10 Undisclosed Facts of Joseph Kennedy
10 Undisclosed Facts of Joseph Kennedy

10 Undisclosed Facts of Joseph Kennedy

Patrick Lynch - January 30, 2018

10 Undisclosed Facts of Joseph Kennedy

8 – He Was Accused of Being a Nazi Sympathizer

Joseph Kennedy Junior is often classified as the son who was most like his father, and they shared the same ‘admiration’ for Hitler. Young Joseph saw Hitler speak in 1934 and was impressed by the dictator’s calls for Germany to unite against a common enemy. Joseph Junior wrote that while it was a shame, the Nazis were persecuting the Jews, but added: “The dislike of the Jews, however, was well founded.”

As I’ve previously mentioned, Joseph Senior also disliked the Jews and had a seemingly favorable opinion of Hitler and the Nazis. As well as hoping that America would make a peace pact with Germany and trying to keep Chamberlain in office, Joseph Senior sought approval for a personal meeting with Hitler on two occasions. During his reign as Ambassador to the United States, a lot of British people believed his sentiments went beyond appeasement and actually represented a form of Nazi sympathizing.

Perhaps Joseph was merely guilty of underestimating the threat of the Nazis. The fact they tormented the Jews, a group he disliked immensely, possibly blinded him to what was happening. He was a great admirer of the German work ethic and believed they were the ‘logical’ leaders of Europe. Kennedy also thought the Jews were exaggerating their plight.

One of his great fears was American involvement in the war so ‘Jittery Joe’ tried everything he could to prevent it from happening. He failed in his goal, and worse was to come when his son, Joseph Junior, enlisted in the Navy. John also served in the Navy during World War II. While Joseph Junior had a lucky escape in 1943, he was killed in action the following year. As well as losing his eldest son, Joseph Senior had lost his first hope of a Kennedy president. He turned his attention to John and Bobby. When John returned from the war, his father informed him that his political career was about to begin. Joseph pulled as many strings as possible and didn’t allow his own affiliations to stop John from reaching the White House.

10 Undisclosed Facts of Joseph Kennedy
Joseph McCarthy – Wikipedia

9 – He Was a Friend of Joseph McCarthy

Today, Joseph McCarthy is viewed with disdain as one of America’s most hated senators. But at the height of his power in the 1950s, McCarthy was the most visible public face of anti-communism in the United States. He alleged that communists and Soviet spies had succeeded in infiltrating the American government, film industry, and universities, among other facilities. The term ‘McCarthyism’ was given to the process of smearing someone’s name with an accusation of treason without providing evidence.

Like McCarthy and a number of prominent Americans at the time, Kennedy hated Communism and was a fervent supporter of McCarthy. He even persuaded his son Bobby to join McCarthy’s staff in 1953. Kennedy had several things in common with McCarthy beside their shared loathing of communism. Both men were Roosevelt Democrats for example, and Kennedy would invite the Wisconsin Senator for drinks in his Palm Beach house.

McCarthy even dated two of Kennedy’s daughters, Eunice and Patricia, for a brief period and was known to be fond of the bottle. Bobby served McCarthy loyally until he had a personal falling out with Roy Cohn, the chief counsel of the Subcommittee on Investigations, and quit. However, Bobby remained close to McCarthy and defended him in the press. John Kennedy was also a supporter and backed the Communist Control Act, a piece of legislation even more severe than McCarthy had ever suggested.

When John finally ran for president, he claimed to be against McCarthy and his methods and was backed all the way by Joseph. Once the public turned against the Senator, John was in a tough spot because the Democrats voted to censure McCarthy. When one senator tried to get John to sign a statement that condemned McCarthy, Joseph told the man to get lost and to stop trying to ‘ruin’ his son. With his son so close to his ultimate goal, Joseph Kennedy was prepared to do anything.

10 Undisclosed Facts of Joseph Kennedy
John F. Kennedy – History.com

10 – He Allegedly Rigged the 1960 Election among Others

I have to use the term ‘allegedly’ here because there is no conclusive evidence, but there is a theory that Joseph Kennedy requested the help of the mob to rig votes in Chicago. In what amounts to a conspiracy theory, the suggestion is that the mobsters used the names of dead people to vote for JFK. According to Earl Mazo, a reporter for the New York Herald Tribune, there was a dilapidated house in Chicago that apparently contained 56 voters for Kennedy. Kennedy carried the state of Illinois by just 8,858 votes.

Nixon would not have won the election if he had taken Illinois, but there were also allegations of voter fraud in Missouri and New Jersey among other states. While it is not outside the grounds of possibility that Joseph would be involved in such activity, it is important to note that he was a fan of Nixon’s. Before John won the Democratic Primary, Joseph told Nixon: “Dick, if my boy can’t make it, I’m for you.”

Perhaps a more relevant accusation of electoral fraud against Joseph Kennedy can be attributed to John’s 1946 Congressional campaign. A former Boston City Councilman named Joe Russo believed the inexperienced Kennedy would be easy to defeat, but he was warned not to run. He alleged that Joseph Kennedy found another man named Joe Russo and convinced him to run in the election too. The goal was to confuse the electorate and hopefully split the vote as people would end up voting for the wrong Russo.

It was a cunning scheme, but the Kennedys were not finished yet. They tried to bribe the front-runner, Mike Neville, out of the race. He was offered a $25,000 a year salary for life to work in the Kennedy Foundation. Neville rejected the overture so Joseph Kennedy called on the big guns. He got his friend, newspaper magnate, William Randolph Hearst, involved. Hearst ensured that his Boston American newspaper didn’t run a single Neville ad in the 60 days leading up to the vote. Before the election, Kennedy offered $50 to large families to help out at the election. John easily won the primary with almost double the votes of Neville who was the nearest rival.


Where did we find this stuff? Here are our sources:

Patterns of Infidelity and Their Treatment – Emily M. Brown

Daily Mail Online – How Joseph Kennedy,60, Flaunted His Decade Long Affair with his 24-year old Secretary…

Marlene: Marlene Dietrich: A Personal Biography

The Missing Kennedy: Rosemary Kennedy and the Secret Bonds of Four Women – Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff

The Kennedys: Dynasty and Disaster – John H. Davis

Conspiracy in Camelot – Jerry Kroth, Jerome A. Kroth

Listverse: 10 Terrible Things Done By JFK’s Father – Mark Oliver

A Gravity’s Rainbow Companion: Sources and Contexts for Pynchon’s Novel – Steven Weisenburger

Bad Blood: Lyndon B. Johnson, Robert F. Kennedy, and the Tumultuous 1960s – Jeffrey K. Smith

Coup d’Etat – Barry Jones

Joseph McCarthy: Reexamining the Life and Legacy of America’s Most Hated Senator – Arthur Herman

Kennedy & Nixon: The Rivalry that Shaped Postwar America – Chris Matthews