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tv   Doc Film - Bobby Kennedy - The Man Who Wanted Change  Deutsche Welle  June 6, 2018 5:15pm-6:00pm CEST

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june nine hundred sixty eight america's last summer of hope. a funeral train rolled slowly through the long summer afternoon. crowds lined the tracks hoping to catch a glimpse as the casket of robert francis kennedy was taken to washington. because. it despondent the devout. widows whose husbands had died in vietnam. black says neighborhood still small. and the young whose dreams have been shattered too soon.
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on into national cemetery. two brothers gunned down just five years apart. a united . president john f. kennedy's murder in dallas on november twenty second one thousand nine hundred sixty three that ended the age of american innocence and plunged the country into violence and social turmoil. at his brother's funeral bobby kennedy was consumed by remorse and guilt. and as he reflected on the political life he had shared with john he asked himself who had killed his brother and why. john and bobby kennedy had made numerous sentiments including maffia bosses f.b.i. director j. edgar hoover fidel castro labor union leaders like jimmy hoffa and southern racists
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. in january nine hundred sixty four lee harvey oswald's widow marina testified before the warren commission which was investigating jack kay's assassination. oswald was shot and killed by jack ruby a dallas nightclub owner who was said to have ties to organized crime. bobby kennedy believed that all's well had been the front man for a broader conspiracy. also in one thousand nine hundred sixty four an official government commission investigating the kennedy assassination released its report. robert kennedy did not testify before the commission nor did he publicly question its conclusion that
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oswald had acted alone. to done so would have meant confronting terrible truths about his role in his brother's administration and the rage he felt at john kennedy's murder. just. at the time robert kennedy was running for the u.s. senate in new york he took time off from the campaign to reflect on the years he had devoted to his brother's political career he was overcome by anger but where did this anger come from and as he himself moved on to the political stage he sought to learn from the mistakes he'd made for example when he was u.s. attorney general had he gone too far in his effort to convict teamsters union president jimmy hoffa might become quite good about it there is absolutely no question about the goal and evidently you think hoffa had been the focus of
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kennedy's first great moral crusade and he was a fitting opponent but what was the motivation for this crew sank on the basis of what. the teamsters union represented truck drivers across america many top union leaders was sent to have had ties to the mob. robert kennedy the campaign against half a represented a battle between good and evil a battle that would allow him to portray himself as the toughest kennedy a son his father would be proud of. office had managed to avoid conviction for several years but when kennedy became attorney general he was determined to put hoffa behind bars. a half an investigation would also benefit president kennedy who sought to portray himself as being tough on crime. but would be very happy
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to have our legal counsel here will create the america people the fact that this great great breaking union busting bill. the kennedy brothers campaign against hoffa was. heart of a wind a effort to crack down on organized crime and bobby had been chasing suspect union officials for years. and they were. back. then cry like a maybe. all right. rebel. baby. will be able to read. every public cry baby name. later bobby could see that he had indeed gone too far with hoffa he tried to portray himself as being tough on crime at the same time he would devote his life
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to realizing his father's dream making his older brother john president of the united states whatever the cost. in one nine hundred fifty two joseph kennedy had ordered his son bobby to run john's campaign for a u.s. senate seat in massachusetts. at the nine hundred fifty six democratic convention john was to rising star of american politics bobby worked behind the scenes handling the press and talk party officials bobby had agreed to abandon his own political ambitions to focus on his brother's career first the senate and then the white house. a campaign stop at the coal mines in west virginia. a key state in one thousand nine hundred sixty
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presidential primaries as john kennedy continued his efforts to win the democratic party's nomination for president. bobby laid the foundation for his brother's political success he won over working class americans with his sincerity and sense of humor. but he was also ruthless in dealing with people who crossed him that. sent vanderpump to bobby's efforts. he'd worked tirelessly to win over party leaders and convention delegates bullying threatening and making deals. as his running mate john kennedy chose texas senator lyndon johnson probably to appeal to southern whites democrat voters. bobbie's welcome the campaign was now down. great appreciation my
