.. man into outer space in April 1961, Kennedy asked for a greatly increased budget for space research. This new phase of the cold war was called the space race. The first United States manned space flight was in May. In the spring of 1961 the Bay of Pigs near Havana, Cuba, was invaded by opponents of Cuba’s Communist premier, Fidel Castro.
The rebels were defeated quickly. The invasion had been aided by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Kennedy was criticized by some for having approved the CIA’s support of the invasion. Others blamed him for the operation’s failure. Kennedy met with Premier Nikita Khrushchev of the Soviet Union in Vienna in June to discuss the German question. The conference did not alter Communist goals.
The Berlin Wall was built in August. At home Kennedy won Congressional approval of a number of his proposals, including greater social security benefits, a higher minimum wage, and aid to economically depressed areas in the country. The 23rd Amendment to the Constitution was ratified early in Kennedy’s administration. It gave the residents of Washington, D.C., the right to vote in presidential elections. In March 1961 Kennedy proposed an international economic development program for the Americas.
The charter for the program, called the Alliance for Progress, was ratified in August by the Organization of American States (OAS) In March 1962 Kennedy used his influence to get a steel-industry wage settlement generally regarded as noninflationary. Early in April, however, several companies announced increases in their steel prices. Kennedy reacted strongly. He exerted unusual pressure by shifting government orders to rival steel manufacturers and by threatening lawsuits against the companies that were attempting to raise their prices. Within four days the price increases were canceled.
Kennedy’s most important legislative success of 1962 was the passage of the Trade Expansion Act. It gave the president broad powers, including authority to cut or eliminate tariffs. The act was designed to help the United States compete or trade with the European Economic Community (EEC) on equal terms. Kennedy’s medical care project was defeated in Congress. Under this plan certain hospital expenses for most elderly persons would have been paid through the social security system. In October 1962 Kennedy faced the most serious international crisis of his administration.
Aerial photographs proved that Soviet missile bases were being built in Cuba. Declaring this buildup a threat to the nations of the Western Hemisphere, Kennedy warned that any attack by Cuba would be regarded as an attack by the Soviets and the United States would retaliate against the Soviet Union. He also imposed a quarantine on ships bringing offensive weapons to Cuba. Negotiations were carried on between the president and Khrushchev. By the end of November the missiles had been shipped back to the Soviet Union, the United States had lifted the quarantine, and the month-long crisis had abated.
In 1963, clashes between the police and demonstrating blacks in Birmingham, Ala., and elsewhere, especially in the South, induced the president to stress civil rights legislation. Kennedy’s new civil rights message included bills to ban discrimination in places of business; to speed up desegregation of public schools; and to end discrimination in the hiring of workers on federal construction projects. An agreement to set up a Teletype link between Kennedy and Khrushchev was signed in June 1963. This limited, but promising, achievement was intended as a precaution against war by accident or miscalculation. The president also paid increasing attention to strengthening the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
Visiting Europe early in the summer of 1963, he conferred with government leaders in West Germany, Italy, and Great Britain. In West Germany, the president pledged that United States military forces would remain on the European continent. Kennedy also visited Ireland, from which his great-grandparents had emigrated to the United States. A limited nuclear test ban treaty was signed by representatives of the United States, the Soviet Union, and Britain in the summer of 1963. The agreement permitted underground nuclear tests, and signatory nations could withdraw after 90 days’ notice.
Kennedy called the treaty a victory for mankind. Mrs. Kennedy gave birth to her second son, Patrick Bouvier, on Aug. 7, 1963. Born prematurely, the infant died after only 39 hours of life.
In November, looking forward to the 1964 presidential election, Kennedy made a political visit to Florida and Texas, the two most populous Southern states. His wife, Vice- President Johnson, and Mrs. Johnson accompanied him on the Texas trip. He had been warned that Texas might be hostile. In Dallas, only a month earlier, Adlai Stevenson, United States ambassador to the United Nations, had been spat upon and struck with a picket’s placard.
In San Antonio, Houston, and Fort Worth, however, the crowds were friendly, and obviously delighted with the charming young Jacqueline Kennedy. A large and enthusiastic crowd greeted the presidential party when it arrived at the Dallas airport on the morning of November 22. Along the route of the motorcade into downtown Dallas the people stood 10 to 12 deep, applauding warmly. Next to the president in the big open limousine sat his wife. In front of them, on jump seats, were John B. Connally, the governor of Texas, and his wife, Nellie.
The third car in the procession carried Vice- President and Mrs. Johnson. As the cars approached a triple underpass, Mrs. Connally turned around and said, You can’t say Dallas doesn’t love you, Mr. President. At that moment three shots rang out. The president, shot through the head and throat, slumped over into his wife’s lap. The second bullet hit Governor Connally, piercing his back, chest, wrist, and thigh.
A reporter, glancing up, saw a rifle slowly disappear into a sixth-floor corner window of the Texas School Book Depository, a textbook warehouse overlooking the highway. It was 12:30 PM in Dallas. President Kennedy died in Parkland Memorial Hospital without regaining consciousness. The time of death was set at 1:00 PM.Governor Connally recovered from his multiple wounds. Six minutes after the shooting, a description of a man seen leaving the textbook warehouse went out over the police radio.
