John F. Kennedy, often known by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States. He served from January 1961 until his assassination in November 1963. Kennedy's presidency was marked by significant events such as the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Space Race, and the initiation of the [[Vietnam War]], but his time in office was cut short by his tragic death in Dallas, Texas. Born on May 29, 1917, in Brookline, Massachusetts, John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the second of nine children in a wealthy and politically connected Boston family. His father, Joseph P. Kennedy Sr., was a prominent businessman and a leading figure in the Democratic Party. His mother, Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, was a socialite and philanthropist. ## Education and military service Kennedy was educated at a series of elite private schools before attending Harvard University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in government in 1940. After college, Kennedy joined the U.S. Navy and served in the Pacific Theater during the [[World War II Timeline]]. He commanded a series of PT boats and was highly decorated for his service, including receiving the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for his leadership and courage. After the war, Kennedy entered politics, serving in the U.S. [[House of Representatives]] from Massachusetts from 1947 to 1953 and then in the U.S. [[Senate]] from 1953 to 1960. As a senator, Kennedy gained a reputation as a moderate Democrat with a strong interest in foreign policy. He also wrote "Profiles in Courage," a book about U.S. senators who risked their careers for their personal beliefs, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography in 1957. ## 1960 Presidential victory In the 1960 presidential election, Kennedy ran against Vice President [[Richard Nixon]]. The election was one of the closest in U.S. history, but Kennedy won, becoming the youngest man and the first Roman Catholic to be elected president. His inaugural address, in which he urged Americans to "ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country," is one of the most famous speeches in U.S. history. Kennedy's presidency was marked by a series of crises, predominantly relating to the [Cold War]( -- including the Bay of Pigs Invasion, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and increasing tensions in Vietnam. However, it was also a time of significant progress, including the establishment of the Peace Corps, the advancement of the [[civil rights]] Movement, and the commitment to landing a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s during the Space Race. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas. His death shocked the nation and marked a turning point in U.S. history. Despite his short term in office, Kennedy's charisma, inspirational speeches, and vision for a "New Frontier" have made him one of the most admired figures in U.S. history. His life and presidency continue to be extensively studied and debated by historians.