AA / Alioune Ndiaye
On November 22, 1963, a sniper terrorized Dallas and shook all of America. John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th President of the United States, falls under murderous bullets, grimly becoming the fourth and last President, so far, to be killed during his term in office. Abraham Lincoln (1865), James Garfield (1881) and William Mckinley (1901) suffered the same fate.
The youngest elected President in the history of the country, John Kennedy or JFK according to his initials will thus have remained only less than three years at the head of the USA. A short term that began on January 20, 1961 and which revealed to the world one of the most popular leaders that America has known.
“Kennedy remained a very popular President during his tenure. As proof, during this whole period, he never had polls lower than 50% of favorable opinions. It is also the only one to date to have reached this level of popularity ”, draws up the Wikipedia platform in this regard.
– From the US Marine to the Capitol
Ambitious to serve his country, Kennedy, born May 29, 1917, enlisted in the Navy as part of World War II. He was even the commander of a patroller with the rank of lieutenant, winning the Navy and marine medal, a military decoration which rewards heroism.
Kennedy had indeed managed to save his crew after a collision suffered by his patrol boat in August 1943 during the Pacific War.
Other decorations including the ” Purple heart ” followed before the brilliant former pupil, from a wealthy family (his father was ambassador to England, the country where JFK did part of his schooling), demobilized in 1945, a few months after the capitulation of Japan, for a political career by integrating the Democratic Party.
The ascent is dazzling. Three successive terms acquired in 1946, 1948 and 1950 in the House of Representatives then Senator (Massachusetts) from 1952. Reelected in 1958, his ambitions to go even higher were not tempered by his failure in his quest for inauguration of his party for the vice-presidency in 1956.
The author of Profiles in courage, a book sacred to the 1957 edition of the Pulitzer Prize and whose authorship is probably today granted to his right arm Ted Sorensen, then declared his candidacy for the presidential election. of November 8, 1960.
Campaigning under the slogan “ New frontier ”, taking into account the geopolitical context with the duality between his country and the USSR but also the economic recovery of the USA, the fight for equality between whites and blacks, Kennedy a narrowly won the presidential election with a length of 120,000 votes over Republican candidate Richard Nixon.
JFK thus becomes America’s youngest President-elect. Theodore Roosevelt acceded to it at the same age in 1901 but succeeding the assassinated President Mckinley.
He was sworn in on January 20, 1961 to officially become the 35th President of the USA, the first of the Catholic faith; Joe Biden is the second.
– Ambitions beyond borders
“If free society fails to improve the lot of the majority of the poor, it cannot save the minority of the rich.” “Don’t ask what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world, do not ask yourself what the United States will do for you, but rather what together we can do for human freedom ”. These declarations of Kennedy during his inauguration are indicative of his ambitions which go beyond his country.
Kennedy initiated the thaw of the tension between the USA and the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics), the two superpowers of that time whose battle for leadership had opened up conflicts (cold war) on almost all the territories of the world. .
“Mankind will have to put an end to war or war will put an end to humanity,” he insisted at the United Nations podium in September 1961.
Regular exchanges between the White House and the Kremlin have thus made it possible to considerably pacify the world with the bonus of the signing by the US President in October 1963 of the partial nuclear test ban treaty drawn up by the Kremlin. The said treaty is the first international text on disarmament.
Kennedy is also the instigator of a space policy to confirm the supremacy of his country by launching in May 1961 the program to conquer space through the Apollo mission. A crew of three people set foot on the moon in 1969 in honor of American prestige, which was severely tested at that time by the successes of Russian astronomy.
For an America that serves humanity, two months after taking office, he created the Peace Corps, an agency independent from the government to promote peace and friendship around the world.
When he came to power, he openly campaigned for civic equality between whites and blacks, even showing himself to be a staunch defender of people of color. It was during his tenure that a black man enrolled for the very first time at an American state university.
Kennedy, as part of that fight, received black leader Martin Luther King and other leaders of the American civil rights movement, after some of them were arrested during an anti-segregation protest in 1963.
“It is doubly unfair to discriminate against a person because of their race,” he said in a statement announcing measures against unemployment which hit the black population.
The law against racial segregation (civil rights act) enshrining equality between races was finally passed in 1968. The involvement in the process of the President killed five years earlier had been decisive with the many milestones laid.
– The mystery still hangs over the assassination of JFK
He was in a jovial mood, as always, before the shots rang out. Leaning in the back of a convertible and cheerfully greeting the long procession of Americans who had come to welcome him to Dallas as part of a pre-campaign visit, Kennedy could not survive the two bullets he received in the back. and to the head, despite being quickly evacuated to a nearby hospital. The world is appalled by the murder amplified by the panicking gestures of his wife who was in the car.
Lee Harvey Oswald, a 24-year-old Conservative, is the author of the fatal shootings. He was himself shot two days later by Jacob Rubinstein, considered according to surveys to be unbalanced.
The Warren commission in charge of the case closed it in haste, concluding with the thesis of the isolated assassination with Oswald as the only person responsible. The file is thus closed on November 24.
“Contrary to what the Warren Commission told the American people in 1964, the CIA monitored Lee Harvey Oswald from October 1959 to October 1963. Indeed, a CIA cable shows that Oswald’s travels, his political views and his state of mind were the subject of discussions among senior CIA officers just six weeks before JFK’s assassination, ”said in 2017 on TV5 world, Jefferson Morley, a former Washington post journalist.
Morley even argued that Oswald, a former Marine and sniper, told several intelligence operatives his intention to kill President Kennedy.
Debates and speculations thus persisted on the part of several observers fueling the conspiracy thesis. Who would blame the President killed at the age of 46?
In any case, the promising window opened by President Donald Trump quickly closed. Joe Biden’s predecessor announced in October 2017 the declassification of the remaining documents on the case that a law passed in 1992 requires since publication.
Of the five million pages in the Kennedy File, some 1,171 top secret files, each containing between one and twenty pages, remain inaccessible.
America and the world may never know, but JFK leaves behind the image of an energetic leader, steeped in humanism and charismatic. “A nation is remembered by the men it produces, but also by those whom it remembers and which it honors”, we read in the summary of its most famous quotes.
“As long as we write the great book of the history of the world, will appear in the chapter spirit and power, the name of John Fitzgerald Kennedy because he was a great political figure, not only for his people but also for the history of our world ”, testified, following the assassination of JFK, the German chancellor Ludwig Erhard while the then mayor of West Berlin, Willy Brandt said he was dismayed by“ the death of the first citizen of the free world ”.
However, his fame has hardly faded. His portrait is on the half US dollar coin, also on postage stamps and several infrastructures like the New York International Airport (JFK Airport) honor him in his homeland.
A municipality in Brazil, a mountain in Canada, a road in Quebec, 11 establishments in France and the list is far from exhaustive…. JFK was the child of the world.
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John Fitzgerald Kennedy … the man who wanted to change the world