March 18, 2013

John Kennedy

PBS American Experience

One Small Step

(Saturn V, Episode 1)

(Emily Calandrelli, Lunar Module, Engineering Space, Episode 2, 2016)

John Kennedy (1917 — 63):
I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.
No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish.
(Special Message, Joint Session of Congress, 25 May 1961)

We choose to go to the Moon.
We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard. …
We have vowed that we shall not see space filled with weapons of mass destruction, but with instruments of knowledge and understanding. …
And [so,] as we set sail, we ask God's blessing, on the most hazardous and dangerous and greatest adventure on which man has ever embarked.
(Rice University Address on the Nation's Space Effort, Houston, Texas, 2 September 1962)

(The Kennedys, PBS American Experience, 1992)

(Peter Schnall, Secrets of the White House, Episode 2, Partisan Pictures, PBS, 2016)

(Peter Schnall, Secrets of the White House, Episode 1, Partisan Pictures, PBS, 2016)

(Barak Goodman, Clinton, 2012)

John Kennedy (1917 – 63):
The greatest enemy of the truth is very often not
  • the lie — deliberate, contrived, and dishonest, but
  • the myth — persistent, persuasive, and and unrealistic.
Belief in myth allows
  • the comfort of opinion, without
  • the discomfort of thought.

Robert Kennedy (1925 – 68):
Each time a man
  • stands up for an ideal, or
  • acts to improve the lot of others, or
  • strikes out against injustice,
he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.
(Day of Affirmation Address, 1966)

The question is, whether we can find in our own midst and in our own hearts that leadership of humane purpose that will recognize the terrible truths of our existence.
  • We must admit the vanity of our false distinctions among men and learn to find our own advancement in the search for the advancement of others.
  • We must admit in ourselves that our own children's future cannot be built on the misfortunes of others.
  • We must recognize that this short life can neither be ennobled or enriched by hatred or revenge.

Our lives on this planet are too short and the work to be done too great to let [the spirit of division to] flourish any longer in our land.

Of course we cannot vanquish it with a program, nor with a resolution.
But we can perhaps remember, if only for a time,
  • that those who live with us are our brothers,
  • that they share with us the same short moment of life,
  • that they seek, as do we, nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and in happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can.
(On The Mindless Menace Of Violence, City Club of Cleveland, Cleveland, Ohio, 5 April 1968)

What I think is quite clear, is that we can work together in the last analysis.
[That] what has been going on in the United States over the period of the last three years: the divisions, the violence, the disenchantment with our society …
The divisions, whether it's
  • between Blacks and Whites,
  • between the poor and the more affluent, or
  • between age groups, or
  • on the war in Vietnam …
That we can start to work together.
We are a great country … and a compassionate country. …
(Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles, 5 June 1968)

Frank Mankeiwsicz [Kennedy Press Aide]:
Senator Robert Francis Kennedy died at 1.44 am today, June 6 1968. …

Edward Kennedy:
[Robert] need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life …
[To] be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who
  • saw wrong and tried to right it,
  • saw suffering and tried to heal it,
  • saw war and tried to stop it.
Those of us who loved him.
And who take him to his rest today.
Pray that, what he was to us, and what he wished for others, will someday come to pass for all the world.
As he said many times …
Some men see things as they are and say why?
I dream things that never were, and say, why not?

[The shooter] Sirhan Sirhan, a 24-year-old Palestinian … said that he felt betrayed by Kennedy's support for Israel in the June 1967 Six-Day War, which had begun exactly one year before the assassination.
(4 April, 2013)

Chris Matthews:
[Joseph Kennedy Sr opposed the Marshall Plan] for the economic reconstruction of war-torn Europe …
A shrewder plan, he calculated, would be to let the Communists grab Europe, creating economic chaos that would lead to greater opportunities for businessmen like him down the road.
(Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero, Simon & Schuster, 2011, Reader's Digest, 2013, p 55)

The Common Enemies Of Mankind

Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans:
  • born in this century,
  • tempered by war,
  • disciplined by a hard and bitter peace,
  • proud of our ancient heritage, and
  • unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights
    • to which this nation has always been committed, and
    • to which we are committed today at home and around the world.