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brother bobby was directed all up primary campaigns in the organization in all of them as he did in my campaign for the senate and i think you of course here in the motor said your. sister's election day nine hundred sixty. john kennedy and his wife jacqueline were a glamorous couple much more so than republican candidate richard nixon and his wife pat. bobi had fought hard behind the scenes he was now obsessed with the prospect of power and the prestige that the presidency would offer the kennedy family. at the kennedy compound on cape cod the kennedy clan gathered to watch the election results on t.v. . bobby had heard the reports of voter fraud particularly in the city of chicago
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and in the state of texas and the allegations that his father joe kennedy had had business dealings with organized crime figures. john kennedy won the election by the narrowest popular vote margin in u.s. history. but his presidency are should in a new era one characterized by youth and glamour. bobby kennedy had worked tirelessly to put his brother in the white house but his behind the scenes work left him frustrated one concern was the persistent reports of voter fraud. the election victory seemed somehow hollow. the president-elect offered his brother the post of attorney general but bobby
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refused at first he wanted to prove himself on his own not merely as john kennedy's right hand man. in one thousand nine hundred fifty bobby had married to. a devout catholic like himself the marriage was a happy one and the couple had eleven children. but bobby kennedy had never been able to move out of his brother's shadow now his father demanded that he take the post of attorney general. the finally agreed even though critics said he was inexperienced and unqualified for the job. bobby became the country's top law enforcement officer but would be able to deal responsibly with the immense political power that came with the job. on he criticized long time f.b.i. director j.
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edgar hoover for wasting time on chasing down alleged communists instead of working to root out organized crime. gone too far too fast driven by his contempt for corrupt politicians and mobsters. we and the department of justice have become increasingly concerned about organized crime it has become so rich and so powerful and so well entrenched that it is often become beyond the reach of law. we know that that role and local law enforcement officers have been most effective against narcotics auto their prostitution bank robbery kidnapping and other crimes i ask you to join mr hoover and me in strengthening law enforcement in this country and preserving its bigger and its
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vitality. but kennedy underestimated hoover the f.b.i. chief knew through classified intelligence reports that kennedy wanted to have him replaced and he fought back. hoover had been collecting damaging reports on john kennedy for years as he often did with politicians. in hoover bobby kennedy had found an adversary who could not be intimidated and who would not hesitate to sabotage him and his brother. kennedy and hoover did agree on the importance of wiretapping in fighting organized crime but kennedy wanted the department of justice to have the final say on when wiretaps were used. the government's new crackdown on crime and corruption and good both monsters and union officials. jimmy hoffa
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warns that certain lines should not be crossed. only in this very. wiretapping. leave it to the imagination of an attorney general like bobby kennedy and you are wired that we will have phones tapped the news coverage while there are hundreds of thousands but no reason whatsoever except a person all the zire to destroy those all they are. in essence hoffa was correct. and harper was not the only one who was barren and determined to get even with the candidates hoover had in his possession a letter from a mob boss who claimed that bobby kennedy had used his star power methods as attorney general the boss threatened kennedy saying that he would not be missed if he were to leave his post there was widespread anger among many who had ties to organized crime and they vowed to fight back against the administration's crackdown
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. meanwhile there were reports that john kennedy was having an affair with a woman who was also the mistress of chicago mob boss sam jan karna. on march the twenty second one thousand nine hundred sixty two hoover arrived at the white house uninvited to remind the can it is about the doubts that he had on them. later that day bobby demanded to know whether his brother was still sleeping with a woman who was intimately linked to a gangster bobby had already told john kennedy to break off the relationship. now the president did so with a phone call. that the president continued his reckless womanizing the next morning he left washington for palm springs and a new woman. an f.b.i.
