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John Fitzgerald Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963), commonly known as Jack Kennedy or by his initials JFK, was an American politician who served as the 35th President of the United States from January 1961 until his assassination in November 1963. Notable events that occurred during his presidency included the Bay of Pigs Invasion, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, Police Week, the establishment of the Peace Corps, the Space Race—by initiating Project Apollo (which later culminated in the moon landings), the building of the Berlin Wall, the African-American Civil Rights Movement, and the increased U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.
After military service as commander of Motor Torpedo Boats PT-109 and PT-59 during World War II in the South Pacific, Kennedy represented Massachusetts's 11th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1947 to 1953 as a Democrat. Thereafter, he served in the U.S. Senate from that state from 1953 until 1960. Kennedy defeated Vice President and Republican candidate Richard Nixon in the 1960 U.S. Presidential Election. At age 43, he was the youngest man to have been elected to the office,[a] the second-youngest president (after Theodore Roosevelt, who was 42 when he became president after the assassination of William McKinley). Kennedy was the first person born in the 20th century to serve as president. To date, Kennedy has been the only Roman Catholic president and the only president to have won a Pulitzer Prize.
Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963. Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested that afternoon and charged with the crime that night. Jack Ruby shot and killed Oswald two days later, before Oswald could be prosecuted. The FBI and the Warren Commission officially concluded that Oswald was the lone assassin. The United States House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) agreed with the conclusion that Oswald fired the shots that killed the president, but also concluded that Kennedy was probably assassinated as the result of a conspiracy.
Since the 1960s, information concerning Kennedy's private life has come to light. Details of Kennedy's health problems with which he struggled have become better known, especially since the 1990s. Although initially kept secret from the general public, reports of Kennedy being unfaithful in marriage have garnered much press. Kennedy ranks highly in public opinion ratings of U.S. presidents but there is a gap between his public reputation and his reputation among academics.