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall:
  • pay any price,
  • bear any burden,
  • meet any hardship,
  • support any friend, [and]
  • oppose any foe;
to assure the survival and the success of liberty. …

To those old allies whose cultural and spiritual origins we share, we pledge the loyalty of faithful friends.
  • United: there is little we cannot do, in a host of cooperative ventures.
  • Divided: there is little we can do, for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder. …

To our sister republics south of our border, we offer a special pledge:
[To] assist free men and free governments in casting off the chains of poverty [in a new alliance for progress.] …

[To] the United Nations, our last best hope in an age where the instruments of war have far outpaced the instruments of peace, we renew our pledge of support
  • to prevent it from becoming merely a forum for invective
  • to strengthen its shield of the new and the weak, and
  • to enlarge the area in which its writ may run. …

[Remembering always] that
  • civility is not a sign of weakness, and
  • sincerity is always subject to proof. …
[Let all nations join us] in creating a new endeavor, not a new balance of power, but a new world of law, where:
  • the strong are just …
  • the weak [are] secure and
  • the peace [is] preserved.

[This task] will not be finished in the first one hundred days.
Nor will it be finished in the first one thousand days, nor in the life of this Administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet.
But let us begin. …

Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty. …
Now the trumpet [sounds] again:
  • not as a call to bear arms — though arms we need,
  • not as a call to battle — though embattled we are,
  • but a call to bear the burden of [the] long twilight struggle … against the common enemies of [mankind:]
    • tyranny,
    • poverty,
    • disease and
    • war itself. …

My fellow citizens of the world:
  • ask not what America will do for you,
  • but what together, we can do for the freedom of man.

(Inaugural Address, 20 January 1961)

World peace … does not require that each man love his neighbor …
[It] requires only that they live together in mutual tolerance, submitting their disputes to a just and peaceful settlement.
[History] teaches us that enmities between nations, as between individuals, do not last forever.
However fixed our likes and dislikes may seem, the tide of time and events will often bring surprising changes in the relations between nations and neighbors. …
  • Peace need not be impracticable, and
  • war need not be inevitable. …

No government or social system is so evil that its people must be considered as lacking in virtue. …

[Let us] direct attention to our common interests and to the means by which [our] differences can be resolved.
And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. …

[We] do not need to use threats to prove that we are resolute. …
We are unwilling to impose our system on any unwilling people …

What kind of peace do we seek?
Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war.
Not the peace of the grave …

Total war makes no sense in an age when great powers can maintain large and relatively invulnerable nuclear forces and refuse to surrender without resort to those forces. …
It makes no sense in an age when the deadly poisons produced by a nuclear exchange would be carried by wind and water and soil and seed to the far corners of the globe and to generations yet unborn.

[The] expenditure of billions of dollars every year on weapons acquired for the purpose of making sure we never need to use them [is not] the most efficient, means of assuring peace.

Too many of us think [peace] is impossible. …
But that is a dangerous, defeatist belief.
It leads to the conclusion that war is inevitable — that mankind is doomed — that we are gripped by forces we cannot control.

We need not accept that view.
Our problems are manmade — therefore, they can be solved by man. …

Let us focus [on a peace based] on a gradual evolution in human institutions …
Genuine peace must be the product of many nations, the sum of many acts.
It must be dynamic, not static, changing to meet the challenge of each new generation.
For peace is a process — a way of solving problems. …

[It is imperative that the American people not] fall into the same trap as the Soviets …
[Not] to see only a distorted and desperate view of the other side …
[Not] to see conflict as inevitable, accommodation as impossible and communication as nothing more than an exchange of threats.
No government or social system is so evil that its people must be considered as lacking in virtue. …

[No] nation in the history of battle ever suffered more than the Soviet Union suffered in the course of the Second World War.
At least twenty million lost their lives.
Countless millions of homes and farms … burned or sacked.
A third of the nation's territory [turned to wasteland.]

[Should] total war ever break out again — [all] we have built, all we have worked for, would be destroyed in the first twenty-four hours. …
[We] are both devoting to weapons massive sums of money that could be better devoted to combating ignorance, poverty and disease. …

Above all … nuclear powers must avert those confrontations which bring an adversary to a choice of either a humiliating retreat or a nuclear war. …

[We] do not need to use threats to prove that we are resolute. …
We are unwilling to impose our system on any unwilling people …

[We] seek to strengthen the United Nations …
[To] make it a more effective instrument for peace …
[To] develop it into … a system capable
  • of resolving disputes on the basis of law,
  • of insuring the security of the large and the small and
  • of creating conditions under which arms can finally be abolished. …

[There] can be no doubt that, if all nations could refrain from interfering in the self-determination of others, the peace would be much more assured. …
Our primary long-range interest … is general and complete disarmament — designed to take place by stages, permitting parallel political developments to build the new institutions of peace which would take the place of arms. …

[Is] not peace … basically a matter of human rights
  • the right to live out our lives without fear of devastation
  • the right to breathe air as nature provided it
  • the right of future generations to a healthy existence? …

The United States … will never start a war. …
This generation of Americans has already had [more than enough] of war and hate and oppression. …
[We shall] do our part to build a world of peace where the weak are safe and the strong are just.

