jfk

JFK Issue

Fifty years after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, The Atlantic resurfaces some of its best journalism about the 35th president and his legacy. Read classic articles by Robert F. Kennedy, Eleanor Roosevelt, Walter Lippmann, new pieces by Bill Clinton and Robert Dallek—plus rarely seen images and documents.

Fall 2013

The Man

The Leader

The Nation

  • Associated Press

    JFK’s New Industrial State

    As New England’s textile-mill business and other industries fled to the low-wage South, a freshman senator from Massachusetts suggested a solution.

  • Bob Daughterty / AP

    JFK’s Civil-Rights Problem

    Candidate Kennedy promised a civil-rights bill, but President Kennedy was cautious—overly cautious, critics said—in proposing legislative action.

  • Do Something!

    Action, action, action—that was the new administration's instinct. But six months into Kennedy's term, the success of his agenda still hinged on whether the economy would pick up enough to pay for it.

  • The Baleful Influence of Gambling

    The president's brother came to be considered one of the nation's most effective attorneys general. His interest in organized crime, dating to his Senate staff work during the 1950s, led him to crusade against illegal gambling, which was known to finance criminal enterprises.

  • Those SOBs

    "My father always told me that all businessmen were sons of bitches, but I never believed it until now," President Kennedy famously said when he felt steel executives had double-crossed him by raising prices.

  • Neil Armstrong / NASA / AP

    Why Land on the Moon?

    In 1961, when President Kennedy declared that America would put a man on the moon by the end of the decade, critics complained about the cost. In response, two scientists argued that the endeavor shouldn't be thought of in terms of budgets or even science, but rather in terms of pursuing a "great adventure" on behalf of mankind.

  • Associated Press

    Too Cool for Congress

    Kennedy never worked well with Congress, even while he was a member. Here, a longtime television correspondent examines the cultural roots of JFK's problems on Capitol Hill.

  • Cecil Staughton / White House / John F. ...

    Camelot

    A photo essay

  • The Politics of Poverty

    Kennedy's concern for the plight of the poor never turned into a broad legislative program. But his successor seized on the issue, claiming it was the martyred president's last wish that he do so.

The World

  • Frank C. Curtain/AP

    The Cold War Logic of the Peace Corps

    A former first lady's notion for competing with the Soviets: give young Americans a chance to spend two years in an underdeveloped country, offering help and spreading goodwill toward the West

  • Associated Press

    What Missile Gap?

    In 1960, Kennedy campaigned hard against the Republican negligence that had allowed the Soviet Union to overtake the United States in producing missiles. Once in office, however, JFK learned that there was no missile gap—which gave him an opening to negotiate with Moscow from a position of strength.

  • Associated Press

    The Dawn of Nuclear Diplomacy

    Every president of the postwar era longed for the approval of Walter Lippmann, the voice of the Eastern establishment. Here, Lippmann praised Kennedy for avoiding nuclear war during the Cuban missile crisis.

  • Associated Press

    Did Kennedy Cause the Crisis?

    Conventional wisdom has tended to rank the Cuban missile crisis as the Kennedy presidency's highest drama and grandest success. Drama, yes. But this provocative recounting of the administration's policy toward Castro's Cuba suggests that Kennedy brought the crisis on himself.

  • America Didn’t Sleep

    By shoring up U.S. military strength and resolve, President Kennedy persuaded the Soviet Union to back down in Berlin and Cuba, bringing a measure of peace to a world frightened about the threat of nuclear war.

  • Horst Faas / AP

    How Could Vietnam Happen?

    "Many in government or close to it," The Atlantic noted in 1968, "will read the following article with the shock of recognition." An insider explained the bureaucratic imperatives that muzzled dissenters and kept policy makers ignorant of foreign cultures.

  • The Limits of Power

    In an issue that went to press just before President Kennedy's death, The Atlantic described how JFK's difficulties in influencing events had brought gloom to the White House.

The Assassination

The Legacy

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