Paid Advertisement
Historynet/feed historynet feedback facebook link Weider History Group RSS feed Weider Subscriptions Historynet Home page

Letter From MHQ, Spring 2011

Originally published on HistoryNet.com. Published Online: February 08, 2011 
Print Friendly
0 comments FONT +  FONT -

John F. Kennedy has long had die-hard detractors. One vocal group continues to attack his record as a PT boat commander in the Pacific, suggesting that, rather than being hailed for his bravery, he should have been court-martialed. Just a few months ago, a retired general told me that "the real facts" behind the sinking of Kennedy's PT-109 in 1943 "were out there for anyone who wants to dig for them"—including, for instance, the "fact" that all the crewmen were asleep when the Japanese destroyer struck their boat. That alone, he noted, would make Kennedy "criminally negligent." We tapped longtime contributing editor Thomas Fleming to get to the bottom of these accusations. Who was Kennedy before, during, and just after his naval tour of duty? Was he a hero or a goat?

Fleming turned up a powerful creation tale about a charming, wealthy playboy who coasted through life right up until a Japanese destroyer cleaved his PT boat in two, killing two men and leaving the others for shark bait. Was he responsible for the crash? Read Fleming's account and judge for yourself.

Whatever your conclusion, Fleming's story makes it clear that Kennedy's culpability is beside the point. The truth is, he stepped up. In one deadly and crucial instant he shed his sheltered existence and repeatedly risked his life to save his crew. What's more (and is little known), afterward the debilitated Kennedy rejected his domineering father's meddling to take command of another boat and carry out an obsessive one-man war of revenge against the Japanese. In World War II, Kennedy was heroic when it mattered most, becoming a leader of men and taking a giant step toward becoming the leader of a nation.

Whatever people may think of JFK as a president or as a man, his military record seems honorable and worthy of respect and gratitude, not potshots from the misinformed.

Also in this issue, we kick off our coverage of the American Civil War sesquicentennial with a collection of searing eyewitness accounts that describe the tense prelude to the first shots of the war, fired at Fort Sumter in 1861. We also canvassed historians and aficionados to pick the best Civil War books ever written. Look for our 150th anniversary logo over the next four years as we track the most lethal conflict in American history.

Finally, we are pleased to introduce a new column, The War List, with Geoffrey Parker's pithy sum-up of five battles that shaped Europe. 

 

MHQeditor@weiderhistory.com
MHQeditor@weiderhistory.com

 

Click For More From MHQ!
Click For More From MHQ!



Leave a Reply

Human Verification: In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.


Related Articles


History Net Images Spacer
Paid Advertisement
Paid Advertisement
History Net Daily Activities
History net Spacer
History net Spacer
Historynet Spacer
HISTORYNET READERS' POLL

Which of these wars resulted in the most surprising underdog upset?

View Results | See previous polls

Loading ... Loading ...
History net Spacer
STAY CONNECTED WITH US
RSS Feed Daily Email Update
History net Spacer
Paid Advertisement History net Spacer
Paid Advertisement

Paid Advertisement
What is HistoryNet?

The HistoryNet.com is brought to you by Weider History, the world's largest publisher of history magazines. HistoryNet.com contains daily features, photo galleries and over 5,000 articles originally published in our various magazines.

If you are interested in a specific history subject, try searching our archives, you are bound to find something to pique your interest.

From Our Magazines
Weider History

Weider History Network:  HistoryNet | Armchair General | Achtung Panzer! | StreamHistory.com
Today in History | Ask Mr. History | Picture of the Day | Daily History Quiz | Contact Us

Copyright © 2014 Weider History. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
Advertise With Us | Subscription Help | Privacy Policy