tv American Dynasties The Kennedys CNN March 25, 2018 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT
thoughts and insights. i the premier of another episode of "the kennedys" coming up next. and beginning right now, a new episode of "american dynasties." have a great night. just over 100 years after his family first set foot in the country john f. kennedy becomes the of the united states of america. the kennedys have achieved their dream. but in his first year in the white house, jfk learned winning power is one thick. wielding it is another. engulfed by vionce at home and conflict around the world, he
the day of the inauguration was very cold. we were on the structure where all the press were. treezing cold. but it was a moment of great pride for our family. >> john kennedy is making history. he's about to be sworn in as president. >> jfk arrived when he became president. what a big satisfaction and relief for the family. >> they believe d in trying new things, seeing new worlds, and believing in the promise of america in a way that had had not been said or thought of
previously. >> for the family having a kennedy in the white house it's the inauguration of their ambition. >> jack is cheered on by his family. the president's brothers, his sisters, his mother rose, his wife and the patriarch himself, joseph p. kennedy. >> joe kennedy, who had been behind the scenes strategists stood out and doffed his top hat to kennedy. >> it was a great moment that showed his paternal pride. >> let every nation know whether
it wishes us well or ill that we shall pay any price to assure the survival ask. success of liberty. so, my fellow americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. >> this was just a sense that we could see a different world. the torch is passed to a new generation who were focused on what the future would bring. >> invitations to the inaugural secelebrations are the hottest tickets in town. the stars come out in full force for jfk. tony curtis, janet lee, gene kelly and frank zi gnsinatra.
>> they understood performance. they understood style. the ken b day administration was the rat pack '60s. >> jackie actually appeared in a white gown that she had designed to set her apart. it was a very tight sheathe in comparison to the women in these big skirted gowns. >> here comes the kennedys. mother of the president of the united states. >> on the road to the white house, rose kennedy has campaigned tirelessly to get her son elected. >> this must be the proudest day of your life. >> it's important to keep in mind that rose kennedy evidently had die nastic ambitions for the family. this is not just the story of joseph p. kennedy prominent pushing father. this is a joint effort on the part of both joseph p. kennedy
and rose. >> have you had a chance to sit back and realize? >> no, no, i don't think so. going to take a little while i think. >> they joined in the family's triumph. bobby had been jack's campaign manager and their father is is adamant he's handed an important role in the new administration. >> joe kennedy let jack choose his cabinet with one exception. joe insisted that the next attorney general be robert kennedy. >> one cold december morning, the president gets pob by kennedy up at his house in georgetown and tells him he's going to be appointing him as attorney general and he says, bobby, grab your balls, let's go. >> jfk stops at the door and says, hey, comb your hair.
>> bobby for most of his career a senate investigator is announced to the world as the new head of america's criminal justice system. >> in look iing for an attorney general, he must need to fight for law enforcement r, must administer laws without favor and with integrity. i have turned to a man in whom i have found these qualities. >> there was an act of outrageous brazen nepotism. >> bobby, who had never try ued a case in a court of law, may have been an american history the least prepared person to be attorney general. >> i'm pleased to accept the position of the attorney generalship of the united states. i understand and realize the great problems and difficulties that will be facing all of us in
that position. >> what was really kind of stunning at the time, near ly a peep of objection. the press went completely along with it. >> bobby didn't want to be attorney general. jack didn't want his brother to be attorney general. nobody thought it was ga good idea. but joe insisted. joe knew that jack new kom er t the presidency needed someone to watch his back. someone to protect him. he knew that the responsibilities that were now going to be put on his son's shoulders were absolutely enormous. ♪
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country is really swept away in a way the country has swept before by anybody in office. jack is at the forefront and brings with him his beautiful wife and amazing family. >> the kennedys have two young children. 3-year-old caroline and baby john jr. >> no one could remember seeing children in the white house. there are suddenly play things around there, animals, toys
