John Fitzgerald Kennedy
A little more than a year after the death of Marilyn Monroe, dies the youngest man elected United States' President, John Fitzgerald Kennedy; he was shot dead in his presidential limousine in Dallas, Texas, on 23rd November 1963, in front of one hundred people around.
Of Irish origin, he was born in Brookline, Massachussetts on 29th May 1917. He graduated at Harvard University in 1940. During the Second World War while serving in the US Navy he survived an attack by a Japanese destroyer. From a young age he had suffered from ill health, and he was in pain intermittently for the rest of his life. He had serious back problems and also the Addison's disease, a rare endocrinal disorder.
In 1947 he became a Democratic Congressman, and in 1953 was elected to the Senate. The same year he married Jacqueline Bouvier. In 1960 he won the presidential race against Richard Nixon, becoming America's first Catholic President.
During his inaugural speech he pronunced the memorable words: "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country."
It was during Kennedy's presidency that American intervention in Vietnam began: he argued that if South Vietnam had fallen into Communist hands, other countries would have followed soon. This was known as the domino theory. He also supported the abortive attempt made in 1961 by Cuban exiles, in collaboration with the CIA, to overthrow Fidel Castro's revolutionary regime. And in 1962-63 Kennedy confronted the Soviet Union over the Cuban missile crisis, eventually forcing Moscow to withdraw its missiles from Cuba. But for weeks there was the serious risk of nuclear war.
John Kennedy and his wife Jackie have been immensely popular in a way that pop or movie stars are, more than politicians. They influenced fashion trends and their photos could be found everywhere in popular magazines.
They have become symbols of a young, dynamic and affluent America, despite one or two personal tragedies such as the death at birth of two of their children. After his death, people knew that JFK had had several extramarital affairs while he was President.