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Text 4. John Fitzerald Kennedy.


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Read the text and answеr the questions:

a) What were the Kennedys?

b) What political party did JFK belong to?

c) What was the first major problem to face the Kennedy administration?

The Kennedys are a clan with close family links, a strong sense of purpose and a proud record of distinguished achievement in many fields. Though bound together by a common origin and a common faith, they are neither exclusive nor sectarian, and are bred in the tradition of public service.

John Fitzerald Kennedy, the second son of Joseph P. Kennedy, was born at Brookline, Mass., a suburb of Boston, on May 29th,1917.His mother, Rose, also of Irish extraction, was a noted beauty. His father had attended Harvard University and had then entered the business world, where he rapidly built up a considerable fortune. In 1932 he helped Franklin D. Roosevelt to become President, and under the banner of the New Deal assumed the chairmanship of the Securities and Exchange Commission, being instrumental in ushering in much needed reforms on the Stock Exchange. From 1937 until November 1940, he was United States Ambassador in London, and used his influence to dissuade the United States from entering the war.

John (known in the family as Jack) Kennedy was at this time writing his first book “Why England Slept”, and shortly afterwards completed his studies at Harvard. In 1941 he joined the U.S. Navy. On the night of August 2nd,1943, a Japanese destroyer rammed the motor torpedo-boat he was commanding, in Blackett Strait, off the Solomon Islands. Although wounded, the young commander saved all the members of his crew who had survived the collision. He was awarded high service decorations for his courageous conduct.

The eldest son of the Kennedys had been destined and prepared for politics, but when he was killed as a bomber pilot, the way was clear for John to follow his own expressed inclinations and talents for a political career.

John .F. Kennedy turned to politics Shortly after finishing his war service in the Navy.

In 1946 he was elected as a Democrat to the House of Representatives, for a constituency in Massachusetts that included University. The youthful Congressman devoted more time to canvassing the Massachusetts electorate than to his duties in the Capitol. So while the Republican Senator for Massachusetts, Henry Cabot Lodge Jr., was campaignining for Eisenhower in the 1952 election, Kennedy captured his seat in the Senate, an important victory in the teeth of a Republican landslide. On September 12th, 1953, already a U. S. Senator, John F. Kennedy married Jacqueline Lee Bouver, the daughter of a New York banker, John Bouver. She had enjoyed a comprehensive education at American colleges and at the Paris Sorbone, and had then become a journalist and press photographer. In 1957 (after an earliest miscarriage) a daughter Caroline Bouver, was born, and in 1960 a son, John Fitzerald. A second son died shortly after birth in 1863.

In 1954 he had to undergo an operation, and during his convalescence wrote his book” Profiles of Courage”. It caused many politicians to prick up their ears, and from then on John F. Kennedy was aknowledged as one of the promising and influential younger Senators. At the Democratic Party Convention of 1956 in Chicago he was strong enough to compete for the Vice - Presidency. In the winter of 1959, Kennedy offered himself as candidate in the seven States in which Primary elections were held. He easily won. A new element in the 1960 election campaign, in which Senator Kennedy was opposed by Vice-President Nixon, was the important role played by television, and in particular the four open debates, which were given nation-wide screening. Now the entire electorate had little to learn form the experienced Nixon. Election Day was on November 8th, 1960. Kennedy gained an infitesimal majority of a total 68 million votes.

Brothers, sisters, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law joined loyally in supporting and helping John Kennedy at every stage of his career, culminating in his rise to the Presidency. As President he was to entrust them with important tasks. Knowing he could trust them completely to implement his plans.

The first major problem to face the Kennedy Administration occured after only three months. An invasion of Cuba had already been planned under President Eisenhower, backed and organized by various uncoordinated government agencies. The actual invasion was to be carried out by Cuban exiles and was to result in the downfall of Fidel Castro. Kennedy gave the project his half-hearted support, and it failed dismally. But it was the President who had to assume responsibility for the whole ill-fated, futile adventure.

This was quickly followed by a European crisis. Despite warnings to Moscow to refrain from any form of unilateral action in Berlin, East Berlin was cut off from the Western sector by the wall on August 13th,1961. As this development was entirely unexpected, and because it did not appear to affect the essential interest of the United States ( the freedom of West Berlin, free access to the city, and the presence there of allied troops), Kennedy decided not to a low ebb, and it is no exaggeration to say that October 1962 brought the most serious crisis of all, however, when the Soviet Union was discovered to have built bases in Cuba for the launching of intermediate ballistic missiles-- a potential threat to the United States. This time the response was immediate and unambiguous—the imposing of a blockade to prevent the further transportation of offensive weapons to Cuba. The Soviet Union was forced to beat a retreat. Kennedy had proved that his policy of combining firmness with flexibility in difficult situations had stood the test.


President Kennedy made certain that during his whole period in office contact was maintained with the Soviet Union by means of conversational exchanges. This he felt was imperative in view if the continually shifting balance of power in the field of strategic deterrence, his own personal responsibility for preserving world peace and the avoidance of an accidential nuclear holocaust. In the spring of 1963, the opportunity came to reach a partial solution of this most vital of all problems. On August 5th,1963, an agreement was concluded in Moscow between the United States, the Soviet Union and the United kingdom, banning nuclear tests in the air, in outer space and under water. Kennedy considered it – and so it appeared to the world at large – a first step towards solving further outstanding issues in this field. In November 1963, it seemed to Kennedy that the time had come – taking into account the 1964 election campaign – to secure his following in certain key States by making public appearances. The most difficult, but potentially the most rewarding area was the South. After a cool reception at the outset of his tour in Florida and then at Fort Worth , Texas, the political climate had visibly improved by the time he reached Dallas. Ten of thousand of people lined the streets to greet the President. At the height of this unexpected and encouraging reception, the bullets of assassin Lee Harvey Oswald struck the President. It was November 22nd, 1963, and the time of his death one hour after noon.

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