strewn on the floor. it's a beautiful and welcoming image. >> if it's not presumption what about your role of mother and wife? >> if you don't do that well, you fail your husband and children, that's the role that means the most to me. >> she was gutsy. i mean, she's really bruyoung. she's 31 or something. so young. it has been more difficult to fulfill this role. >> since we have been in the white house? >> yes. >> no, my husband loves a challenge. and i do too. he set me a good example. so let's hope it works out. >> the approaches his door with some trepidation. >> the kennedy sisters find
themselves in a more formal relationship with brother jack. >> the president autographs pictures for his sisters and their children. >> i've been signing autographs for the family. the president finds it hard not to be presidential. >> joe kennedy, the brains and money behind his son's campaign, retreats to the family homes in florida. joe kennedy knew he had to be very careful not to rain on his son's parade. he decided very early on that he was not going to visit the white house. he was not going to appear in public with his son. he didn't want anybody to think
that jack kennedy was not his own man. >> jack knows that traditionally american presidents are judged by their first 100 days. >> jack kennedy saw himself as b ab historic figure. e he saw himself as somebody who could lead the country into a new golden age. now, it was a golden age tinged by shadow because 1961 was the height or the depth of the cold war. >> america and the soviet union are locked in a titanic ideological struggle. the u.s. is terrified of the spread of communism as it reaches the nation's backyard. cuba is under the control of the fiery revolutionary fidel castro. >> he was not only a communist, but he was going to align himself with the soviet union on
an island 90 days from the coast of florida. >> the moment jack becomes president, the cia present him with their plan to bring down the cuban leader. >> the bay of pigs was a plot that was hashed during the eisenhower administration. the idea was to train some cuban exiles to invade cuba. on the assumption that on their arrival, there would be a popular uprising and fidel castro would be thrown out. >> kennedy was suspicious about the viability of this plan and the wisdom of this plan up until essentially the last moment. reluctantly, jack gives the go ahead for the operation with one crucial condition. >> he did not want it to be clear that the united states was supporting this. he wanted it to be a quiet invasion. >> it turns out to be an unmitigated disaster. early morning hours, kennedy is
pull wad from a swar ray at the white house. the president in white tie at 2:00 in the morning is is meeting with his generals. the cuban exiles wering with attacked by tanks. they were going to been driven into the sea. >> back in washington the u.s. navy and the director saying let us invade cuba. the cia had the notion president kennedy would send in the mar e marines and come to the rescue. but that's not what happens. kennedy says this was supposed to be a covert operation in which u.s. hand did not show. we are not going to invade cuba and attack cuba ourselves to salvage this operation. >> over 100 cuban exiles are killed and more than a thousand are taken prisoner.
>> in the end, the united states is revealed to be completely behind this invasion. >> as castro boasts to the world about his victory, america is humiliated. >> kennedy was so overought he began to cry. >> jackie had never seen her husband as distraught, as depressed. he believed his presidency was over before it even started because of this tragedy. >> at one point in the depths of his despair, he and bobby were together, and bobby said let call dad. maybe he can cheer us up. >> joe kennedy may not be in washington, but he remains a trusted adviser to his son. >> if you look at the records of kennedy's calls during the days of the bay of pigs fiasco, you
will see how many times he called his father. joe kennedy never trusted the intelligence services and he had warned jack about the cia. >> the bay of pigs shook kennedy's confidence in his advisers. it even shook his confidence in himself. but what it also did was it strengthened his conviction that he had to rely more on those he trusted most. the members of his family.
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comparable bundle, for less. call today. i believe this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal before this decade is out of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. >> it set our sights up high. and when you look up, you think of something more than yourself. it's just terrific. >> in may 1961 jfk announces to the world an extraordinarily
