Life and Activities 1917 - 1963

1917 - 1963

Press conference in 1962

Kennedy and Mrs. Kennedy

JFK, Robert and Edward Kennedy

JFK, Berlin speech

JFK casket in the Capitol Rotunda
Biography from 1960 as President
Source: db/iz/reh) © Stiftung Haus der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland

January 2: John F. Kennedy announces his candidacy to become President.
July 13: Kennedy is nominated presidential candidate for the Democratic Party in Los Angeles.
September 26: First TV debate with the Republican candidate and previous Vice-President Richard Nixon (1913-1994).
November 8: Elected President of the USA. His brother Robert F. Kennedy (1925-1968) becomes Attorney General.
January 20: Kennedy is sworn in as 35th President of the USA – the first Catholic in this charge.
March: Kennedy announces the hitherto most extensive armament program in the history of the United States.
April 17: Invasion of the Bay of Pigs, Cuba, by exiled Cubans. Even before Kennedy’s inauguration, the exiled Cubans had been supplied with weapons, ships and CIA-trainers by the American government and they were waiting in camps in Honduras and Nicaragua for their signal to invade their home country. Due to the strong resistance of Fidel Castro‘s (born 1926) troops, the invasion fails and becomes a military and political fiasco, for President Kennedy it is also a personal defeat.
May: Beginning of the so-called freedom trips of black civil rights activists.
May: Kennedy signs the law to increase the minimum salary by 25 percent.
May 16 - 18: State visit in Canada.
May 25: Kennedy sets the goal for the US aerospace program to send a man to the moon within one decade.
May 31: Talks with the French President Charles de Gaulle in Paris.
June 3: The Soviet state and party head Nikita S. Chruschtschow and Kennedy meet in Vienna for a 2-day exchange of opinions about disarmament questions and the Berlin problem. Despite an accentedly friendly atmosphere, the meeting does not show results.
June 4: Chruschtschow gives Kennedy a memorandum in Vienna regarding the Germany policy, the so-called Berlin-Memorandum. Therein he proposes the reorganization of Western Berlin into a demilitarized and neutral city and demands a peacy treaty. The memorandum is only published June 11.
June 4/5: Talks with the British Prime Minister Harold McMillan (1894-1986) in London.
August: Decision against a military action in Berlin after the construction of the Berlin Wall. Still, further American troops are sent to Berlin via the autobahn.
September 20: Establishment of an own agency for development aid (AID).
September 26: Creation of a an independent agency for disarmament questions.
December 15-17: State visit to Puerto Rico, Venezuela and Colombia.
February 3: Trade embargo against Cuba.
February 8: Establishment of a US military command in South Vietnam.
April 11: Kennedy attacks the company US Steel in public, because it has increased its prices contrary to all agreements with government and trade unions. Two days later, the company cancels the price increases.
June 29 - July 1: State visit to Mexico. Triumphal reception in Mexico City.
September 3: Chruschtschow decides to officially support Fidel Castro on Cuba and assures the delivery of weapons and military trainers.
September 11: Chruschtschow warns the USA not to attack Cuba as this could be the beginning of the 3. World War.
September 21: The US-American Senate empowers President Kennedy to "to take any action, if necessary with armed forces, against attempts to spread communism from Cuba to other Latin-American countries".
September 27: President Kennedy declares that the USA will use nuclear weapons if they were attacked from Cuba, or if Western Berlin is in danger.
September 30 / October 1: Troop actions after fierce ethnic riots in Oxford/Mississippi.
October 11: The "Trade Expansion Act" empowers the President with wide authorities to reduce or abrogate import customs.
October 15: Aerial photos confirm the positioning of Soviet intermediate-range missiles on Cuba.
October 22: In a TV speech, President Kennedy demands the dismantling of all Soviet intermediate-range missiles and launching devices on Cuba.
October 24: The USA start a naval blockade against Soviet cargo ships in Cuba. Fidel Castro declares the mobilization.
October 28: Due to the external pressure, Chruschtschow orders the removal of the Soviet missiles from Cuba. The so-called Missile Crisis is thus settled.
November 20: The blockade of Cuba by US forces is canceled. Issue of a presidential order to prevent racial discrimination in social housebuilding.
January 14: In his report on the nation’s situation, Kennedy demands a tax decrease and reforms.
February 28: Kennedy forwards the draft for a civil rights law to the Congress which is mainly assuring the right to vote for black people.
May 12: After ethic riots, Kennedy is sending federal troops to Birmingham/Alabama.
June 10: In his speech at the American University Kennedy emphazises the necessity of a policy of détente.
June 11: TV speech to the American people regarding the civil rights question.
June: Submission of a civil rights law at the Congress that shall force the equality of the colored population in the public.
June 20: As reaction to the Missile Crisis, the USA and the USSR decide to establish a direct telex line between the offices of the US President in Washington and the Soviet premier in Moscow. The so-called „hot line“ is launched August 31 by Chruschtschow and Kennedy.
June 23 - July 2: Trip to Germany, Ireland, Great Britain and Italy.
June 26: Visit to Berlin with speeches in front of the town hall Schöneberg and the Free University Berlin.
July 8: Financial embargo against Cuba.
August 5: An additional sign of understanding between the Great Powers is the agreement between the USA, Great Britain and the Soviet Union about a limited dismissal of nuclear tests, the so-called nuclear test ban treaty which is signed in Moscow by the respective foreign ministers.
August 28: "March on Washington": 200,000 civil rights activists, amongst them Martin Luther King, gather in the American capital. Kennedy welcomes the leaders in the White House.
October 9: Kennedy announces negotiations about wheat sales to the Soviet Union.
November 21: Kennedy orders his consultants to prepare a program for the „War against Poverty“.
November 22: John F. Kennedy is shot dead in Dallas/Texas. The act and its backgrounds are investigated by the so-called Warren Commission, which concludes in 1964 that the main suspect Lee Harvey Oswald, who was shot dead himself two days after the Kennedy assassination, had acted solely. As the act could not be proved, there are different murder and conspiracy theories around until today.
November 25: State funeral for John F. Kennedy at the hero cemetary of Arlington. Due to his early death, Kennedy became a myth, a symbol for all open hopes of the American people.

Quelle: db/iz/reh) © Stiftung Haus der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland

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