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- Father of John, Robert, and Ted Kennedy -

Joseph P Kennedy

- One of Joe Kennedy's closest friends was Morton Downey, a night-club singer who later became a radio idol in the 1930s and 40s. As one friend put it, "Mort did him favors in the department Joe liked best - girls, he knew chorus girls." Furthermore, since most of the clubs where Downey sang were owned by the mob, Joe gained access to mobsters like Frank Costello who were critical to his bootlegging business.

- Besides their love of young women, Downey and Kennedy shared a hatred of Jews. As successful Irishmen, they needed another minority to ridicule. When Joe later went to Hollywood, he told friends he expected to wipe out the Jewish "pants pressers" who ruled Hollywood.
- "Joe Kennedy's feeling toward Jews was that the only way he could be a success was that every day when he got up, he would focus on one deal involving a Jew, and he would win the deal. That was his whole driving spirit," said Morton Downey Jr, quoting what his father had told him about Joe.

- Shortly after he became Chancellor of Germany in 1933, Adolph Hitler began his campaign against the Jews. Hitler used Germany's severe economic problems to win support from extremists who had fomented violence. He claimed Germany had been "stabbed in the back" by the acquiescence of German leaders to the Treaty of Versailles. As scapegoats, he singled out Jews and Communists. They were responsible for Germany's economic plight.
- As the Nazi party grew, Hitler destroyed the constitutional government. Squads of brown-shirted stormtroopers carted off critics and tortured or shot them. Over four thousand people in public life were thrown in jail.
- On April 1, 1933, persecution of the Jews in Germany became official policy, beginning with a Nazi initiated boycott of Jewish businesses and shops. Nazi students and professors burned hundreds of thousands of books, including many written by Jews, as part of a "purification" of German culture.
- As ambassador to England, Joe would later make clear that he thought the Jews had "brought on themselves" whatever Hitler did to them. During a 1938 meeting at the German embassy in London, Kennedy assured the German ambassador that America only wanted friendly relations with Hitler. Joe said that Hitler's government had done "great things" for the country, and that the Germans were "satisfied" and enjoyed "good living conditions." Joe told the ambassador that a recent report which said the limited food in Germany was being reserved for the army could not be true. After all, Joe said, the professor who had made the report "was a Jew."
- Kennedy urged his friend William Randolph Hearst to help Hitler improve his image in the United states. Hearst agreed, and under his own byline he told his readers that Hitler had "restored character and courage. Hitler gave hope and confidence. He established order and unity of purpose."
- Based on what his father had told him, Morton Downey Jr said, "I think if Joe had his way, Hitler would have succeeded in his annihilation of the Jews....He always found great favor in Hitler. He would have loved to see him succeed."

- Joe Kennedy often professed admiration for the works of Brooks Adams, whose views on racial purity paralleled Hitler's. Joe accepted Adams as his intellectual guru, ratifying, as he did, the prejudices that Joe already had.
- An historian, Adams articulated a "survival of the fittest" theory much like Hitler's. Eventually, he wrote, the "energy" of a "race" is exhausted, and it must be replaced by the infusion of "barbarian blood."
- In The Theory of Social Revolutions as well as other works, Adams maintained that American democracy had inherent defects. Without near-dictatorial powers, presidents cannot govern effectively. Ultimately, these defects would bring disaster to the country. Adams predicted Englend would fare even worse because the country was in a state of "decay" brought on by "high living, wasteful habits, and intellectual torpor." In contrast, Germany had a strong military and a vigorous population that was better educated.
- Joe Kennedy, as a capitalist, liked Adams' theories because he saw himself as their beneficiary and they appealed to his prejudices. According to Adams, the "greedy" economic man or capitalist becomes dominant in society. Morality and ethics are of no value. Instead, "Men do not differ from the other animals, but survive, according to their aptitudes, by adapting themselves to exterior conditions which prevail at the moment of their birth."

- Joe Kennedy's oldest son, Joe Jr, absorbed his father's virulent anti-Semitism. During a break from school in 1934, Joe Jr traveled to Germany. By then, public eating facilities, theaters, and shops in Germany displayed signs saying "Jews Not Welcome." Jewish mothers could not buy milk for their infants. Jews who were sick could not obtain prescriptions.
- Joe Jr wrote to his father that Hitler had taken advantage of a widespread dislike of the Jews, a dislike which was "well-founded." He told his father that Hitler was "building a spirit in his men that could be envied in any country." The brutality, bloodshed, and marching were necessary, he said, and the sterilization law was a "good thing." "I don't know how the church feels about it but it will do away with many of the disgusting specimens of men who inhabit this earth," Joe Jr wrote.

- To be sure, anti-Semitism in the United States at the time, particularly in Boston, was not uncommon. But while many were passively anti-Semitic, Joe Kennedy was rabidly so. Repeatedly and aggressively, he attacked the Jews, even suggesting to his son Jack that he incorporate a campaign against the Jews as part of his political platform.

Joe Kennedy - Supporter of McCarthyism

- Like Kennedy, Joseph R McCarthy was a bully, adept at creating suspicion and circulating rumors to smear people as Communists. Kennedy had contributed to the Wisconsin Republican's senate campaigns, and invited him a number of times to Hyannis Port. McCarthy attended the wedding of Joe's daughter Eunice Kennedy, and was Joe's guest at numerous other affairs, where Kennedy introduced him as his "valued friend."

- Although McCarthy was at first an undistinguished legislator, he captured national attention in February 1950 by arguing that the State Department was riddled with card-carrying members of the Communist Party. Shrewd at public relations and media manipulation, McCarthy intimidated his opponents and evaded demands for tangible proof as he developed a large and loyal following.
- McCarthy's activities gave rise to the term "McCarthyism," referring to the use of sensational and highly publicized personal attacks, usually based on unsubstantiated charges, as a means of discrediting people thought to be subversive.

- In November 1950, Joe Kennedy spoke at the Harvard Graduate School of Public Administration, where he said that not enough had been done to get Communists out of the United States government. He professed his respect for Joe McCarthy, who was just beginning his witch hunt for Communists, and Joe said he "knew McCarthy pretty well, and he may have something."

- Late in 1952, Senator Joseph McCarthy became chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Senate Government Operations Committee. Arthur Schlesinger Jr referred to McCarthy's anti-Communist activities as his "jihad," but Joe Kennedy admired his friend's stand. To Kennedy, Communism, not Nazism, posed the greatest threat. He was an old hand at spreading rumors himself.
-In December 1952, Joe Kennedy called McCarthy and asked him to give his son Bobby a job on the committee. In January 1953, McCarthy named Bobby Kennedy assistant counsel.
- Bobby appeared to be blind to McCarthy's demagoguery. "Joe McCarthy's methods may be a little rough," he told reporters, "but, after all, his goal is to expose Communists in government, and that's a worthy goal. So why are you reporters so critical of his methods?"

- McCarthy's failure to substantiate his claims of Communist penetration of the army in the nationally televised army-McCarthy hearings finally discredited him. On December 2, 1954, the Senate voted to condemn him, 67 to 22. Jack Kennedy, senator from Massachusetts, was the only Democrat who did not vote against McCarthy. Jack's failure to condemn Joe McCarthy would cost him the vice presidential nomination in 1956.
- The family allegiance to McCarthy was demonstrated again when Bobby Kennedy attended McCarthy's funeral in May 1957.


The Robber Baron and the Film Industry

How Joe Framed an Innocent Man

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