The Influence of Europe on the Young JFK

Nigel Hamilton
1993 New England Journal of Public Policy   unpublished
Joe Jr. His first trip to Europe was intended to take place in 1933, when JFK was sixteen, along with his brother and his parents, who were going to "meet important people of Europe -Mussolini, etc." 13 However, he'd been so badly behaved at his boarding schoolhe was eventually expelled 14that the school advised against the idea, and it was not until the autumn of 1935, at the age of eighteen, that JFK finally set foot on European soilnot Plymouth, England, as planned, but terra firma at
more » ... rra firma at Calais, France, the great transatlantic liner, the S.S. Normandie, having been blown off course by a gale. Taking the ferry to Dover, JFK found "the Channel was the roughest of the year," as he described it to a school friend. "We sat out and soon private mansion, with seventy rooms, twenty-five miles outside London to avoid the fate of the capital. 33 There, for the next year, he quaked in fear of German bombs 34 and predicted disaster, 35 attempted to make secret deals with the Nazis, 36 and became America's most cowardly and self-serving ambassador of the twentieth century. 37 Joseph P. Kennedy's lack of moral fiber and profound pessimism 38 were not only a dark chapter in American international relations, but were bound to rub off on his childrenand, to JFK's later shame and embarrassment, they did. In October 1939, after the fall of Poland, JFK wrote an editorial for the Harvard University newspaper, the Crimson, abjectly recommending that the United States president, through his ambassador to Britain, organize a new Munich-style peace conference. JFK's editorial was titled, ominously, Peace in Our Time. 39
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