ambitious project. >> now it is time to take longer strides. time for a great new american enterprise. >> the soviets have already put the first man into space and. after the bay of pigs fiasco, jack cannot afford for america to be left behind. >> the united states was engaged in the space race with the russians. we weren't trying to just beat the soviets militarily. we were trying to beat them to new frontiers. >> this was the kennedy approach to life, which is win at all costs. it is not good thenough to comen second. that's what they were told by their father from the time they were little children. >> as jack projects the superiority of his country around the world, back at home a desperate struggle for civil rights is tearing america apart. >> if you are african-american in the united states in the '60s, you're not living in a democracy. you're living under an apartheid
dictatorship based on race. >> we're still seeing intense violence, lynching is still the reality. >> if you were black, you. couldn't vote. you b couldn't buy property. you couldn't go certain places. >> it does not allow us to serve negros in here. >> jfk is looking at the moon and the stars, you see real hypocrisy and contradiction. >> how can the united states be a democracy if its citizens are killing or hurting or hospitalizing its other citizens. >> in the spring of 1961, john f. kennedy and his brother robert didn't care that much about civil rights. jack and bobby kennedy grew up rich and privileged. they never saw any african-americans other than those who waited on tables. >> so they didn't get just
terrible, terrible prjs prejudice of southern whites against blacks. >> they were worried about russia. they were worried about the cold war. about the big game. s they sought. they were afraid that the civil rights struggle would somehow distract or deflect from the main event. >> many are saying enough is enough. they want the president to take action against the brutal oppression that so many african-americans are forced to endure. >> in the south, blacks could not ride on the same buss or at least at the front of the bus with whites. >> so in late may of 1961, there were these young black and white students who decided that they were going to integrate the interstate bus system in america. they call themselves the freedom riders. >> they are going to challenge deg degree gags in the south by
riding through the most dangerous areas. >> passengers on one bus were attacked at the bus station. another bus by a flat tire was set afire. >> it put the savagery and it puts the brutality on television, it puts this massive resistance on display, not just across the country, but across the world. >> the dwo nor of alabama john patterson said citizens of the state are so enraged i cannot guarantee protection for this bunch of rebel rousers. >> the whole world is watching. the violence could undermine president kennedy's authority. >> jfk says get them off the buss. stop them from demonstrating. >> jack does not want to back. the protesters. supporting civil rights would make him very unpopular with southern democrats. >> let's not forget the south is solidly democratic. so a big part of the power base
for the kennedys rests in the south. >> in a desperate attempt to diffuse the situation, bobby makes a call. >> bobby tried to convince the freedom riders they should hold down for a bit and not embarrass the president. the wonderful response of the young civil rights leaders is we have been slowing down for 50 years and we're going to keep going. >> civil rights leader dr. martin luther king jr. arrives in montgomery, alabama, to join the assembly. the church is soon surrounded by an angry mob of 3,000 southern whites. >> there's a risk they are going to burn the church down. and king calls the attorney general in washington and says i need your help. >> hundreds of lives are in danger. bobby realizes he has to act. >> the issue of civil rights, there's no middle ground.
you're either for civil rights or you're against civil rights. >> the attorney general couldn't very well let all these people die. that would have been an immense tragedy. bobby knew whe had to protect them. it was really a question of doing the right thing, politics be damned. >> bobby sends in a federal force to protect the lives of martin luther king jr. and the lives of the freedom riders. >> this was what the civil rights movement meant to him. >> bobby kennedy has to be educated. he doesn't come to the civil rights struggle with anything much different than any other wealthy white man of privilege would. but after the freedom riders, bobby went from wanting to have nothing to do with the civil rights movement to feeling he had to play a role. >> i think it was going to have to say something to our responsibilities. this is 1891961.
this is not 1861. we're going to have to continue to make progress. >> for jack, the freedom riders protest could not have come at a worse time. all eyes are on him as he heads to europe and his first face to face summit with the leader of the soviet union. >> john kennedy wanted to show the world that he was a statesman. but ken difs walking into an ambush. and he had no idea. allergies with sinus congestion and pressure? you won't find relief here. go to the pharmacy counter for powerful claritin-d. while the leading allergy spray relieves 6 symptoms... claritin-d relieves 8, including sinus congestion and pressure. claritin-d relieves more.
