Soviet missiles in Cuba.

Kennedy and Vietnam – Historians have generally believed that the transition in Vietnam policy between Kennedy and Johnson was one of continuity. But recent documents and participants' accounts have challenged that notion.

Height of the Cold War – The Cold War between the U.S. and Soviet Union reached its height during the Kennedy era, culminating in near nuclear war. What was JFK’s role in exacerbating or working to diminish superpower tensions?

Kennedy Domestic Policy – Kennedy’s biggest trouble spots were in foreign policy. But the scene at home had its own trials and tribulations.

Kennedy-Nixon Debates - The televised debates of 1960 played a crucial role in John F. Kennedy's successful bid to become President of the United States.

RESOURCES:

Essays


The Posthumous Assassination of JFK: Judith Exner, Mary Meyer, and Other Daggers, by James DiEugenio (see also Part II of this essay)

The Spirit of the New Frontier, by Kerry McCarthy.

Pres. Kennedy's Health Secrets, by PBS.

JFK Opposed Globalist, by Jim Marrs.

Exit Strategy, by James Galbraith.

JFK & Steel, Bush & Oil, by Rex Bradford.


 
Other Links


President Kennedy's 1961 Inaugural Address
Speech delivered on 20 Jan 1961.

Remarks Prepared for Delivery at the Trade Mart in Dallas
Kennedy was to have given this speech in Dallas on November 22, 1963.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library Home Page
The home page of the website of the JFK Library and Museum, located in Boston, MA.

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Books of Interest

    A Thousand Days
Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.
Fawcett Crest, 1965
 
    Kennedy
Theodore C. Sorenson
Harper and Row, 1965
 
    Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye
Kenneth P. O'Donnell and Dave Powers, with Joe McCarthy
Little, Brown, and Company, 1970
 
    A Question of Character
Thomas C. Reeves
Prima Publishing, 1992
 
    With Kennedy
Pierre Salinger
Doubleday and Company, 1966
 
    Kennedy and the Press
Harold W. Chase and Alen H. Lerman
Thomas Y. Crowell Co., 1965

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