John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the 35th president of the United States.
Kennedy was born on May 29, 1917, and died on November 22, 1963, while serving as president. He was the victim of an assassination which took place on that latter date, in Dallas, Texas.
His father, Joseph Patrick Kennedy was Ambassador to the United Kingdom prior to the outbreak of and during part of World War Two, as a result of which John Kennedy (often referred to as "Jack") and his siblings spent a good deal of their "growing up" years in Great Britain. The senior Kennedy also served as the first director of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the body that oversees the stock market in the United States, serving in that position under President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Jack Kennedy's siblings included Kathleen, Marchioness of Hartington (called "Kick"), Eunice (who later married Sargent Shriver and was the mother of Maria Shriver who later became a journalist and the wife of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California), Robert ("Bobby") who later became Attorney General, a U.S. Senator from New York, and a presidential aspirant who was also murdered, and Edward ("Teddy") who became a U.S. Senator.
President Kennedy first gained notoriety during World War Two, because of his heroism following the destruction of the PT boat he served on as a member of the U.S. Navy. PT-109 was destroyed by the Japanese, and Kennedy managed to save the lives of a number of crewmen, getting them to a safe place (relatively) in the Solomon Islands. Later a book, "PT-109" was written by Robert Donovan, and after Kennedy was elected in 1960, a film was made by the same name, with Kennedy being portrayed by Cliff Robertson.
Following the end of the War, Kennedy was elected to the House of Representatives from Massachusetts. He later served in the U.S. Senate and among other assignments, served on the committe headed by Wisconsin senator Joseph McCarthy.
On September 12, 1953, Kennedy married Jacqueline "Jackie" Bouvier. The couple had three children, Caroline, John F. Kennedy, Jr., and Patrick Kennedy. Patrick died three days after his birth and JFK Jr. died in a plane crash, leaving Caroline, the eldest child, being the only child left. Mrs. Kennedy would become a widow after President Kennedy was assasinated in Texas. She would marry Mr. Aristotle Onassis and become Mrs. Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, later known as Jackie O.
In 1960, Kennedy (often referred to as "JFK" for his initials) was elected president following a campaign against the incumbent vice-president, Richard M. Nixon (Nixon was later elected president in 1968 and re-elected in 1972). Kennedy won the popular vote by a small margin of approximately 100,000 votes. Many observers believe that the electoral college votes (which actually determine who's elected president) would have been won by Nixon, had it not been for vote manipulation by the then-mayor (and father of the current mayor) of Chicago, Richard J. Daley. Others believe that the manipulation of votes in Chicago roughly compensated for shenanigans undertaken by Republicans in southern Illinois.
In 1961, Kennedy approved action by the Central Intelligence Agency, which was an effort to displace Fidel Castro as president of Cuba. In brief, the CIA's Cuban exile surrogates were defeated by Castro's army at Cuba's Bay of Pigs. Kennedy accepted blame for the fiasco.
In 1962, he was again involved with Cuba, when missles of the Soviet Union were found to be present in Cuba. The missles were easily capable of being armed conventionally or with nuclear warheads. These were seen as a threat to the U.S. inasmuch as Cuba is only 90 miles from American shores.
Kennedy resisted American calls to attack Cuba or the Soviet Union, and chose to blockade shipments in and out of Cuba. In the days that followed people throughout the world feared nuclear war between the USSR and the U.S. The Soviets were seen by much of the world to have blinked first, by agreeing to withdraw the missles. It was later revealed that the United States had also agreed to remove missles from Turkey that were capable of reaching the Soviet Union.
In November 1963, Kennedy, in an effort to smooth relations among warring factions within the Democratic party in Texas, prior to the 1964 election, travled there. In addition to visiting San Antonio and Forth Worth, he went to Dallas.
On November 22, while sitting in an open car, shots rang out and Kennedy was killed. There has been a good deal of controversy since then, as to how many assassins there were and whether the man who was officially listed as the murderer, Lee Harvey Oswald was one of the guilty parties.
As of 2014, Kennedy is the earliest U.S. President to have a child still living (his daughter Caroline).