John Fitzgerald Kennedy is the greatest leader of the 20th century. Kennedy was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1960-1963. He was born May 29th,1917 and died November 22nd, 1963 when he was assassinated in Dallas by Lee Harvey Oswald.
John F. Kennedy graduated from Harvard University in 1940 at 23 years old, with a Bachelor degree in Arts in Government, focusing on international affairs. He then audited classes at Stanford before enrolling in the military.
WW2 Military Experience
John F. Kennedy joined the American Navy in 1941, at age 24. He served in the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific, serving from 1941-1944. As a lieutenant, he commanded the Patrol Torpedo Craft (PT) USS PT 109. On August 2, 1943, the USS PT 109 was struck by A Japanese destroyer Amagiri. The Amagiri, traveling at 40 knots, cut the PT 109 in half. The entire crew was thrown into the water. Kennedy towed his injured crew 4 miles to a small, nearby island. All eleven survivors made it to the island after spending 15 hours in the water. After four days, they were finally rescued on August 8th. For his bravery, Kennedy won the Navy and Marine Corps Medal of Honor, and the Purple Heart medal. His other military awards include: the American Campaign Medal and the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign medal (with three service stars). Kennedy was discharged in 1944, needing back surgery.
After being discharged from the navy, John F. Kennedy, worked as a reporter for the Hearst newspaper from 1945-1946. Although his time as a reporter was brief, his experiences in journalism and observation of world leaders shaped his view of politics and foreign policy.
In 1946 John F. Kennedy was elected into the US congress at the age of 29. He represented the working class and advocated for better working conditions, lower unemployment rates, higher wages, lower prices and cheaper rent. After serving as a congressman until 1953, Kennedy was elected into the US senate which he then served as a Junior senator until 1960. During this time, he wrote and published a Pulitzer Prize winning book called “profiles in courage”. The book consists of short biographies describing acts of bravery and integrity by 8 US senators.
In the 1960 Presidential election, Kennedy defeated his opponent, former Vice President Richard Nixon and became the 35th President of the United States. He was the youngest president ever elected, in addition to being the first Catholic president ever elected. This caused some people to initially dislike him, for fear that the Pope would use him to control the country. Kennedy was also a democrat, instead of Nixon, who was a Republican. The majority of his work as president centered around the Vietnam War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and segregation.
In 1961, President John. F Kennedy sent specially trained Cuban exiles to Cuba to overthrow Fidel Castro’s government hoping to stop the spread of communism in the United States. This invasion was named the “bay of pigs” and it took place on April 17th, 1961. However the plan failed miserably and the results were disastrous for the United States. The entire force was either killed or captured. Kennedy took full responsibility for the failure of the operation.
The Vietnam War started in 1955, long before Kennedy was president. With his presidency began the Strategic Hamlet Project, which was a security campaign with the goal of concentrating rural populations into positions where they could be more easily defended. He increased the number of military advisors in South Vietnam and sent an additional 500 Special Forces troops.
Cuban Missile Crisis
In October of 1962, US spy planes discovered soviet missile sites being built in Cuba. Hence, John F. Kennedy authorized the Cuban project. He discreetly assembled a plan to deploy ships and set up a naval blockade around the island to cut off any military supplies the Soviets tried to bring in. The plan was exceptionally executed due to Kennedy’s remarkable judgment and restraint. The Soviets removed the missiles and destroyed the sites. Devastating global nuclear war was avoided and a peaceful solution was reached. The Cuban project is considered to be one of Kennedy’s greatest achievements during his presidency.
“Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try“ -JFK
Kennedy was a very powerful speaker and gave the world some of the most memorable speeches of all time. His speeches captivated the world and united people around a common dream. Kennedy’s biggest strength was his ability to influence others by provoking deep thought and unlocking the emotion behind his words.
During his presidency, Kennedy cut taxes and built new highways. He worked closely with Martin Luther King to abolish segregation, which eventually led to the Civil Rights Act.He continued the Apollo space program with the goal of landing a man on the moon before 1970. He signed the first nuclear weapons treaty in October 1963. Kennedy created the Peace Corps and Alliance for Progress with Latin America. He raised minimum wage and created more jobs for citizens.
After serving as president for 3 years, John F. Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald, November 22, 1963 at 46 years old, making him the youngest president to die. He died in Dallas, Texas, in an open limousine with his wife, Jacqueline Kennedy, being greeted by the general public of Dallas. Kennedy was shot in the upper back and back of his head, dying instantaneously. Lee Harvey Oswald, who had shot him from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository, shot a police officer, J.D. Tippit 45 minutes after shooting Kennedy. Oswald was assassinated on November 24, 1963, only two days after shooting Kennedy, by nightclub owner Jack Ruby.
During the time he served in the navy, Kennedy won several awards for his bravery when he saved his crewmates from drowning after their ship had been sunk by a Japanese aircraft. After serving in the navy, he worked as a journalist and soon after was elected into the congress. He then served as a senator and wrote a Pulitzer prize winning book. During the presidential election, he defeated his republican opponent and became the youngest, first cahtolic president. His most infamous projects that he authorized included the cuban project and bay of pigs project. The Cuban project was executed successfully and nuclear war was avoided. The bay of pigs project did not go as planned and the US was not able to overthrow fidel castro and his communist government, but Kennnedy took full responsibility for the failure of the project. After his assassination, Kennedy’s Vice President, Lyndon B. Johnson made sure to pass Kennedy’s Civil Rights Act that he and Martin Luther King cooperated on, and his bill for healthcare for poor and eldery American citizens. To this day John F. Kennedy remains a profile in leadership. He changed the course of political history and inspired millions to contribute to the public good. It is for these reasons why John. F Kennedy is the 5th greatest leader in history.
Strauss, Valerie. “Analysis | JFK: Take a Look at a Surprising Report Card and His Application to Harvard.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 30 Nov. 2021, 20 Jan,2021https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2017/05/29/jfk-take-a-look-at-a-surprising-report-card-and-his-application-to-harvard/.
“The Assassination of John F. Kennedy.” Shapell, 3 Jan. 2019, 20 Jan, 2021 https://www.shapell.org/historical-perspectives/between-the-lines/assassination-john-f-kennedy/?gclid=CjwKCAiA55mPBhBOEiwANmzoQpModlc-hd0SejFMzF6a0ofpJ4jempg6JvRhGYARzmEzzKyZWd4oNRoCNkoQAvD_BwE.
“Strategic Hamlet Program.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., https://www.britannica.com/topic/Strategic-Hamlet-Program. 20 Jan,2021
“To the Brink: JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis.” To the Brink: JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis | JFK Library, 20 Jan. 2021https://www.jfklibrary.org/visit-museum/exhibits/past-exhibits/to-the-brink-jfk-and-the-cuban-missile-crisis.