Forever enshrined in myth by an assassin's bullet, Kennedy's presidency long defied objective appraisal. Recent assessments have revealed an administration long on promise and vigour, and somewhat lacking in tangible accomplishment. His proposals for a tax cut and civil rights legislation, however, promised significant gains in the months before his assassination. While maturation, as evidenced in the handling of the Cuban missile crisis, was apparent, the potential legacy of the New Frontier will forever be left to speculation. PART 1 John Fitzgerald Kennedy is one of nine children born to one of the wealthiest men in America. Unlike his robust siblings, he is haunted by a mysterious illness. Finally diagnosed with AddisonGÇÖs disease, he will spend his life in and out of hospitals and in constant pain. Jack Kennedy first bursts onto the national stage as a war hero through his courageous rescue of his PT-109 crewmen. When his older brother, Joe Jr., is killed in the line of duty in 1944, the familyGÇÖs political hopes shift to Jack. PART 2 Despite the odds, he wins his Grandfather FitzgeraldGÇÖs old Massachusetts congressional seat. From that point on, Kennedy rises in power and influence, unseating Senator Henry Cabot Lodge in a surprising victory and then put forward as a possible vice presidential candidate in 1956. His campaign for president is the first to be waged on television, a distinct advantage for the telegenic candidate. Despite his lack of legislative achievements and his Catholicism GÇö which many Americans see as a negative GÇö Kennedy wins the election on the promise that he will stand up to the Soviets and protect American pre-eminence in the world. PART 3 In 1961, the most challenging issue facing the new administration is the spread of communism and continuing Cold War fears. Only a few months into his first term, Kennedy launches the Bay of Pigs invasion, an unmitigated disaster that teaches him a powerful lesson. Nikita Khrushchev proves a stubborn foe, and Kennedy takes a stand against the spread of communism in a country few Americans had ever heard ofGÇöVietnam. Kennedy faces Khrushchev again in the Cuban Missile Crisis, ignited when Soviet warheads are spotted in Cuba. Negotiating his way out of the crisis proves to be one of KennedyGÇÖs finest hours, and he spends the rest of his term working for nuclear disarmament. Health issues continue to plague the president and pain is a constant companion. Glamorous first lady Jackie captivates the world on her travels, while rumours of the presidentGÇÖs womanizing continue in Washington. PART 4 On the domestic front, civil rights prove tricky for the administration, as they rely heavily on the support of Southern Democrats. Forced to intervene when Freedom Riders take direct action in Southern states, the administration sends in federal marshals to ensure their safety. But it is only later, when Governor George Wallace of Alabama refuses to allow African-American students in the state university, that Kennedy brings the issue to the nation, calling for the passage of a civil rights act. Looking ahead to the next election, Kennedy knows he must win Texas to have a second term. So he takes a fateful trip to Dallas, with Jackie accompanying him on her first domestic trip. It is there that an assassinGÇÖs bullet ends his life, forever enshrining him in myth.
In memoriam of the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's assassination.