(Commencement Address, American University, Washington, 10 June 1963)

The Dream

On November 7th 1979, in Boston, Rose Kennedy, 89 years old, was ready to campaign once again.
The last of her son's was planning to declare his candidacy for President. …
When [Edward] Kennedy announced, he led 2 to 1 in the polls, but he quickly fell behind President Carter and never regained the lead. …
Times had changed.
The country was moving away from his kind of Liberalism. …

In the end, he lost 24 of the 34 primaries he entered. …
But in his hour of defeat, he spoke with an eloquence that banished, for a moment, all the shadows on the Kennedy legend. …
Edward Kennedy (1932 – 2009):
[May] it be said of us, both in dark passages and in bright days, in the words of Tennyson that my brothers quoted and loved, and that have special meaning for me now:
I am a part of all that I have met …
Tho' much is taken, much abides; [and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven,] that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
[Made weak by time and fate, but] strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield. …
(Ulysses, 1842)
For all those whose cares have been our concern:
  • the Work goes on,
  • the Cause endures,
  • the Hope still lives, and
  • the Dream shall never die.
(Concession Speech, Democratic National Convention, New York, 12 August 1980)
[The] quest for the Presidency, had finally come to and end for sons of Joseph P Kennedy.
Their father had once been willing to pay any price for power.
He could never have imagined how high that price would be.


The Father
The Sons

John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917 – 63)

35th President of the United States (1961-63)

  • The Kennedys, PBS American Experience, WGBH, 1992.
    Susan Bellows.

    [This is] the story of the Kennedys as a family unit, a tribe …
    Doris Kearns Goodwin [Biographer]:
    They were like a warrior force, combining in all their persons, one person's goals. …
    Behind [the four] Kennedy brothers, burned the unrelenting ambition of their father, Joseph [Patrick] Kennedy. …
    Joseph Kennedy:
    [It] is not what you are that counts, but what people think you are.

    The Father

    Joe Kennedy gave his sons every advantage to compete in the Brahman world.
    Sending them to exclusive prep schools, the on to Harvard to study Law and Government.
    None of them would need to go into business.
    Trust funds would allow them to follow their father into public life. …

    By 1938, Joseph Kennedy's ceaseless self-promotion had begun to pay off.
    A national poll placed him fifth among likely candidates to succeed Roosevelt.
    Now he thought he saw a way to improve his prospects still further, and put his family in the social register. …

    The Ambassador

    {At the age of 49, he was American ambassador to Great Britain [and the] richest Irish-American on earth. …}
    [But it was to be] Joe Kennedy's response to Hitler that would ruin his political career. …
    Awed by the strength of the Nazi military machine, Kennedy wanted Britain and America to keep out of war.
    Like most Americans in 1938, he believed the democracies had to co-exist with the Nazi's.
    He recommended appeasement. …

    He told the German ambassador that he understood their Jewish policy completely.
    And downplayed reports from his staff of what they saw happening in Germany. …

    On September 1, 1939 … Hitler invaded Poland, and World War II began. …
    Michael Beschloss [Historian]:
    Churchill saw Kennedy as the greatest impediment to his aim of getting the United States to help Britain in its struggle with Nazi Germany.
    He thought Kennedy was a defeatist, an appeaser, perhaps pro-Hitler …

    Pamela Churchill Harriman [Churchill's daughter-in-law]:
    Old Joe took the firm line that Britain could not win the war. …
    That Hitler had the power, and the strength, and the will. …

    Harvey Klemmer [Kennedy Aide]:
    The first night of Blitz, we walked down Piccadilly and he said:
    I'll … you five-to-one, any sum, that Hitler will be in Buckingham Palace in 2 weeks. …
    Even in the darkest days of the war, Kennedy was using his position to enrich himself.
    He [tried] to requisition precious cargo space to ship 200,000 cases of whiskey for his own importing company. …

