As Kennedy entered the glare of the Oval Office, he did so amidsttensions in Southeast Asia and nearby Cuba, as well as the continuing space and arms race with the Soviets.
He suffered a rude awakening in April 1961 when the Bay of Pigs Invasion to overthrow Cubandictator Fidel Castro turned sour. The invasion facilitated Castro's call for more aid from the Soviet Union.
In June, Kennedy tried to solve the problem of the Cuban missiles in October 1962,when they acceded to Kennedy's demand that Soviet nuclear missiles recently installed in Cuba be taken out.
In February 1962, John Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth. Thatprompted Kennedy to pledge that the U.S. would put a man on the moon "before the end of this decade.”
On the foreign relations front, Kennedy created the Peace Corps. The program, which stillexists, encourages Americans to give of their talents in Third-World countries. It made that the volunteers teach the youth and elders about natural conscious and ideas to help the world.
Kennedythen fulfill on his promise to get tough on organized crime by signing three bills into law that targeted the prohibition of telephone betting, interstate transportation for the purposes ofracketeering,* and commercial transportation of betting equipment.
After the missile crisis, Kennedy moved on to make that the civil rights were a priority of his administration. In June 1963, he toldAlabama governor George Wallace to open the doors to the University of Alabama to students, no mattering their color skin.
Also in 1963, Kennedy visited the Berlin Wall, where he delivered hiselectrifying speech containing the following: "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 Berliner.'"