On July 2, 1961, Ernest Hemingway died at the age of 61. Though he and President Kennedy never met, President Kennedy more than once expressed his admiration for Hemingway and his work.
In a statement on Hemingway’s death, President Kennedy said, “Few Americans have had a greater impact on the emotions and attitudes of the American people than Ernest Hemingway…he almost single-handedly transformed the literature and the ways of thought of men and women in every country in the world.”
President Kennedy headed to Italy as his final stop on his major tour of Europe. His trip included a private visit with Pope Paul VI in the Vatican. Though we don’t have any photos of the papal visit, we do have this great image of JFK visiting the Victor Emmanuel Monument in Rome. 7/1/1963.
-from the JFK Library
JFK in Berlin
On June 26, 1963, John F. Kennedy stood at Rudolph Wilde Platz (now John F. Kennedy Platz) in West Berlin to deliver one of his most well-known speeches. His visit to the divided city followed appearances across Germany, from Bonn to Cologne, to Frankfurt. In Berlin, 120,000 people gathered to listen to President Kennedy deliver his remarks:
"Freedom is indivisible and when one man is enslaved, all are not free. When all are free, then we can look forward to that day when this city will be joined as one and this country and this great Continent of Europe in a peaceful and hopeful globe…
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’”
From the JFK Library
Did JFK Really Tell Berlin He Was a Jelly Doughnut?
One of the iconic moments of John F. Kennedy’s Presidency comes from a speech he gave at the Rathaus Schöneberg in West Berlin, Germany on June 26, 1963. When the President declared “Ich bin ein Berliner!” to a cheering crowd, he preserved the German phrase in history. But the speech has been plagued by claims that, instead of expressing international unity by stating “I am a Berliner!” in German as he intended, JFK enthusiastically shouted a less inspiring phrase: “I am a jelly doughnut!”
Newspapers, magazines, and even textbooks have repeated the story for decades: a native Berliner would’ve said “Ich bin Berliner” and JFK’s use of the article ein changed the meaning, causing chuckles as the crowd imagined the jelly doughnut called a Berliner in parts of Germany. Fifty years later, a new generation may wonder: How could the President, who hand-wrote the pronunciation on his speech card to be sure he’d get it right, make such a cringe-worthy mistake?
But many historians and linguists have stepped in to poke a hole in the doughnut story and clear JFK’s name of this deep-fried controversy. Historian Andreas Daum notes, “saying ein Berliner is correct if used metaphorically,” which, of course, is what Kennedy was doing – not saying he was literally from Berlin, but that he was symbolically with Berlin. Historian Jürgen Eichhoff argues that the wording JFK used was actually the only way to express this particular meaning, and the German speakers (including West Berlin Mayor Willy Brandt) who heard JFK practice the speech agreed.
Historians also point out that archival evidence (like recordings and witness interviews) debunks the idea that the German-speaking crowd found anything weird about JFK’s wording: “No one in the square,” Presidential advisor McGeorge Bundy later said, “confused JFK with a doughnut.”
On the anniversary of JFK’s Berlin speech, we can all rest easier knowing many experts agree President Kennedy did not declare himself a jelly doughnut at this pivotal moment in Cold War history!
A very, very big thanks to JFK Library archivist Stacey Chandler for this guest Tumblr post!
Images: President John F. Kennedy Speaks in Rudolph Wilde Platz; JFK’s handwritten pronunciation note from the President’s speech files; President Kennedy in motorcade with Willie Brandt, Mayor of West Berlin and Konrad Adenauer, Chancellor of West Germany. 6/26/63.
"For time and the world do not stand still. Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future.”
– President John F. Kennedy, Frankfurt, Germany.
Image: JFK greets the crowd in Frankfurt. 6/25/63.
-from the JFK Library
Today in history, President Kennedy signed the 1963 Equal Pay Act, which aimed to reduce income disparity between the sexes. 6/10/63.
Photo: President John F. Kennedy delivers remarks after signing the Equal Pay Act in the Oval Office of the White House, Washington, D.C. Standing (L-R): Representative Elizabeth Kee (West Virginia); Representative Edith Green (Oregon); Representative Edna Kelly (New York); Representative Catherine May (Washington); Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson; Director of United Automobile Workers (UAW) Women’s Department, Caroline Davis; Senator Maurine Neuberger of Oregon (in back); President of the National Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs (NFBPWC), Dr. Minnie Miles; Director of the Department of Legislation for the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), Andrew Biemiller (in back); Representative Leonor K. Sullivan (Missouri); Executive Director of the National Council of Catholic Women (NCCW), Margaret Mealey; Representative Martha W. Griffiths (Michigan); Representative Julia Butler Hansen (Washington); Secretary of Labor, Willard Wirtz.
-from the JFK Library
JFK’s Nod to a School Rivalry
Upon receiving an honorary degree from Yale University in June of 1962, President John F. Kennedy (Harvard class of 1940) remarked:
"It might be said that now I have the best of both worlds, a Harvard education and a Yale degree."