“Inauguration Address” January 20, 1961; Washington, D.C.
Young, handsome, with a glamorous family in tow, John F. Kennedy embodied the fresh optimism
that had marked the post-war decade. On January 20, 1961, Kennedy took the oath of office as the 35th President of the United States. The youngest
president in United States history, he was the first man born in the 20th century to hold that office. Listening to his inaugural address, the nation
felt that a new era and a “new frontier” were being ushered in.
Can we forge against these enemies a grand and global alliance, North and South, East and West, that can assure a more fruitful life for all
mankind? Will you join in that historic effort?
In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not
shrink from this responsibility — I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation.
The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it — and the glow from that fire can
truly light the world.
And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.
My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.
“The Decision to Go to the Moon” May 25, 1961; Houston, TX
On April 12, 1961, the Soviets launched the first man into space. Khrushchev used this triumph as prime evidence of communism’s superiority over
decadent capitalism. Embarrassed, the United States feared it was falling behind the Soviet Union and losing the “space race.” After consulting
with political and NASA officials, Kennedy decided it was time for America to boldly go where no man had gone before by putting a man on the moon. The
feat would not only catapult the nation over the Soviet Union, but also allow man to more fully explore the mysteries of space. And this mission would
be accomplished by the end of the 1960’s. When was the last time a president had the cajones to publicly issue a straightforward, ambitious goal and
set a timeline for its success?
There is no strife, no prejudice, no national conflict in outer space as yet. Its hazards are hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of
all mankind, and its opportunity for peaceful cooperation many never come again. But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they
may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?
We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard,
because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept,
one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.
In June of 1963, President John F. Kennedy embarked on a visit to five Western European nations for the purpose of spreading good will and building
unity among America's allies.
His first stop was Germany, a nation that less than 20 years before had been engaged in a quest for world conquest under the dictatorship of Hitler.
Following Germany's defeat in the Second World War, the country had been divided in half, with East Germany under Soviet control and West Germany
becoming a democratic nation.
East-West Germany soon became the focus of growing political tensions between the two new superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union. Berlin,
former capital of Hitler's Reich, became the political hot spot in this new 'cold' war. Although the city was located in East Germany, Berlin
itself was divided, with East Berlin under Soviet control and West Berlin under American, English and French jurisdiction.
In 1961, East German authorities began construction of a 12 foot high wall which would eventually stretch for 100 miles around the perimeter of West
Berlin, preventing anyone from crossing to the West and to freedom. (Nearly 200 persons would be killed trying to pass over or dig under the wall.)
President Kennedy arrived in Berlin on June 26, 1963, following appearances in Bonn, Cologne and Frankfurt, where he had given speeches to huge,
wildly cheering crowds. In Berlin, an immense crowd gathered in the Rudolph Wilde Platz near the Berlin Wall to listen to the President who delivered
this memorable speech above all the noise, concluding with the now famous ending.
Freedom is indivisible, and when one man is enslaved, all are not free. When all are free, then we can look forward to that day when this city will
be joined as one and this country and this great Continent of Europe in a peaceful and hopeful globe. When that day finally comes, as it will, the
people of West Berlin can take sober satisfaction in the fact that they were in the front lines for almost two decades.
All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, and, therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words "Ich bin ein
"Secret Societies" Waldorf-Astoria Hotel
New York City, April 27, 1961
In just a little over 5 minutes, JFK tells the world of a vaste conspiracy to infiltrate and abuse government powers for the personal profit of
individuals and/or corporations. This address is also known as 'The speech that got Kennedy killed'.
I believe his "shadow government" speech did cause his assassination. He is the only president to have spoken openly about this topic, in a public
forum. I wonder if the general public at the time had any inkling of what he was speaking of. I wonder if a president in this time period could do
the same and have the public understand what is really going on. Or are there too many still asleep, even now?
Yes, a truly great man. Amazing speeches, thanks for putting them all in one place for us.
I agree with Orion too, he divulged too much information and paid with his life. If I could travel back in time I'd love to go and listen to one of
his speeches, him, Martin Luther King, and (now I won't be popular for saying this) but Hitler too.
I say that purely from appreciating a great orator, I mean think about it, this guy brainwashed a nation into committing unspeakable acts, he was an
amazing orator. But after listening I'd probably try and put a bullet in him!
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