50 Years JFK Assassination

Blog overview

In the days leading up to the fiftieth anniversary of this historic event, we published a series of blog posts by renowned Dutch and American academics, writers, journalists and thinkers on what JFK had meant to them.


By Barbara Kellerman

The nation is awash right now in tributes marking the 50th anniversary of the death of John Kennedy. Some are focused on the man himself, others on his presidency, and still others on his assassination. The half century mark marks a moment to dream of the man who would be king, to reassess his short …...

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The Kennedy Brand

By Eelco Bosch van Rosenthal

Thirteen years after, I was born, in 1976. The myth was then already debunked, and thus the Kennedy saga unfolded to me in a different order than to the generation of my parents: not the dream first and then the wake-up call, but vice versa. The Kennedy I got to know was a wandering opportunist …...

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The Fall

By James Kennedy

I was born on the last summer day of John F. Kennedy’s presidency, at least as Americans might count it. I was born on Labor Day Monday 1963, a holiday that marks the end of summer with family get-togethers. That’s how the other Kennedys – no relations of mine – spent their own Labor Day …...

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A Legacy through Television

By Ruth Oldenziel

The image of JFK’s shooting is like a hall of mirrors. You can’t trust anything you see through the layers of mythmaking about the man, his presidency, his assassination. True, much of his legacy has been revised by historians (on Cuba, Vietnam, civil rights), but one piece of it remains largely undisputed. From the election …...

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JFK’s Pool

By Twan Huys

Each correspondent in WashingtonDC is surprised by the weird little space that passes for the Briefing Room, the press room at the White House. Here, the President or his spokesman is questioned about wars, revolutions, legislative issues or sexual escapes with trainees. Few people know that this claustrophobic space served an entirely different purpose forty …...

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The Day the Sixties Started

By Frans Verhagen

I used to think of the inauguration of John F. Kennedy as a major turning point. The speech, this young man with no overcoat, his clear voice and his inspiring rhetoric, the glamor of Jackie: it had all the appearance of a new era. That is how it probably felt in 1961. I was too …...

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Is Obama the JFK of our time?

By Bertine Moenaff

I was born twenty years after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, so I can’t really tell what impact the death of this iconic American President had on me personally. But an icon he was. Listening to Dutch people remembering JFK in Coen Verbraak’s documentary ‘De Dag dat Kennedy werd vermoord’ (The Day Kennedy was …...

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The Memory of a Little Boy

By Russell Shorto

I “remember” very well where I was when JFK was assassinated. The quotation marks, of course, mean that I have no idea whether it is in fact a memory or an image that my mind created after the fact. I was with my mother shopping in the local department store in Pennsylvania. We had just …...

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A Comparison with Leaders in the 21st Century

By Marc Chavannes

It was in the days before the cellphone. Somehow the news percolated into our science class at high school. President Kennedy had been fatally shot. We were pretty well versed in the ballistics of William Tell’s experiment with the apple, but this morning doom descended – with no other than a vertical path.Foreign leaders don’t …...

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