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file suggest that bobbie may have joined the couple in palm springs as well as occasionally at the carlisle her. in new york. bobby kennedy had never been a saint either in public or private he learned early in life that kennedy men proved their masculinity by showing courage taking risks and seducing women. part it was in his dealings with cuba that bobby would display some of his best and some of his worst qualities from nine hundred fifty two to nine hundred fifty five kennedy worked for the senate committee that was investigating allegations of communist activity in the u.s. later the same committee took controversial u.s. senator joseph mccarthy to task over some aspects of his anti communist campaign. bobby kennedy remains an implacable enemy of international communism and especially
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of cuban leader fidel castro. in april nine hundred sixty one a u.s. backed group of about one thousand five hundred paramilitaries invaded cuba at the bay of pigs. the invasion was a complete failure and even though the operation had been planned during the previous administration kennedy took the blame for it. bobby kennedy felt humiliated it seme his brother the president in tears as the invasion unraveled now he swore to get even with castro in his own way. kennedy had turned a blind eye as the cia plotted with the affair to assassinate castro the us senate panel determined that the cia tried to kill castro at least eight times between one nine hundred sixty and one nine hundred sixty five.
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after the botched invasion or castro accepted a soviet offer to secretly deploy nuclear missiles in cuba. on october the fifteenth a cia review of high altitude photographs determined that the missiles had indeed been deployed. as john kennedy faced the greatest test of his presidency to date he came to rely on his brother more than ever the president considered bobby the only person he could trust completely. a different side of bobby's character now began to emerge that of the rational diplomat who favored negotiation and persuasion over conflict he disagreed with the president's top military advisers who favored a full scale u.s. attack on cuba the kennedys worked out a secret deal with the soviets the defuse the crisis and allow both sides to save face.
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while tensions and black communities across the country were running high. backs demanded social justice and the legal rights that were guaranteed them under the u.s. constitution. but discrimination was still widespread and racial segregation was still strictly enforced in the deep south. you're right bobby kennedy took on a seemingly impossible task of trying to improve relations between whites and blacks. wake a break and we say that we're going to go where we got to consider where we started out we want your help and assist them anybody that know that or any of you are interested in working at a particular welcome. in the autumn of one thousand nine hundred sixty two james meredith became the first black
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students to enroll at the university of mississippi attorney general robert kennedy had intervened on meredith's behalf with the state's governor ross barnett who had found to keep the university segregated. the kennedys didn't want to alienate the white southern voters that helped put them in the white house but what about the rights of the poor black kendah past. be urged his brother to speak to the nation about the situation the president was concerned about how people in the south would react but finally agree. that john kennedy took a strong stand in favor of racial equality i mean. we've. been direct. approach and what americans are said to be well. we do not as whites only get out of the bottle and show up for every american to
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enjoy the privileges of being american but that we go out with great always follow . in office nine hundred sixty three at least two hundred thousand people gathered in washington d.c. . to demand civil rights and jobs dr martin luther king stood in front of the lincoln memorial and delivered his historic i have a dream speech bobby kennedy respected king's commitment to civil rights but had concerns about his private life and had authorized the f.b.i. to tap his phone is later president johnson would use this to discredit kennedy with the black community. in november president kennedy flew to dallas texas for a series of political meetings. bobby would never see his brother alive again. it was the end of an era bobby kennedy was devastated by the assassination and to
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a lesser extent by the fact that he and john would never be able to fulfill their vision for america. be fair that his brother would now go down in history as a well intentioned mater and that the kennedy presidency would be remembered mostly for there's some final tragedy and not for the crises it had faced. lyndon johnson was sworn in as president bobby disliked johnson intensely and all of this seems somehow like a coup d'etat. barely
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able to function he was now. longer a forceful presence at cabinet meetings surely it was bobby not johnson who was the rightful heir to the kennedy throne. johnson was a brilliant tactician and he quickly succeeded where the kennedys had failed. to challenge to. community with an ashtray. an ad hoc. rescue crews had been judged. johnson managed to push the civil rights act through congress in one thousand nine hundred sixty four and the voting rights act one year later. he also set about creating the great society
