How intelligent was John F. Kennedy

 

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What is certain is that Sorensen was and remained Kennedy's most important advisor. JFK had enough yes-men around them, writes Robert Dallek in his biography - the liberal lawyer was the necessary critical spirit. And he was considered a brilliant formulator.

Sorensen was also instrumental in Kennedy's book Profiles in courage involved, that portrait of courageous senators who dared to risk their position for unpopular beliefs. Profiles in Corage , under this name a prize for moral courage is awarded to this day in memory of Kennedy.

Which, according to his critics, he himself did not always have. He had become a hero during World War II and was celebrated as such on the front pages of the newspapers. After the boat on which he was in command was hit, he and his people saved themselves in an adventurous operation.

For five hours he swam through the dark water, dragging a badly burned comrade with the rope in his mouth. But in the 1950s he avoided a vote on the machinations of fanatical communist hunter Joseph McCarthy, a family friend, by calling in sick.

Above all, the staunch Democrat and former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt resented him. She was against Kennedy's candidacy and only campaigned for him after his nomination in an election spot. Above all, she referred to its important role for the civil rights movement. In fact, besides the women, it was mainly the blacks who helped him to win: 70 percent gave him his vote. The abolition of discrimination was also on his agenda, already as a senator, as was social housing and a fairer immigration policy.

Kennedy's grandfathers had already been in politics, one sitting in the Massachusetts Senate, the other, John Francis "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald, after whom John F. was named, ruled as mayor of Boston. Father Joseph, who had supported President Roosevelt, was sent as an ambassador to London as a reward in the 1930s. That was the icing on the cake: the descendants of poor Irish Catholic immigrants, who never quite belonged in Protestant America (religion was JFK's greatest handicap in the election campaign), were now part of high society. JFK drank tea with Princess Elisabeth, while his sister Kathleen married an aspiring English duke.

However, Kennedy Sr. was quickly dismissed when he supported the appeasement policy of Great Britain and didn't think Hitler and his hunt for Jews were all that bad. Why wage war with Germany ?!

And yet the great politics of JFK was not born in the cradle. He was just the deputy. In fact, his big brother Joe was chosen by the family to be the first Catholic to move into the White House. But Joe Jr., the eternal and eternally more powerful, brutal rival in childhood, had died in World War II. So it was the turn of the second oldest.