JFK is elected President

John F. KennedyJohn F. Kennedy

Born in 1917, John Fitzgerald Kennedy belonged to a wealthy Irish-American family. He was educated at Harvard, one of the very best universities in the USA, and served as a naval officer during World War II. In 1943 his boat was sunk by a Japanese ship and Kennedy was badly wounded, but he showed great courage by leading his men to safety. After the war he went into politics, and in 1953 he married Jacqueline Bouvier, an aristocratic beauty.

His greatest ambition was to become President, but many Americans thought that he did not have a chance of being elected because he was so young and because he was a Roman Catholic. So a lot of people were surprised when he won the 1960 election and became the youngest President ever and the first Roman Catholic to occupy the White House.

President Kennedy fought poverty, racial discrimination and the abuse of human rights. His greatest challenges were to stop the spread of communism and to free the world from the danger of nuclear war, but he was shot and killed in 1963 before he could make his dreams come true. Most Americans think of JFK as one of their greatest Presidents.



Choose the best alternatives to complete these sentences:

  1. The Kennedy family was
    poor / rich / close
  2. The university he went to is
    old-fashioned / excellent / new
  3. During the war he was
    brave / lucky / unhappy

  4. Jacqueline Bouvier belonged to the
    working class / middle class / upper class

  5. Lots of people thought Kennedy would not become President because of
    his religion / his age / his religion and his age

  6. Most Americans think of Kennedy with
    hatred / admiration / fear

Activities for the links below

1) Read the Introduction to the article on the Cuban missile crisis. Then answer these questions in your own words:

  1. Why were the USA’s armed forces ready for action in October 1962?
  2. Why was Cuba’s geographical position important to America at the time?
  3. What did the President and his advisers decide to do when they found out what was going on in Cuba?
  4. Why did the President speak to the nation on TV on 22 October?
  5. What did the Soviet Premier tell Kennedy in his letter?
  6. What important consequences did the agreement between Kennedy and Krushchev have?

2) Now go to the second website. Read the section headed “Third generation”. Then identify these people:

  • Like his brother JFK, he was shot and killed.
  • She married a Hollywood star.
  • She married a British aristocrat.
  • She did great things for handicapped people.
  • He has sat in the United States Senate for almost 50 years.
  • She held an important diplomatic post in Europe.
  • He was killed in Texas.
  • He never married.


Cappelen Damm

Sist oppdatert: 21.08.2009

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