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a sweeping set of social domestic policy programs bobby kennedy was now little more than a spectator as his nemesis lyndon johnson moved ahead with his reforms. as he slowly adjusted to life after his brother's assassination bobby kennedy considered a new mission to return to the white house this time as president but first he would have to get past lyndon johnson. in july nine hundred sixty four kennedy his wife and several of their children visited poland greeted by and large and seems he asked to crowds on the streets while he returned to america confident that he could run for president and win the started seek a u.s. senate seat in new york johnson would run for a second term in one thousand nine hundred eighty eight and kennedy would challenge him but it would be an uphill battle. though i come to you that
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we are helping to get there president kennedy your help and what you gave so generously to him in one thousand fixed i j edgar hoover then sent a memo to kennedy in which the f.b.i. chief referred to. allegations about bobby's alleged friendship with marilyn monroe probably refused to respond to the reports. in august nine hundred sixty four the democrats held their national convention in atlantic city new jersey there were rumors about a johnson kennedy take it but they came to nothing but johnson insisted that kennedy speak the last of the convention so he wouldn't steal the show. when kennedy arrived to give his speech the delegates greeted him with a twenty two minute evasion to many of them bobby kennedy represented the tragedy
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of unfulfilled promise in his speech he spoke about his brother's vision for america i. love the kennedy was back on the campaign trail running for office on his own but one where his promises sort of candidate would have become at this point kennedy did not yet have the answers. and then kennedy spoke at columbia university in new york and a new candidate emerged compassionate radical and tough. great problem i would think in the state of new york now with the make sure that people of different races and colors elim to get to the question of employment a question of out me these matters or matters which i would think. i was directly involved in. the candidates had always been able to market themselves while the speech at columbia went over so well the parts of it were later used in campaign
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ads. i think by now turbo the campaign was losing ground among middle class voters president john. and stepped in to help not least because he needed to win new york. but kennedy needed no outside help as he campaigned in black communities television helped him to become a media star and the crowds loved him. bobby dead americans to dream. and what i do want i do want to do want to. be why do you want to buy not me but you well the only. i i i i think we're going to make a difference i want you guys. buy. what you want to
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know why. don't people do you think they are they. i dream things that never were they buy. my. johnson one thousand nine hundred sixty four election by a landslide with sixty five percent of the path of the vote i've lived. and bobby kennedy was elected to the u.s. senate even though he faced criticism for being out of state candidate. he would continue his mission to shine america's future. in january nine hundred sixty five ethel gave birth to the couple's ninth child
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matthew maxwell. and bobby is the oldest surviving kennedy brother now became the head of the family clan which would of course include his brother's widow jackie. and then children caroline and john jr when i was just a little. grown up. and got it it. will be kennedy now represented the family's political ambitions and he believed that he would truly be able to change america. i run but first he would have to make a place for himself on the national and international stage.
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bubby did firsthand research them all thoroughly understand the problems facing the country he began to travel. wherever he went to appeal to a new generation to join him in fighting the evils of poverty hunger and. the free society rests on the belief that the state exists for the benefit of it and that it is not a mere tool of the state. but i am not ashamed to say that in america we call to the young men and women of all nations of the world join with us in a concerted attack on the evils which still be set in. poverty illness illiteracy intolerance oppression and war these are the central enemies of our a and i say to you that the enemy will be overcome. thank. social
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reforms for long as a jew in america. black communities in large cities like los angeles and detroit often exploded in violence some urban areas resembled war zones with block after block in smoldering ruins and soldiers patrolling the streets. bobby continued his travels around the country stopping off in mississippi to see for himself the horrors of abject poverty. what he saw shocked him to the core. to. get blood. like that.
