John Fitzgerald Kennedy, often referred to by his initials JFK, was an American politician who served as the 35th president of the United States from 1961 until his assassination near the end of his third year in office. Kennedy served at the height of the Cold War, and the majority of his work as president concerned relations with the Soviet Union and Cuba. A member of the Kennedy family and a Democrat, he represented Massachusetts in both houses of the U.S. Congress prior to becoming president.
Kennedy was born into a wealthy, political family in Brookline, Massachusetts. He graduated from Harvard University in 1940 before joining the U.S. Naval Reserve the following year. During World War II, he commanded a series of PT boats in the Pacific theater and earned the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for his service and war heroism. After a brief stint in journalism, Kennedy represented a working-class Boston district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1947 to 1953. He was subsequently elected to the U.S. Senate and served as the junior senator for Massachusetts from 1953 to 1960. While in the Senate, Kennedy published his book, Profiles in Courage, which won a Pulitzer Prize.