John Fitzgerald Kennedy (19171963), often referred to as John F. Kennedy, JFK or Jack Kennedy, was the 35th President of the United States. He served from 1961 until his assassination in 1963. A member of the politically prominent Irish-American Kennedy family, he is considered an icon of American liberalism. During World War II, he was cited for exceptional bravery and heroism while rescuing a fellow sailor in the South Pacific. Kennedy represented Massachusetts during 19471960, as both a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. He was elected President in 1960 in one of the closest elections in American history.

Major events during his presidency included the Bay of Pigs invasion, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the building of the Berlin Wall, the Space Race, early events of the Vietnam War, and the American Civil Rights Movement. In academic rankings of U.S. presidents, scholars usually grade Kennedy above average, but among general public polls he is often regarded as among the greatest Presidents. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963. Official investigations later determined Lee Harvey Oswald to be the culprit. His assassination is considered a defining moment in U.S. history due to its traumatic impact on the nation, its impact on the political history of the ensuing decades, his subsequent branding as an icon for a new generation of Americans and American aspirations, and for the mystery and conspiracy allegations that surround it.