At 1:18 PM patrolman J.D. Tippit stopped and questioned a man who answered the description. The man shot him dead. At 1:35 PM Dallas police captured Lee Harvey Oswald in a motion-picture theater, where he had hidden after allegedly killing patrolman Tippit. Although a mass of circumstantial evidence, including ballistics tests, pointed to Oswald as the slayer of President Kennedy, the 24-year-old professed Marxist and Castro sympathizer never came to trial. On Sunday, November 24, as he was being led across the basement of the City Hall for transfer to another prison, Jack Ruby (born Rubenstein), a Dallas nightclub owner, broke through a cordon of police and shot Oswald.
The murder was committed in full view of television cameras as millions watched. The casket bearing Kennedy’s body was removed to the presidential jet plane, Air Force One, where Lyndon B. Johnson took the oath of office as president of the United States. Only 98 minutes had elapsed since Kennedy’s death. All that long afternoon and into the early morning of the next day, Mrs.
Kennedy refused to leave her husband’s body. Close by her side at all times after her return to Washington, D.C., was her husband’s brother and closest adviser, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. Mrs. Kennedy carefully directed the details of the funeral, consulting with historians as to the traditional burial procedures for other presidents who had died in office. The body lay in repose for a day in the East Room of the White House.
On November 24, in a solemn procession to the slow beat of muffled drums, the casket was removed to the rotunda of the Capitol and placed on the catafalque which had borne President Abraham Lincoln’s casket. The following day the funeral procession moved from the Capitol to the White House and then to St. Matthew’s Cathedral. Here Richard Cardinal Cushing, Roman Catholic archbishop of Boston, celebrated Low Mass. From the White House to the cathedral, Mrs.
Kennedy walked in the procession between her husband’s brothers, Robert and Edward. In a scene unduplicated in history, 220 foreign leaders followed them. Burial was at Arlington National Cemetery, on a hillside overlooking the Potomac and the city of Washington. At the conclusion of the service Mrs. Kennedy lighted an eternal flame at the grave.
Two Kennedy infants were later reburied on either side of their father. They were Patrick Bouvier and an unnamed daughter who was stillborn in 1956. On June 8, 1968, the Kennedy family and a host of other mourners again gathered at the Kennedy grave site-this time for the burial of Robert F. Kennedy. The president’s brother, who had become a United States senator, was shot on June 5 in Los Angeles, Calif., while campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination.
He died on June 6 of brain damage. Sirhan Bishara Sirhan, a Jordanian immigrant who was seized at the scene of the shooting, was eventually indicted for the murder. For the second time President Johnson declared a day of mourning for a Kennedy. Many of the same Americans who honored Robert Kennedy’s memory on June 9, 1968, were sadly reminded of an earlier day of mourning. In his proclamation declaring Nov. 25, 1963, a National Day of Mourning for John Kennedy, President Johnson paid this tribute to the slain president, quoting in conclusion from Kennedy’s inaugural address of January 1960: As he did not shrink from his responsibilities, but welcomed them, so he would not have us shrink from carrying on his work beyond this hour of national tragedy.
He said it himself: ‘The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it–and the glow from that fire can truly light the world’. On Nov. 29, 1963, President Johnson created the President’s Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy to investigate and report on the facts relating to the tragedy. It functioned neither as a court nor as a prosecutor.
Chief Justice Earl Warren was appointed chairman. Other members of the bipartisan commission were Senators Richard B. Russell of Georgia and John Sherman Cooper of Kentucky, Representatives Hale Boggs of Louisiana and Gerald R. Ford of Michigan, Allen W. Dulles, and John J. McCloy.
J. Lee Rankin was the general counsel. The report was published on Sept. 24, 1964. Since Oswald was unable to stand trial and defend himself, and in fairness to him and his family, the commission requested Walter E.
Craig, president of the American Bar Association, to participate in the investigation and to advise the commission whether the proceedings conformed to the basic principles of American justice. The commission found that the shots that killed President Kennedy and wounded Governor Connally were fired by Lee Harvey Oswald. There was no evidence at that time that either Oswald or Jack Ruby was part of any conspiracy, domestic or foreign, to assassinate President Kennedy. No direct or indirect relationship between Oswald and Jack Ruby had been uncovered. On the basis of the evidence before it, the commission concluded that Oswald acted alone.
Despite the findings of the commission, conspiracy theories persisted for decades. The commission criticized both the Secret Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Some of the advance preparations and security measures in Dallas made by the Secret Service were found to have been deficient. In addition, though the FBI had obtained considerable information about Oswald, it had no official responsibility to refer this information to the Secret Service. A more carefully coordinated treatment of the Oswald case by the FBI might well have resulted in bringing Oswald’s activities to the attention of the Secret Service, the report stated.
The commission made suggestions for improved protective measures of the Secret Service and better liaison with the FBI, the Department of State, and other federal agencies. Other recommendations were: That a committee of Cabinet members, or the National Security Council, should review and oversee the protective activities of the Secret Service and other agencies that help safeguard the president. That Congress adopt legislation that would make the assassination of the president and vice-president a federal crime. That the representatives of the bar, law-enforcement associations, and the news media establish ethical standards concerning the collection and presentation of information to the public so that there will be no interference with pending criminal investigations Politics Essays.