    In October 1940, Kennedy returned home, convinced the President was secretly plotting to get America into the war.
    He was determined to warn the country. …
    In a sensational interview, [which] he thought was largely off the record, he predicted that democracy was finished in Britain — perhaps, in America.
    The interview ended Joseph Kennedy's political career. …
    [At 52 years of age, his] own presidential ambitions in ruins [he became convinced] that Joe Junior, would be the first Catholic President. …

    Around this time Joseph Kennedy made a decision … that would haunt him the rest of his life.
    [His retarded teenaged daughter,] Rosemary, had begun to behave unpredictably, out of control. …
    Doris Kearns Goodwin [Biographer]:
    Joe found out about this new-fangled operation called a lobotomy.
    And what the lobotomy promised was that it you could take away the part of the brain that controls where you anticipate the future and worry.
    That you could make a person happy, living day to day.
    So if they could take away that sense of her limitations, that she wasn't measuring up to her sisters and brothers, she could just be happy being Rosemary.
    Kennedy ordered the risky operation performed.
    It went badly.
    Rosemary emerged more seriously retarded.
    She was sent to live in a nursing convent in the mid-west. …

    [Following the attack on Pearl Harbor] Joe and Jack had enlisted in the Navy.
    Joe became a flyer. …

    Jack's poor health forced him to settle for a desk job in Washington, where he began an affair with an older woman …
    He lobbied hard for active duty, and by April 1943 was in the Pacific commanding a patrol boat.
    His vessel, PT 109, was rammed by a Japanese destroyer.
    Two crewmen were killed.
    Kennedy towed a third man to safety, surviving 16 hours in the ocean …
    He spent the rest of the war struggling to recover from his injuries and malaria. …

    [Joe Junior] was to pilot a bomber, crammed with explosives toward a German rocket site on the coast of France, aim the plane at the target, and bail out.
    Just before take-off, [he] said to a friend,
    If I don't come back. Tell my dad I love him very much.
    Kennedy's plane exploded in mid-air. …

    The Second Son

    Jack's [Senatorial] opponent, Henry Cabot Lodge, heir to a distinguished Republican family, was caught off-guard by the Kennedy onslaught.
    But Lodge had a potential savior.
    Then at the height of his powers, Republican Senator, Joseph McCarthy.
    McCarthy was Irish and Catholic, and had a big following in Boston.
    But he also had close ties to the Kennedy's.
    So when the Republicans begged him to campaign for Lodge, he hesitated.
    William F Buckley Jr [Author, McCarthy and His Enemies]:
    Joe McCarthy said to me:
    If I were to do that, Cabot Lodge would definitely beat Jack Kennedy.
    But I would find that extremely difficult to do because it would offend Jack, who is a very good friend of mine, and it would offend the old man.
    And the old man gave $5,000 dollars to my own campaign.
    And, in fact, it was a pretty close election.
    And probably, if McCarthy had gone to Boston and campaigned for Cabot Lodge, Kennedy would have been defeated.
    As it was, he won by only 70,000 votes. …

    A National Figure

    [When] his senate colleagues voted to censure Joe McCarthy for the reckless way he had conducted his anti-communist crusade.
    Kennedy, among the democrats chose not to go against this old family friend. …

    Kennedy set out to make himself a national figure.
    Early in 1956 he went on television promoting his new book Profiles in Courage. …
    Although the were rumors that he had not written the book himself, it became and immediate best seller.
    And after heavy lobbying by his father's friends, went on to win a Pulitzer Prize.
    The book helped set him apart from his political rivals. …
    Ted Sorensen [Legislative Assistant to Sen Kennedy]:
    The author of Profiles in Courage was John F Kennedy.
    The author is the man who stands behind what is there on the printed page.
    It's his responsibility to put his name to it and to put it out. …

    He Cannot Say No

    Just as Joseph Kennedy had once orchestrated his own publicity, he now helped select the best photographers to portray his son with his wife and daughter Caroline.

    But these carefully crafted portraits of a close happy family, were at odds with the private reality. …
    Nigel Hamilton [Biographer]:
    His father had dealt with gangsters and mobsters all through his career.
    Jack never had.
    And he was charmed with idea of dealing with the [Rat Pack] and the seamier side of life.
    Part of his curiosity about life.
    He cannot say no.