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now bobby understood. we have a gallery area it began i've been here in the bank and i think people. i think i mean can compare without it not with one a month ago but we know that. we know that. and will know that we can do something about. these cross-country journeys helped bobby kennedy to develop his true political and philosophical convictions he would now fight for social justice in america a better society for his children to grow up and he had moved beyond protecting and promoting kennedy family interests. but it was the vietnam war that was to become the turning point in his political destiny. in one nine hundred sixty two while we had supported his brother's
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intervention in vietnam but only as a testing ground for developing counter insurgency. but by nine hundred sixty five under the johnson administration the country was at war bobby was deeply troubled by the current conflict and he could not yet oppose it in public because it was part of his brother's political legacy. meanwhile more than two hundred thousand men were drafted into the us armed forces in one thousand nine hundred eighty five alone many of them from the working classes. johnson also ordered massive air strikes in north vietnam kennedy disagreed with his strategy because he believed that it would not bring hanoi to the negotiating table. by all the shit concerned i'm opposed to resuming the bombing at the moment until i have information that indicate that such reduction is necessary or than our national interest. by nine hundred sixty seven vietnam was no longer john kennedy's legacy
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it was lyndon johnson this tragedy. robert kennedy was now politically isolated but he was determined to defy johnson and his allies. and johnson wasn't the only threat. to our reports surface that kennedy as attorney general had approved wiretaps on dr martin luther king and others. bobby's reputation as a civil rights advocate lay in tatters but he survived his sent back and now focused his efforts on ending the conflict in vietnam. johnson's policies on the war had become increasingly unpopular more and more americans supported kennedy's
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views. on march the sixteenth one thousand nine hundred sixty eight robert f. kennedy announced that he would run for president. i think a day my candidacy. for the presidency of the united states. i do not run for the presidency merely to oppose any man. but the whole new policy. i run because i am convinced. that this country is on a perilous for. him because i have such strong feelings. about what must be done. and i do know that i'm a lot. to do all that i. i run to see you follow. all of you and the bloodshed in vietnam. and in our city. i want to see all of the close the gap. there between black and white i run because it is now on mistaken belief.
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that we can change these disastrous divisive policies. only by changing the man we're now making. i was a bush surely an impossible dream i candidate did not have the backing of the national democratic party and senator eugene mccarthy also a democrat enjoyed widespread support i kennedy's campaign was disorganized at first but he soon tapped into the popularity that he enjoyed among voters millions followed his campaign on t.v. i but could he convert that popularity into votes. kennedy faced a tough series of back to back primaries and then
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a difficult nominating convention in chicago in august many middle class voters consider kennedy a reckless rabble rouser i . have campaign stops he came face to face with the nostalgia that many still felt for his brother's presidency and he encountered calls for reconciliation and an effort to put a stop to the hatred that was tearing this country apart. then came the shocking news that lyndon johnson would not run for reelection johnson's poll numbers were down and he was frustrated over the course of the war now bobby kennedy actually stood a chance he was no longer running against an incumbent president the race was wide
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open. kennedy's popularity just. specially in black communities in the deep south and among young people walk in class white voters. his supporters believe that bobby kennedy could revive the american dream. and then tragedy struck again. that one day we will be able to work program upgrade recover some don't forget about the current fair open
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go right for freedom to go. on the false kennedy was flying to a campaign stop in indianapolis when he first heard the news he told the audience what had happened. i have some very sad news for all of you and people who love peace all over the world martin luther king was shot and was killed tonight remember. those of you who are. black. and are tempted to feel with be filled with hatred and distrust. of the injustice of such an act. against all white people. i would only say that i can also feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. i had a member of my family killed. but he was killed by a white man. bobby kennedy in our pants and many americans and
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not just blacks as their only hugged he was an idol to some. and even a messiah to others. in primary elections that spring kennedy won four states and last fall he was still in a strong position heading into the convention. on the night of dr king's death while he had confided to an aide that could have been made. he told others that some of it he felt doomed somewhere somehow an assassin would find him. but bobby kennedy did not show fear and did not ask for extra protection. he was campaigning as his own man not as a successor to his slain brother and he was running for the white house so that he could realize his vision for america.
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then on june the fifth nine hundred sixty eight just hours after he won the california primary bobby kennedy was gunned down at a los angeles hotel. the assailant was identified as sir hand sir had a palestinian immigrant. i've. robert kennedy died at a local hospital the next day he was forty two years old. once again america was in mourning huge crowds including people of all races religious
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faiths and social classes paid their last respects. as kennedy's body lay in repose it's in patrick's cathedral in manhattan. in death bobby kennedy had truly united america. then his casket was taken on its final journey to a grave site his brother's darlington national cemetery. has one mourner sign read we have lost our last hope. robert kennedy's vision for america died with him. past.
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