JFK Essay Example

  • Category:
    History
  • Document type:
    Essay
  • Level:
    Undergraduate
  • Page:
    4
  • Words:
    2312

JOHN F. KENNEDY

Introduction

John F. Kennedy was born on 29th May 1917. He was the 35th president of the United States of America. He held the office of the president for a period beginning on 20th January 1961 to the 22nd of November 1963. He held the presidency on a Democratic Party ticket. His term in office was however not a mature one due to the fact that he was murdered on the month of November 19631. In his election as president, he defeated the former vice president who was the Republican Party flag bearer, Richard Nixon.

His election was a remarkable one based on the fact that he was the youngest person ever to be elected as the US president. This is because at the time, he was only 43 years old. His election as president was one of the closest victories and one of the tightest in the whole of the 20th century. His victory was calculated as two tenths of one percent of the total votes. The votes garnered were recorded as 49.7% against those of his challenger which stood at 49.5%. He was also the first American president from the Roman Catholic Denomination2. During his tenure as president, many different things happened in both the local and the international arena. Many events took place which helped define what nature of a man he was.

The most predominant one was the confrontations that existed between America and the Soviet Union. This was part of what constituted the cold war. One of the conventions that the president took place in was the Vienna Convention where he was very disappointed and angry about the speech and the wordings of the then Soviet Union Premier. According to him, the speech and sentiments made by the premier were directed to him as a personal challenge. This reaction was followed by the signing of a treaty between East Berlin and the Moscow administration. He termed the signing of such a treaty of being an act of war. He after the signing of the treaty prepared the country for a nuclear war. This moves led to the migration of very many people from East Berlin side to the West side3. This was in order to run for their lives in case the nuclear war began. He also saw to it increases in the budget allocation for the defense sector and also increase in the military numbers by over 200,000 troops. In a reaction to this move, the Moscow and the East Berlin side, blocked further movement and migration by the people. This was through the erection of a barbed wire fence around the city which further was upgraded to become the Berlin Wall.

The Cuban Situation

A plan had been made in the earlier regime to overthrow the Fidel Castro leadership in the country of Cuba. This was made by the collaboration of the Central Intelligence Agency commonly referred to as CIA with aid from the military. They would also get support from the anti- Castro groups. During the attack which took place on 17th April 1961, 1500 Cuban exiles who has American military training took part. This was after they landed in the Cuban island4.

The president’s move in this situation was however unexpected due to the fact that he did not provide any air bone support to the troops. Due to this, the Castro army and his government killed and captured the invading group. Those who were captured alive were a total of 1189 people. The American government has to pay an amount equivalent of $53 million to the Cuban government in order to get their release. This amount was worth of goods, food and medical supplies.

During the next year after the failed attack, spy planes from the US took photos of missile plants being constructed in the Cuban Island5. Further details showed that the Soviet Society was responsible for the constructions of the plants. The president took this as an increase in threat for close range nuclear attacks to his country. The president was torn in between two intervention techniques which would affect his administration in a number of ways.

One of the techniques was on attacking the missile plants. On its part this would have many different implications to him and to the external community. One of them was that it would be the beginning of a nuclear war between the Soviet Union and the US. The other option he had was letting them be. This would however affect his reputation to the world at large and to his people because they would perceive him as being less concerned about the security of his people. It was due to this that he resulted to the use of naval quarantine of the Cuban Island.

This would take place whereby all the marine supplies to the island would be subjected to thorough search by the US army. This worked in that after some time despite earlier refusals, the Soviet Union agreed to call off the constructions of all the missile sites in the Cuban Island. The crisis, according to analysts brought the world the closest to a nuclear war than any other one in history. This helped improve the confidence of the people in the president.

Communism and the Latin America Situation

John F. Kennedy looked forward to bringing an understanding and control to the looming threat which existed in Latin America. This was the threat of communism. Many felt that the human rights of the people in those regions were very much ignored by the people in that region. This he did through close liaise with the people in power in the affected areas such as the governor. This was made more possible with the establishment of an organization known as the Alliance for Progress6. This was more effective in the push for human rights and in the supply and distribution of aid and services to the most affected areas. The development of this organization led to the growth of the principle of Common wealth which was spearheaded by Luis Munoz Marin who was the governor of Puerto Rico.

The Peace Corps Issue

After his election as president, one of the projects initiated by the president was the Peace Corps. This was a program which sought to provide services to the nations in the world which were deemed as underdeveloped. The funds in this program were raised through voluntary projects by the residents of that country. Some of the services the program sought to provide included among others; health care, education, infrastructure development, farming and food relief among other services7. The membership to the organization grew by the day and its influence globally grew in many countries. This saw to it that there was economic development in the countries of focus. This program indicated to all people his desire for global development and his need of human right protection.

American University Speech on World Peace

It was during his speech at the American University that the president noted of the need for world peace and global integration. This speech was made on 10th June 1963. He pointed out that the topic on peace was a much ignored one and which needed close attention from all the parties in this case. He also categorically pointed out that it was the most important topic on the planet. He emphasized on the need of all people to live by tolerance to each other. It was during this speech that he pointed out that there were ongoing talks with the Soviet Union on the prohibition of tests on nuclear components. He also pointed out that the U.S has cancelled all the scheduled atmospheric tests. This was in a bid to see to it that there is no spread of nuclear and similar components to other people and to other generations yet to be born. This helped prove to the world at large on his focus on global peace and integration.