    High Hopes

    John Kennedy officially announced his [Presidential] candidacy on January 2, 1960.
    No-one so young had ever been elected.
    And many Protestants were fearful that a Catholic President's first allegiance would be to the Pope. …
    To get the nomination, Jack would have to win every primary he entered.

    His campaign would be managed by his brother Robert. …
    [Bobby] had been assistant counsel to Joe McCarthy's Senate investigations sub-committee and chief counsel of the Senate Rackets committee — displaying a harsh unremitting zeal that made him a host of enemies. …

    Joe Kennedy rarely broke cover.
    His defeatism and anti-Semitism had not been forgotten.
    But he was one of the twelve richest men in the country, and his money was always visible. …

    FBI wiretaps would later show that underworld figures, said to have old ties to Joe Kennedy, [distributed] funds on behalf of the Kennedy campaign.
    Kennedy won West Virginia and all of the primaries. …
    Frank Sinatra:
    Everyone is voting for Jack …
    Jack is on the right track,
    Cause he's got,
    High hopes.
    He's got,
    High Hopes …
    It was the narrowest win of the century.
    A margin of one tenth of one percent. …

    Joe still kept quiet in public.
    But in private, as the President-elect chose his cabinet, he made his wishes know.
    He wanted his son Robert appointed Attorney General.

    The Magic Touch

    Ted Sorensen [Special Counsel to the President]:
    There is a certain feeling of headiness in the first days of the administration:
    You're the President of the United States!
    You defeated the opposition that was favored!
    You have the magic touch!
    You can't make any mistakes!
    That's a very dangerous feeling to have. …
    Shortly after his election, Kennedy had been told of a secret CIA plan to send an army of Cuban exiles to overthrow Fidel Castro …
    Some advisors argued that even a successful invasion would brand the United States an aggressor and risk Soviet retaliation.
    But the CIA and the Joint Chiefs assured Kennedy the invasion would succeed without revealing United States participation.
    Kennedy gave the go-ahead for a landing at the Bay of Pigs. …

    When the landing foundered Kennedy — fearful of revealing American involvement — refused to provide air support.
    1191 men were captured, 114 were killed. …

    [Robert] was put in charge of a new clandestine plan, Operation Mongoose.
    Robert Kennedy (1925 – 68):
    Ousting Castro is the top priority of the United States government …
    He ordered hit-and-run raids.
    Destruction of roads and bridges.
    At the same time the CIA was using mobsters, including Sam Giancana and Johnny Rosselli, in a plot to assassinate Castro.
    This strange alliance had begun during the Eisenhower administration and continued unbroken through the Kennedy years.
    Kennedy clearly wanted the Cuban leader eliminated.
    Robert McNamara:
    We were hysterical about Castro at the time …

    Michael Beschloss [Historian]:
    Kennedy may well have known that the mafia was trying to kill Castro at the same time as his brother was trying to prosecute the mafia. …
    It may well be that Kennedy just considered his ability to hold two opposing ideas in his brain to be something that was required of a President.

    A Very Mean Year

    [At the 1961 Summit in Vienna, Kennedy] feared he had failed to convince Khrushchev of American resolve …
    John Kennedy (1917 – 63):
    We have a problem making our power credible … and the place to do it, is Vietnam. …
    [He] tripled the number of military advisers sent to South Vietnam.

    In the Fall of 1961, American troops were on alert in Berlin, American advisers were on their way to South Vietnam, and Operation Mongoose continued against Cuba.
    As what Robert Kennedy called, 'a very mean year', due to a close.


    In September 1961, Joseph Kennedy seemed to have fulfilled all his ambitions.
    [On] his 73rd birthday, he had one son in the White House, another in the Cabinet.
    But still he wanted more.
    This time for Ted. …
    His father was determined to make him a United States senator. …
    Ted was still too young to quality, he would not turn 30 until 1962. …
    Jack Kennedy had arranged an old friend to hold his senate seat until Ted was old enough to run. …

    Then … just before Christmas, the ambassador suffered a massive stroke. …
    He would live on eight more years.
    A mute and helpless witness to all that lay ahead.

