John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) was the 35th president of the United States. Elected in 1960 at the age of 43, he became the youngest person ever to be voted into the White House. Kennedy served from 1961 until his assassination in November 1963. To this day, many Americans remember Kennedy as an idealistic champion of freedom at home and abroad, despite the fact that his policies on civil rights, Vietnam, and Cuba sometimes failed to live up to his soaring rhetoric.
During his years as president, Kennedy tripled the amount of American economic and military aid to the South Vietnamese and increased the number of U.S. military advisors in Indochina. He refused to withdraw from the escalating conflict in Vietnam because, he said, "to withdraw from that effort would mean a collapse not only of South Vietnam, but Southeast Asia. So we are going to stay there." Some historians allege that just weeks before Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, he supported a military coup that overthrew and murdered South Vietnam's president Ngo Dinh Diem.