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Kennedy Family and Pre-Presidency Years
The Kennedy family is renown for their wealth, power, and good looks. Their beginnings of power can be traced back to their father, Joseph P. Kennedy Sr (1888-1969) and Paternal Patrick J. (PJ) Kennedy and his political rival John F. Fitzgerald who happened to be father of Joseph P. Kennedy’s future wife Rose Fitzgerald.
Joseph Kennedy married Rose Fitzgerald, the daughter of the Mayor of Boston in 1914. It may have been an unlikely marriage considering their parents were rivals, but in the life of Joseph Kennedy, every decision made was justified as a means to accomplish and become a powerful family, businessman, and politician.
Joseph Kennedy was an important businessman and political figure. Jospeh Kennedy made a fortune from the real estate stock market, becoming one of the richest persons in the US at the time. He was also involved in film production. It is also rumored that he made a great deal of money from illegal bootlegging during Prohibition.Although he wasn’t the first one in John F. Kennedy’s Family tree to be a politician. He lead the Irish Catholic community, (which was discriminated against) was a leading member of the Democratic party, chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, leader of Maritime Commission, and was the US ambassador to Great Britian during the beginning of World War II. It was his relationship with Neville Chamberlain and support of appeasing Hitler and the Nazis that ultimately cut Joseph Kennedy’s career short of the white house.
Jospeh was a close friend to Roosevelt and Senator Joseph McCarthy, who fueled the fire in the Red Scare. Joseph dreamed of becoming president; to him, the position was the ‘ultimate prize’. He was very careful about creating a perfect “Kennedy Family Public Image”, saying “Image is Reality.” From their childhoods, the Kennedy children had been put into a powerful position.
Although I do not believe the Kennedy’s are cursed, per se, I do believe their ambitions and hyper inflated need for power and riches led them to make decisions and create conflicts that ultimately would lead to tragedy. And it was their desire to mold themselves into a ‘perfect’ family that led them to their first family tragedy. In 1941 Kennedy allowed surgeons to perform a labotomy on the eldest daughter Rose. It is assumed that she suffered from Manic Depressive/Bi-Polar syndrome. The results left her incapacitated and confined to a home for the physically and mentally challenged for the rest of her life. She died in 2005.
The Next Generation:
From a very early age, eldest son, Joe Kennedy Jr. was groomed to take the reins of the Political family and one day become president. It was always assumed if one of the kennedy boys achieved high office, it would more than likely be Joe. As a result of Joseph Kennedy’s ultimate disappointments and perceived unelectability, all the Kennedy’s Political ambitions and goals would be up to Joe Jr. in helping the Clan rise to National Prominence. But first there was a war to be fought, and like most young men of the time, joining the services was a duty. Joe Jr. Joined the Navy and became a Navy Aviator. He earned his wings as a Naval Aviator in May 1942 and was sent to Britain in September 1943. He piloted land-based PB4Y Liberator patrol bombers on anti-submarine details during two tours of duty in the winter of 1943–1944. Kennedy had completed 25 combat missions and was eligible to return home. He instead volunteered for an Operation Aphrodite mission. The plan called for his plane to be loaded with ammunition and flown into Nazi installations to be used as a loaded bomb. However he was killed August 1944. Reports vary, with most saying his plane blew up midair. But there is one former SS man who claimed Kennedy Parachuted down from the plane and was interrogated and shot.
Karl Heinz Wehn said he was a lieutenant in an antiaircraft unit fighting 11 miles southwest of the French city of Caen when he shot down a plane from which Kennedy parachuted to safety.
But Elliot Roosevelt, the son of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, served in the Army Air Corps and was flying in a reconnaissance aircraft not far from Kennedy`s plane when he saw it blow up.
“If he (Wehn) says he interrogated Joe Kennedy Jr., I think he`s dreaming,“ Roosevelt said in an interview published Monday in the Boston Herald. “(It`s) an absolutely cockamamie story . . . He never was shot down. The plane exploded before it left the English coast.“
It must have been tragic for the family when their eldest and apparent heir to the Kennedy Politician family died in combat. Joe Sr. must have felt that once again, his plans for advancing up the Political ladder were all but gone. Fortunately though he had another son, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, who had watched his older brother being groomed and was very observant and from an early age did everything to emulate his older brothers ways. So John (Jack) became an easy shoe-in to be the one to take the family to the white house.
However, first John needed to come home safely and in one piece. He too had enlisted in the navy and was a lieutenant on a PT boat, PT-109, and he very narrowly lost his life when his boat collided with a Japanese destroyer in the South Pacific Sea. This event would be the beginning of JFK becoming a national hero and becoming a hero.
On the night of August 1st 1943 (almost a year before the death of his older brother) his PT 109 boat was rammed into by Japan’s Amaqiri, a Japanese Destroyer while patrolling along the Solomon Islands near the PT Base at Rendova Island . Two died instantly. The remaining 11 were left in the open waters.
After five hours of clinging to debris from the decimated PT boat, the crew made it to a coral island. It is said Kennedy used his teeth to pull a wounded soldier to shore. Kennedy decided to swim out to sea again, hoping to flag down a passing American boat. None came. Kennedy began to swim back to shore, but strong currents, and his chronic back condition, made his return difficult. Upon reaching the island again, he fell ill. After he recovered, the PT-109 crew swam to a larger island. The believed they were on Nauru but were instead on cross islan. They met up with two natives from the island, who agreed to take a message south. Kennedy carved the distress message into a coconut shell: “Nauru Is. Native knows posit. He can pilot. 11 alive need small boat.”
The message reached Lieutenant Arthur Evans, who was watching the coast of Gomu Island, located next to an island occupied by the Japanese. Kennedy and his crew were paddled to Gomu. A PT boat then took them back to Rendova. Kennedy was ultimately awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, for gallantry in action.
The coconut shell used to deliver his message found a place in history—and in the Oval Office.
JFK Returns to Become The Leader of The Free World
Prior to the war Jack along with his brother attended Harvard University in their hometown of Boston. His father would become ambassador to the Great Britain in 1937 and for Jack’s senior thesis he wrote how the Great Britain was not ready for war against the Nazi Germans. It appears that he was very much influenced by the political views of this father. And his thesis was later published as a book, entitled “Why England Slept”.
Joseph Kennedy convinced him that he should run for Congress in Massachusetts’ eleventh congressional district, where he won in 1946. This was the beginning of Jack’s political career. As the years went on, John F. Kennedy, a Democrat, served three terms (six years) in the House of Representatives, and in 1952 he was elected to the US Senate.
Soon after being elected senator, John F. Kennedy, at 36 years of age, married 24 year-old Jacqueline Bouvier, a writer with the Washington Times-Herald. Camelot was already in its infancy as their wedding became a much publicized event among the high society along the eastern sea board. Unfortunately, early on in their marriage, Senator Kennedy’s back started to hurt again and he had two serious operations. While recovering from surgery, he wrote a book about several US Senators who had risked their careers to fight for the things in which they believed. The book, called Profiles in Courage, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for biography in 1957. That same year, the Kennedys’ first child, Caroline, was born.
In 1956 he was almost picked to run for vice president. Kennedy nonetheless decided that he would run for president in the next election. He began working very long hours and traveling all around the United States on weekends. On July 13, 1960 the Democratic party nominated him as its candidate for president. Kennedy asked Lyndon B. Johnson, a senator from Texas, to run with him as vice president.