Skip to main content

John F. Kennedy

New evidence reveals that in what became the first modern campaign for President, John Kennedy worked tirelessly for four years to win the White House – much longer than Theodore White and historians had thought.

Charles Overby, founding CEO of the Newseum in Washington, D.C., recently interviewed long-time political reporters for the Boston Globe, Tom Oliphant and Curtis Wilkie, about revelations they uncovered in researching their new book about John F. Read more >>

Forty seven years ago, the president wrote for American Heritage that the study of history is no mere pastime but the means by which a nation establishes its sense of identity and purpose

There is little that is more important for an American citizen to know than the history and traditions of his country. Without such knowledge, he stands uncertain and defenseless before the world, knowing neither where he has come from nor where he is going. Read more >>

Practical rather than idealistic reasons pushed President Kennedy to challenge America to land a man on the moon within the decade

Gazing up at the Texas night sky from his ranch, Senator Lyndon B. Johnson did not know what to make of Sputnik I, the first artificial Earth satellite launched into orbit by a Soviet missile on October 4, 1957. But an aide’s memorandum stoked his political juices. Read more >>

Incriminating new evidence has come to light in KGB files and the authors' interviews of former Cuban intelligence officers that indicates Fidel Castro probably knew in advance of Oswald's intent to kill JFK.

The farthest, coldest outpost of President Kennedy’s New Frontier turned out to be in the Himalayas.

In his kaleidoscopic novel U.S.A., a trilogy published between 1930 and 1936, John Dos Passos offered a descriptive line that has always stayed with me. Read more >>

The least-understood branch of our military was born 60 years ago but today is coming into prominence as never before

The Cuban Missile Crisis as seen from the Kremlin

THE WORLD CAME CLOSE TO A NUCLEAR CLASH THREE times during the half-century of the Cold War. The first was in Korea when China’s intervention snatched imminent victory from General MacArthur. Read more >>

The strangest of all Cold War relics also offers a clue to why we won it

Nikita Khrushchev’s son recalls a world where the United States was the Evil Empire—and Soviet superpower a carefully maintained illusion

A tantalizing archival discovery suggests the perils of historical evidence

Tough, nimble, and pound for pound the most heavily
armed ships in the U.S. Navy, PT boats fought in the very
front line of the greatest sea war in history. But even
today hardly anyone understands what they did.

One night in August 1943 PT-105 was drifting on station in the Solomon Islands—specifically, two miles southeast of Vella Lavella, three miles north of Gizo, and fifteen miles west of Kolombangara, all of which were enemy-occupied. As a matter of fact, other than the PT boat lying close on my port quarter and a couple of coastwatchers hiding out in the hills, there was not a friendly of any sort within fifty miles. My legs ached from hours of standing on a hard, constantly moving, sometimes bouncing deck.   Read more >>

What you don’t remember about the day JFK was shot

It was a series of sounds and images that had monumental impact and will always remain in the minds of those who watched: the bloodstained suit, the child saluting the coffin, the funeral procession to the muffled drums, the riderless horse. Read more >>

Seen in its proper historical context—amid the height of the Cold War—the investigation into Kennedy’s assassination looks much more impressive and its shortcomings much more understandable

In September 1994, after doggedly repeating a white lie for forty-seven years, the Air Force finally admitted the truth about a mysterious 1947 crash in the New Mexico desert. Read more >>

The Johnsons and the Kennedys are popularly thought to have shared a strong mutual dislike, but stacks of letters and a remarkable tape of Jacqueline Kennedy reminiscing show something very different —and more interesting

When Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis died four months ago, magazine and newspaper articles published around the world celebrated the facts of her life. And the fables too, as it turns out. Read more >>

The first American to leave the Earth's atmosphere recalls the momentous flight that put us on a course for the moon.

THE SHRILL RINGING WOKE ME from deep sleep early in the morning of April 12, 1961. I was confused for a moment, but only a moment. I was in my room in the Holiday Inn at Cocoa Beach, Florida. Read more >>

Jack Kennedy came into the White House determined to dismantle his Republican predecessor’s rigid, formal staff organization in favor of a spontaneous, flexible, hands-on management style. Thirty years Bill Clinton seems determined to do the same thing. He would do well to remember that what it got JFK was the Bay of Pigs and the Vietnam War.

In early October of 1963, Rep. Clement Zablocki, a Wisconsin Democrat, led a House Foreign Affairs Committee fact-finding delegation to South Vietnam. Invited to the White House when he returned, Zablocki told President John F. Read more >>
When a rocket lifts off, it lights up the launch area with a brilliant burst of flame and then trails a fiery streak across the sky as it soars toward orbit. But without careful guidance all the pyrotechnics will have been for naught. Read more >>

As I watched the lunar landing on television, my part in the whole scenario took on a new meaning.

It’s hard to believe that an entire generation has reached adulthood since that day twenty-one years ago when the world watched those grainy television images of two American astronauts cavorting on the moon. Read more >>

A year ago we were in the midst of a presidential campaign most memorable for charges by both sides that the opponent was not hard enough, tough enough, masculine enough. That he was, in fact, a sissy. Both sides also admitted this sort of rhetoric was deplorable. But it’s been going on since the beginning of the Republic.

Just before George Bush announced his running mate in 1988, a one-liner going the rounds was that he should choose Jeane Kirkpatrick to add some machismo to the ticket. Read more >>

A routine chore for JFK’s official photographer became the most important assignment of his career. Much of his moving pictorial record appears here for the first time.

It was a typical motorcade. Cecil W. Stoughton had been in many like it. A forty-three-year-old veteran of the Signal Corps, Captain Stoughton had so impressed John F. Read more >>

Despite his feeling that “we are beginning to lose the memory of what a restrained and civil society can be like,” the senior senator from New York—a lifelong student of history—remains an optimist about our system of government and our extraordinary resilience as a people

My father, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, grew up in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen and is now, at fifty-nine, the senior senator from his home state. Read more >>

Thirty years after judging Eisenhower to be among our worst Presidents, historians have now come around to the opinion most of their fellow Americans held right along.

Critics charged that Ike was spineless in his refusal to openly fight Sen. Joseph McCarthy. Read more >>

Here is how political cartoonists have sized up the candidates over a tumultuous half-century.

AMERICANS HAVE BEEN turning out political cartoons since the dawn of the Republic, but in the nineteenth century the drawings tended to be verbose and cluttered, their characters trailing long ribbons of speech balloons as they stumbled ov Read more >>

MATTERS OF FACT

“ASSASSINATION IS NOT an American practice or habit,” wrote Secretary of State William H. Seward on July 15, 1864, “and one so vicious and so desperate cannot be engrafted into our political system. Read more >>

If he’d been the closest companion of the president of IBM, you might happen across his name in a privately printed memoir. But LeMoyne Billings was John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s best friend from Choate to the White House—and that makes him part of history.

CROATE, 1935 Read more >>

A noted historian argues that television, a relative newcomer, has nearly destroyed old—and valuable—political traditions

TELEVISION HAS BEEN accused of many things: vulgarizing tastes; trivializing public affairs; sensationalizing news; corrupting the young; pandering to profits; undermining traditional values. Read more >>

Was the murdered President one of our best, a man of “vigor, rationality, and noble vision” or was he “an optical illusion,” “an expensively programmed waxwork”? A noted historian examines the mottled evolution of his reputation.

The murder of John F. Kennedy twenty years ago last month occasioned an overwhelming sense of grief that may be without parallel in our history. Read more >>