    The Sons

    Making Their Own Rules

    Midge Decter [Political Essayist}:
    The Kennedy's were clearly making their own rules. …
    Ted Kennedy turned 30 in February 1962.
    Now old enough to run for his brother's old senate seat.
    But when Edward McCormack, nephew of the Speaker of the House, challenged Kennedy's right to the nomination, the President asked Ted to ask Tip O'Neill to intercede. …
    Thomas P O'Neill Jr [US Congress, 1952-87]:
    He said …
    We understand Eddie owes $100,000.
    We'll take care of his expenses.
    My father will see he gets a good client. …
    Anything that he's interest in, he can have. …
    An ambassadorship, or something of that nature. …
    The Kennedy's failed to buy off McCormack. …
    Ted Kennedy won … the primary.
    And would go on to challenge the Republican candidate, George Lodge, son of Henry Cabot Lodge, the Boston Brahman, John Kennedy had defeated a decade earlier.

    Private Lives

    Judith Campbell Exner:
    [He] was a tremendous risk taker.
    Jack felt he could do as he pleased.
    And he did as he pleased.

    Nigel Hamilton [Biographer]:
    To have a President who cannot control his sexual appetite.
    Who is always taking these reckless risks, and cannot stop himself.
    Is not only to threaten the status of the Presidency.
    It also threatens national security. …
    [J Edgar Hoover] told Kennedy the FBI was aware of his relationship with Judith Campbell.
    And that Campbell was also friendly with crime boss Sam Giancano.
    Hoover warned of possible blackmail. …

    [He] stopped his public association with Frank Sinatra.
    His long time Hollywood friend who had ties to the Mob.
    And who had introduced him to Judith Campbell in 1960.

    We Are All Mortal

    On October 16th, Kennedy was shown photographs taken by a U2 spy plane.
    The Soviets were secretly building bases in Cuba for nuclear missiles, capable to striking New York, Chicago, Washington.
    The Joint Chiefs of Staff believed that the missiles would seriously alter the military balance, but Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara disagreed. …
    The US already had approximately 5,000 strategic warheads, while the Soviet Union had only 300.
    He concluded that the Soviets having 340 would not therefore substantially alter the strategic balance.
    (27 March, 2013)
    The Bay of Pigs, and [the] continuing secret campaign to overthrow Castro, had convinced [Khrushchev that] another American invasion of Cuba was imminent.
    Sergo Mikoyan [Son of Soviet First Deputy Premier]:
    [He] came to the conclusion that the only way to save Cuba was to install [missiles there, that] would deter [an] American invasion.
    But to Kennedy, Soviet missiles so close to the United States were intolerable.
    The would have to be removed.
    The question was how to do it without provoking nuclear war. …
    But most advisers initially favored a military response. …

    Kennedy revealed the crisis to the world on October 22nd and declared a naval blockade of Cuba to remain in force until the missiles were removed.
    The Kennedy's had resisted pressure from the military to bomb the missile sites.
    They would give the Soviet Premier the opportunity to withdraw peacefully.
    But no one knew what Khrushchev would do.
    The nation braced for the possibility of nuclear war …
    Robert Kennedy Jnr:
    I remember there being a discussion at home, with my father, about whether or not we should be moved. …
    But there were two considerations I remember my father articulating at that time.
    One was that we shouldn't be moved because it would cause other people to panic, if we were moved out of Washington.
    And the other one was that — if there were a nuclear war — none of us would want to be around anyway.
    In the end, both sides pulled back from confrontation.
    Khrushchev agreed to withdraw the missiles in exchange for Kennedy's public pledge not to invade Cuba.
    And his private promise to remove American missiles from Turkish bases near the Soviet border.

    The gravest crisis of the Cold War was over.
    Kennedy had shown a blend of toughness and diplomatic skill scarcely imaginable when he first took office.
    But he also recognised how close the world had come to disaster.
    How large a part luck had played in its survival. …

    Kennedy move to reduce the possibility of future confrontation.
    In the ensuing months he negotiated the first arms agreement of the nuclear age.
    Installed the first direct communication link to the Soviet Premier.
    And at the American University in June 1963 called for a new era of tolerance.