i returned this morning from a week-long trip to europe. it was, in every sense, an unforgettable experience. >> the kennedys first international tour is their chance to present themselves on the world stage. in paris, however, jack kennedy is not the main attraction. >> that really was the moment when jackie kennedy became a genuine star. because she was so beautiful and because she was so young a, the primary interest for the media was jackie kennedy. she spoke fluent french and yet you can see him just melting. >> thousands of people lined the
street s s to see jackie. she was the first really glamorous american first lady they had ever seen. >> she wore american couture in the united states, but when in paris, she just knew how to present herself to make the most of her personality, her beauty, her fashion. >> we had never seen a first lady in the tv age become the story herself. >> she made an enormous impact. and jack recognized this was greatly to his advantage. >> i do not think it altogether inappropriate to introduce myself to this audience. i am the man who accompanied jacqueline kennedy to paris, and i have enjoyed it. >> paris is a triumph for the kennedys. but their next stop is is the real test for the young
president. for the first time he meets with the leader of the soviet union. >> the world is nervous about nuclear war in 1961, and they welce a smit meeting between the head of the soviet union and president kennedy. >> what kennedy wanted to do was to show the world i can find common language with this man. we can do business. >> an historic state dinner brings mr. and mrs. kennedy together. >> during two days of talks, jack launches a charm offensive spear headed by the first lady. >> they had a lovely banquet. jackie did what she could to charm him. >> physically enjoyed the evening with the glamorous american first lady and even insisted on shaking her hand before her husband's. >> there's another kennedy
dining with the kir chofs that night. >> john f. kennedy didn't want his mother to go. he didn't want a huge delegation going to europe, but his mom insisted. his mother loved the limemeligh. she liked being around people with power. >> away from the banquets and the cameras, jack has a serious mission in vienna. both sides have enough missiles to destroy the entire world, so kennedy decides to make a deal. >> john kennedy was deeply concerned about nuclear danger. >> since the bay of pigs, jack no longer has full confidence in his own advisers. >> the kennedys always liked to operate on more than one track. they always liked to do things privately through the family. and jack always used bobby as a
secret messenger to his friends and to his foes. >> in washington bobby has gone so far as to hold secret meetings with the russian spy to open a back channel between the president and crust chef. >> things like that had never gone on before. kennedy had taken risks by having bobby set up this back channel. he was hopeful that the soviets would respond. >> bobby, through the russian spy, had been led to believe that he was ready to talk about nuclear arms. as it turned out, he wasn't the least bit interested. >> he has only one agenda, berlin. divided by the russians in the west after world war ii, people are flooding through soviet-controlled east berlin to escape communism. it's a major source of embarrassment.
>>. people are fleeing the eastern part into the west and he wants to stop that flood of refugees. >> in vienna they went off into their meeting, which was five hours long, and a complete disaster. >> the soviet leader makes an impossible demand. he wants kennedy to surrender the western sector of berlin. >> he just bullies kennedy. there was nothing ken b day cold say to him except i give up on west berlin that would have made him happy. he was determined to put kennedy's feet to the fire. >> despite his best efforts, jack is humiliated. he leaves the summit having achieved nothing. >> kennedy's first meetings with generals after vienna was no spin. he was dejected. he didn't hide it. >> i will tell you now it was a sober two days. no spectacular progress was
achieved or pretended. >> two months later, they built the berlin wall, sealed off east berlin. >> he tested powerful nuclear weapons and shatters kennedy's hopes of e slowing down the arms race. >> kennedy learned the soviets were not as committed as he was to avoiding war. and that the world was in a very dangerous place. it's the volkswagen "smile, it's spring" sales event, where you will find great deals on award-winning suvs, that are sure to make you smile. with over 40 standard features and with america's best bumper-to-bumper transferable limited warranty. during the volkswagen spring sales event you can't help, but smile. do you know them? uh-uh. do you know them? uh-uh.
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destroyed. he retreats to the family compound. >> it was sanctuary for the kennedys. it was a safe haven. despite everything that was going on, when they got together at the compound, all of that was forgotten. >> jack finds solace in his ever growing extended family. in addition to his own children, john jr. and caroline, his
brothers and sisters have 17 children between them. >> when the helicopter landed, they would take us for a ride on the golf cart with all the cousins. there were parties every night. there was always something going on. >> i think it's those moments that really kept them sane and focused on who they were and what their mission was. especially their political goals. because a lot of politics talk was going on this. it was the center of all power. >> the kennedys may have power, but jack is frustrated by how difficult it is to achieve real progress. he needs his brother now more than ever. >> bobby became chief law enforcement guy, he became his chief foreign policy adviser, he