The Speech at West Berlin

Due to the conflict in the East Berlin Region and the Soviet Union with the U.S, the country of Germany was undergoing tough times to say the least. This was due to the conflicts and the divisions which existed between the two rival sides either of them having support. The West Berlin was under the protection of the U.S. and it is there that he made the speech. In his speech to the people of the nation, he emphasized the commitment of the U.S towards the country and even went ahead to give the faults of the Soviet Union8. In front of the audience, he publicly criticized the communist regime and even pointed out some of its faults which included the construction of the Berlin War. About the wall, he said that it prevented the people to leave the country to go to the administration which they deemed to be favorable for them. They therefore were a barrier to effective democracy to the Germans. It was estimated that during the delivery of the speech, a million people were on the streets. This exampled the support he had from people even from other countries rather than his own.

The Military and the Federal Death Penalty

The president during his tenure saw to it that he signed into law the abolishment of the death penalty for first degree murders and similar cases. This was changed and reverted to a life imprisonment sentence where the accused would remain in custody for the rest of their lives9. This was put in place in the District of Columbia, the only state left practicing it. This law has been in place till date.

The president sought to develop the ties he had with Israel. This ties were military ties which led to the formation of a strong military alliance dubbed the U.S.-Israeli military alliance. He also saw to it the support of the Israeli government both in diplomacy and also in weaponry knowledge. This was because the Israeli government experienced tough resistance from their Arab neighbors.

The Civil Rights Issue

Racial discrimination was one of the things affecting the economy of the U.S in the late 1950s and in the early 1960s. It was due to this that the president voiced his support for the integration racially of all people and the development of civil rights of all the people. He advocated for equal rights in all the aspects of normal living ranging from buses, bathrooms, hotels and such similar places. He spearheaded the fight against racial discrimination and voiced his support for integration. His support saw to it the release from prison of Martin Luther King Jr. from prison10. Consequently, the president developed the liking by the black people and hence got their support in all his projects.

The Space Policy

The president gave his support and funding to the development of space exploration programs. It was during his regime that the project on Apollo was development following its inception in 196011. He also aired his support for international cooperation in the space and similar projects.

Conclusion

John F. Kennedy, during his tenure as president of the United States of America made a lot of progress in terms of policies and in the integration of the global community. This is exampled by all the policies and projects which he saw to it that they were put in place. They were all directed at the attainment of development by the country in all its aspects be they local or international. He can be described as a man who had a heart for the people. This can be exampled by all the projects he initiated to see to it that human rights were maintained and that all people were treated equally. This insinuated that he had a heart for global integration due to the fact that he always sought global cooperation in all his projects. His legacy leaves a lot to be desired by all and sundry. They include among others the military and federal death penalty, the human rights issue, the Peace Corps issue and the American University speech on world peace.

References

Schlesinger, Arthur M. 1965. A thousand days: John F. Kennedy in the White House. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.

Kennedy, John F. 1964. Profiles in courage. New York: Harper & Row.

Reidy, John P., and Norman Richards. 1967. John F. Kennedy. Chicago: Children’s Press.

Kaplan, Howard S. 2004. John F. Kennedy. New York, N.Y.: DK Pub.

Randall, Marta. 1988. John F. Kennedy. New York: Chelsea House.

Brinkley, Alan. 2012. John F. Kennedy. New York: Times Books.

Kennedy, John F. 1964. America, the beautiful: in the words of John F. Kennedy. Elm Grove, Wis: Country Beautiful Foundation.

Dallek, Robert. 2003. An unfinished life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963. Boston: Little, Brown, and Co.

Dallek, Robert, and Robert Dallek. 2011. John F. Kennedy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Pietrusza, David. 1997. John F. Kennedy. San Diego, CA: Lucent Books.

1 Schlesinger, Arthur M. 1965. A thousand days: John F. Kennedy in the White House. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.

2
Kennedy, John F. 1964. Profiles in courage. New York: Harper & Row.

3
Reidy, John P., and Norman Richards. 1967. John F. Kennedy. Chicago: Children’s Press.

4
Kaplan, Howard S. 2004. John F. Kennedy. New York, N.Y.: DK Pub.

5
Randall, Marta. 1988. John F. Kennedy. New York: Chelsea House

6
Brinkley, Alan. 2012. John F. Kennedy. New York: Times Books.

7
Kennedy, John F. 1964. America, the beautiful: in the words of John F. Kennedy. Elm Grove, Wis: Country Beautiful Foundation.

8
Dallek, Robert. 2003. An unfinished life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963. Boston: Little, Brown, and Co.

9
Dallek, Robert, and Robert Dallek. 2011. John F. Kennedy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

10
Pietrusza, David. 1997. John F. Kennedy. San Diego, CA: Lucent Books.

11
Kaplan, Howard S. 2004. John F. Kennedy. New York, N.Y.: DK Pub.