John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy
(May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963)
often referred to by his initials JFK,
was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963.
After Kennedy's military service as commander of the Motor Torpedo Boat PT-109 during World War II in the South Pacific, his aspirations turned political. With the encouragement and grooming of his father, Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., Kennedy represented Massachusetts's 11th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1947 to 1953 as a Democrat, and served in the U.S. Senate from 1953 until 1960. Kennedy defeated then Vice President and Republican candidate Richard Nixon in the 1960 U.S. presidential election, one of the closest in American history. He was the second-youngest President (after Theodore Roosevelt), the first President born in the 20th century, and the youngest elected to the office, at the age of 43. Kennedy is the first and only Catholic president, and is the only president to have won a Pulitzer Prize. Events during his administration include the Bay of Pigs Invasion, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the building of the Berlin Wall, the Space Race, the African American Civil Rights Movement and early events of the Vietnam War.
Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas. Lee Harvey Oswald was charged with the crime but was shot and killed two days later by Jack Ruby before he could be put on trial. The FBI, the Warren Commission, and the House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded that Oswald was the assassin, with the HSCA allowing for the probability of conspiracy based on disputed acoustic evidence. The event proved to be an important moment in U.S. history because of its impact on the nation and the ensuing political repercussions. Today, Kennedy continues to rank highly in public opinion ratings of former U.S. presidents.