became his chief political aid and he became the closest thing that we have and we ever will see to a co-president. >> it seems amazing to this day to have these two brothers who were basically running the country together. >> there's one battle that bobby kennedy is determined to fight on his own. taking on the mafia. >> the mafia was really huge in this country. there was a stronghold of mobster influence on politics and on entertainment and government. >> they were very powerful. they were politically connected, and when you investigated them, who would you run into? you' run into an elected official. >> this is robert and that building across the street there is the u.s. department of justice. >> since the 1950s, bobby has been rooting out corruption in the mob infiltrated labor unions. >> the attorney general seldom
leaves the office before 8:00 at night. >> as attorney general, he's determined to wage the big. est war on the mafia in american history. >> e we need action. >> bobby kennedy had this adjective and it was the word ruthless. bobby learned to joe's great delight how to be a tough guy from papa joe. >> you have a reputation for the toughness for being the fighter. we heard your father stirred competition in the family. >> i growing up in any family, you're always competing with one another. >> joe believes making such dangerous enemies could ruin the kennedy presidency. >> he said democrats don't go after labor leaders, no matter how corrupt they might be. not only will you destroy your future, but you'll destroy your
brother's future. >> bobby was a stern moralist and a tough guy u. there's also kind of a rebellious streak in him. he was willing to defy parental authority to go after the mob. >> this was personal. he felt these people were animals. and he wanted personally to destroy them. >> there's one mobster in particular whom bobby is obsessed with bringing to justice. sam goacano is the most powerful mobster boss in the united states. he was vicious, he liked to kill people for sport. he was exactly the sort of villain that bobby can kennedy would want to take on. when bobby took him on in a senate hearing in the 1950s, the fan was in the fire. that was a confrontation that was never going to go away. >> so the fbi detail in chicago
begins harassing sam and his top lieutenants. >> they follow him everywhere. wiretapping his girlfriends, even on to the golf course. >> were we afraid, no. as a matter of fact, we were pushed very hard by robert kennedy to do everything we could. he was a great guy, if you were his friend. i would not have wanted to be his enemy. >> bobby's investigations maybe hitting too close to home. >> this guy waskennedy, and he co-investor in a lodge casino he and joe kennedy had bought co o condos in the hotel vicinity. >> wire. tapped by the fbi, he makes a shocking allegation about joe kennedy. >> on the fbi tapes, you can hear him bragging that he has a deal with joe kennedy, with the patriarch. he thinks that he helped jfk get
elect ed by arranging for him t get some votes in chicago. is this the sins of the father home to roost? >> there's no. >> i think they're mobsters, gangsters talking. i don't think there's any truth to it. >> the truth is the kennedys did not need giancana to win. but he feels afraid when the kennedys turned against him. >> giancana felt double crossed, was threatening murder and revenge. >> but there's a greater danger than the mob or the perils of the cold war that would threaten the kennedy dynasty. >> they have had tragedy in their lives, but this feels different. it's going to change everything.
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>> he was an essential support for jack kennedy, who spoke to him a lot on the phone, who jack could call at 2:00 in the morning and he was really always there for him. >> and in december of 1961, all of that disappeared. >> joe is at the family vacation home in palm beach. >> joe kennedy goes out to play golf. he liked nothing better than to play golf. he was pretty good, especially when money was on the line. >> and on the eighth hole he began to feel feint, he said, please take me home. >> he goes back to the house, jackie is there. he said, i just need to rest. >> don't call any doctors, those were his last words.
he then went into his room and he suffered a massive stroke. >> joseph is taken to the hospital. immediately he's put on the critical list. he's in real bad shape. he's even given last rites because they think he might pass away. for jackie to be the one to tell jack that this has happened, it's devastating. >> jack, bobby and their sister jean fly from washington to be at their father's side. >> they all rushed to be with him in the hospital and everybody is in a panic. joe might not live. >> joe's doctors don't think they can save him. but bobby refuses to let them turn off his father's life support. >> joe as a matter of h-- bobbyg
to do anything that was going to end his father's life. >> joseph kennedy survives, but the stroke takes a vital toll. >> he was such a vital force, we would play with him in hyannisport and walk on the beach or go swimming. so when he had a stroke, it was shocking. >> his face was disfigured, one side of his body was useless. but worst of all, he lost the power of speech. this man who never stopped talking, who's fabulously eloquent, who could walk into any room with anybody and command the attention of the crowd. lost his voice, lost his words,
lost language. >> there was always a sense that as long as joseph is at the helm, things are going to work out. joe is the architect of everything. and for him to where sidelined when they're finally there, is such a tragedy. >> and for that to come at the end of a mean year, that was a terrible way for john f. kennedy to end 1961. >> as jack and jackie pose for the cameras, the mood in the white house is anything but festive. >> we know exactly what
president kennedy was thinking at the end of his first year, when he was approached by an author who said i'm going to be writing a book on the first year of your presidency, and the president's response was why would anyone want to read a book about this first year? >> in 1961, the kennedys came out of the white house cocky, confident, bright. but at the end of 1961, they're chasing. they have been bullied by krus chef, they've made a lot more enemies than friends. and some of these enemies are truly dangerous. >> next on "american dynasties: the kennedys" -- >> he had a reckless streak.
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