    As Old as the Scriptures

    Doris Kearns Goodwin [Biographer]:
    [John Kennedy] was a very rational fellow.
    He didn't move by passionate commitments.
    And civil rights required a passionate conviction.
    Kennedy watched, along with the country, in May 1963, as racial violence erupted in Birmingham.
    Horrified by what he had seen, he polled his political advisers about sending a broad new civil rights bill to Congress.
    Burke Marshall [Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights]:
    Most of his advisers … told him it's a terrible political mistake.
    [They thought:]
    This Presidents going to put his presidency on [the] line for this bill and he's going to fail.
    Robert Kennedy disagreed.
    His duties as Attorney General had demanded that he focus on the inequities in American society.
    He would come to champion civil rights for the rest of his life. …

    In the end Kennedy sided with his brother.
    That evening, for the first time in history, a President would declare civil rights for black Americans a moral issue. …
    John Kennedy (1917 – 63):
    We are confronted, primarily, with a moral issue.
    It is as old as the scriptures.
    And as clear as the American constitution.
    The heart of the question is, whether all Americans are to be afforded equal rights and equal opportunities …

    Roger Wilkins [Agency for International Development]:
    All at once he brought passion to it.
    He brought eloquence to it. …

    If you look back at who John Kennedy was when he came to the United States Senate.
    And you see who he was on racial issues when he died.
    You have to say:
    That's what you want.
    You know that most white Americans are racist.
    You can't help but be racist in this culture, unless you have superb parents.
    What you hope is that white Americans can be educated.
    [That] they can be purged to some real degree of their racism.
    And that they can be brought to do decent things.
    That's what happened to this man.

    … Kennedy had now sent some 16,000 military advisers [to Vietnam …]
    John Kennedy (1917 – 63):
    In the final analysis, it's their war.
    They're the ones who have to win it or lose it.
    We can help them.
    We can give them equipment.
    We can send our men out there as advisers.
    But they have to win it.
    The people of Vietnam against the communists. …

    But I don't agree with those who say we should withdraw.
    That would be a great mistake. …
    I know people don't like Americans to be engaged in this kind of an effort.
    47 Americans have been killed in combat with the enemy.
    But this is a very important struggle even though it is far away. …
    The war was going badly.
    [Two] months later he secretly encouraged the military coup, hoping to install more effective Vietnamese leadership.
    The new regime would prove just as flawed.
    The war in Vietnam would grow and become the most controversial legacy of the Kennedy Presidency. …
    Walter Cronkite:
    President Kennedy died at 1 pm Central Standard Time … some 38 minutes ago.
    (22 November 1963)

    In Love with Night

    Michael Beschloss [Historian]:
    The funeral of John Kennedy was modelled on the funeral of Lincoln. …
    Less than half of all Americans had cast their votes for Kennedy.
    Now, 65% claimed they had.
    He had become, in death, what he never was in life.
    And the President's widow added to his legend. …
    Michael Beschloss [Historian]:
    She gave an interview … in which she referred to the fact that she and her husband, late at night, used to listen to a phonograph record of the musical Camelot. …
    Thenceforth the Kennedy legend had its name. …
    John Kennedy's legend was already settling upon Robert Kennedy.
    But he was shattered.
    The brother to whom he had devoted his life, was dead. …
    [He] stayed on as Attorney General [but] could not conceal his disdain for the new President, Lyndon Johnson.
    Clark Clifford [Counsel to President Johnson]:
    It was a terribly bitter experience for Bobby.
    To see this man he hated, come in and replace his brother in the Oval Office in the White House.
    It was almost more than he could bear.
    He was rude to Lyndon Johnson.
    His comments about him … were always destructive. …
    Then in June of 1964 … Senator Edward Kennedy was injured in a plane crash.
    His back was broken.
    For a time, the family feared the youngest Kennedy would not live. …

    Robert Kennedy was present as Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
    It had been President Kennedy's bill.
    But it had taken Johnson's skill to push it through.

    The Carpetbagger

    [Robert] would run for the United States Senate, from New York. …
    Since he did not yet even live in New York State, some called him a carpetbagger. …
    In the past, Robert Kennedy had managed campaigns for his brother.
    Now he was the candidate and the transition was difficult. …

    The Kennedy forces were out in two states that political season.
    Campaigning in Massachusetts for Ted, who was still hospitalised.
    Converging on New York to help Robert. …

    [He] became New York's Senator, thanks largely to an overwhelming landslide for Lyndon Johnson. …
    [And] Edward Kennedy was swept back into office by a landslide [in Massachusetts.]

