John F. Kennedy

Election of Kennedy

  • Election of 1960- Richard Nixon (Republican) vs. John F. Kennedy (Democrat)
  • Kennedy chose Lyndon Johnson as his running mate which helped shore up the Southern vote for the Northern candidate.
  • Kennedy won, turned out to be one of the closest elections in history.
  • The New Frontier Speech- campaign program advocated by JFK in this election , described his plan, support civil rights, push for space program, cut down taxes, and increase spending for defense and military.
  • --promised to fight to conquer poverty, racism and other contemporary domestic woes
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The Cold War


  • Flexible response- defense strategy implemented by Kennedy, the buildup of conventional troops and weapons to allow a nation to fight a limited war without using nuclear weapons.
  • Two major events during Kennedy's first year in office heightened American-Soviet tensions
  • 1. Cuba-- U.S friendly dictatorship had been overthrown by Communist insurgents led by Fidel Castro.
  • -- Castro seized and nationalized some American property and later on signed a trade treaty with the Soviet Union later that year, caused U.S to be mad and Eisenhower imposed a partial trade embargo on Cuba, he then later broke diplomatic relations with Cuba in his final days of presidency.
  • --Kennedy inherited the Cuba issue when taking office in 1961, agreed to the Bay of Pigs invasion (involved sending Cuba exiles, whom the CIA had been training since Castro's takeover, to invade Cuba)
  • --mission failed, also antagonized the Soviets and their allies in the process, failure diminished America's stature with its allies.
  • 2.) Berlin Wall Issue
  • --started when Soviets took aggressive anti-West action by erecting a wall to divide East and West Berlin.
  • --Berlin Wall was built to prevent East Germans from leaving the country, also showed to the West that it represented the repressive nature of communism and a physical reminder of the impenetrable divide between the two sides of the Cold War.
  • - Kennedy later paid a historic visit to Berlin to challenge Soviet oppression and offer hope to the people of the divided city.
  • 3. Cuban missile crisis
  • --In Oct., American spy planes detected missile sites in Cuba, Kennedy immediately decided that those missiles had to be removed at any cost
  • --imposed a naval quarantine on Cuba to prevent any further weapons shipments from reaching the island
  • --later on, Cuba agreed to accept America's promise not to invade Cuba as a pretext for withdrawing the missiles and in return US secretly agreed to remove its missiles from Turkey a few months later.
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Civil Rights

  • With news reports of each event, outrage in the black community grew.
  • Some activists abandoned Martin Luther kings's strategy of nonviolent protest, such as Malcolm X who was the leader of Nation of Islam
  • Martin Luther King, Jr., was arrested while leading a protest in Atlanta, Georgia. John Kennedy phoned Coretta Scott King to express his concern The Kennedys' personal intervention led to a public endorsement by Martin Luther King, Sr., the influential father of the civil rights leader.
  • he appointed unprecedented numbers of African Americans to high-level positions in the administration and strengthened the Civil Rights Commission
  • Attorney General Robert Kennedy, American politician and JFK's brother, turned his attention to voting rights, initiating five times the number of suits brought during the previous administration.
  • Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), led by James Farmer, organized integrated Freedom Rides to defy segregation in interstate transportation, this caused chaos
  • Robert Kennedy sent 400 federal marshals to protect the freedom riders and urged the Interstate Commerce Commission to order the desegregation of interstate travel.
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Death

  • JFK was assassinated on. Nov. 22, 1963 by Lee Harvey Oswald.
  • He was shot as he rode in a motorcade through Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas, Texas.

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