    The Heir

    When the Canadian government named Mount Kennedy in honor of the late President, the National Geographic Society invited Kennedy to join an expedition to climb it. …
    At the summit, Senator Kennedy unfurled the Kennedy crest.
    [A] reminder that he believed himself to be the legitimate heir to the man for whom the mountain was named. …

    Kennedy had always been relentless in pursuit of his brother's policies, and his brother's enemies.
    Now he would be just as relentless in carving out a constituency of his own … drawn from the dissatisfied, the poor, the young, Blacks, Indians and the migrant workers of California. …
    More and more, Robert Kennedy found himself listening to the advocates of the disadvantaged. …
    Marian Wright Edelman [NAACP]:
    He walked in, and saw, in a dark back room, a child that was obviously malnourished, with a bloated stomach, that was not very responsive. …
    And he stooped down and tried to get the child to respond.
    Touching, feeling and talking to the child.
    The child did not respond. …

    Senator, what do you make of the problem of poverty, in this, our poorest state?

    Robert Kennedy (1925 – 68):
    Considering we have a gross national product of $700 billion, we spend $75 billion on armaments, weapons.
    That, to think we spend $3 billion each year on dogs in the United States, as American citizens, that we could be doing more for those who are poor and particularly for our children. …
    Robert Kennedy had already left behind his father's views.
    Now he had moved beyond his dead brother too.
    Bringing all of his own zeal to a new risky kind of politics.
    Mounting a liberal challenge to the liberal President of his own party.
    Peter Edelman [Legislative Assistant to RFK]:
    [He] was conducting [a kind of] alternate government in waiting or shadow administration [from that of] Lyndon Johnson.

    The Shadow Government

    In March 1967, he broke openly with Johnson over Vietnam. …
    The war, he told the Senate, is not just a nation's responsibility, but yours and mine.
    It is we who send our young men off to die.
    It is our chemical which scorch the children.
    And our bombs that level the villages.
    We are all participants.

    He called for a halt to the bombing of North Vietnam and a negotiated settlement.

    On to Chicago

    … Robert Kennedy and his family arrived at … the same spot on which John Kennedy had [announced his Presidential] campaign in January of 1960.
    And [he] used his brother's opening line.
    Robert Kennedy (1925 – 68):
    I am announcing today, my candidacy for the Presidency of the United States.
    I do not run for the Presidency just to oppose any man.
    But to propose new policies.
    I run because I am convinced that this country is on a perilous course and because I have such strong feelings about what must be done.
    And I feel that I am obliged to do all that I can. …
    [On] the evening of March 31st [1968,] Johnson bowed out of the race.

    The Ninth Child

    Just one week after Robert Kennedy's funeral, Edward Kennedy appeared on national television with his father and mother.
    Rose Kennedy (1890 – 1995):
    We cannot always understand the ways of Almighty God.
    The Crosses which he sends us.
    The sacrifices which he demands of us.
    But we know His great goodness and his love.
    And we go on our way with no regrets for the past.
    Not looking backwards to the past.
    But we shall carry on with courage. …
    Just 36, he had become the effective head of an extended family.
    Responsible, in part, for the welfare of 16 children. …
    Edward Kennedy:
    Like my … brothers before me.
    I pick up a fallen standard.
    Sustained by [the] memory of our priceless years together.
    I shall try to carry forward that special commitment — to justice, to excellence, to courage — that distinguished their lives. …
    [On July 18, 1969, Edward Kennedy attended] a reunion party of young women who had worked for his brother Robert's last campaign.
    One of them was Mary Jo Kopechne.
    The meeting was held on Chappaquiddick island off Martha's Vineyard.
    Late that evening, Kennedy left the party with Miss Kopechne.
    Sometime later his car plunged off a narrow wooden bridge.
    Kennedy managed to get out.
    His passenger did not.
    Yet, for ten hours, he failed to report the accident.

    The car was discovered by two boys on an early morning fishing trip.
    Police were summoned, and the young woman's body was recovered.
    The divers suspected that she had not died immediately. …

    … Senator Kennedy pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident, and received a 2 month jail sentence — suspended. …
    Massachusetts rallied to the last of the Kennedy brothers.
    But across the country, many found his explanations inadequate …
    Fred Harris [US Senator, 1964-73]:
    Everybody … thought that Ted Kennedy would be the Democratic nominee for President in 1972.
    [Then] came the terrible news of the tragedy at Chappaquiddick. …
    There was no question from that moment on.
    Ted Kennedy would not be the Democratic nominee …
    Joseph P Kennedy, aged 81, refused nourishment and began to waste away.
    He died on November 18th 1969. …

    For the next ten years, Edward Kennedy served as one of the leading Liberal spokesmen in the Senate.
    Building a legislative record unmatched by either of his brothers. …

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