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        #210: Kennedy Becomes President

        作者:Steve Ember 發布日期:9-9-2013

        President John F. Kennedy gives his inaugural address at the Capitol building
        President John F. Kennedy gives his inaugural address at the Capitol building

        STEVE EMBER: Welcome to THE MAKING OF A NATION - American history in VOA Special English. I'm Steve Ember

        (MUSIC)

        We begin this week's story on January twentieth, nineteen sixty-one, the day John Fitzgerald Kennedy became president of the United States.

        It had snowed heavily the night before. Few cars were in the streets of Washington.

        The outgoing president, Dwight Eisenhower, was seventy years old. John Kennedy was just forty-three. He was the first American president born in the twentieth century.

        Both Eisenhower and Kennedy served in World War Two. Eisenhower had been commander of allied forces in Europe. Kennedy had been a young Navy officer in the Pacific.

        He came from a politically influential family from Boston, Massachusetts, but he was a fresh face in national politics. To millions of Americans, he represented a chance for a new beginning.

        (MUSIC)

        Not everyone liked him, however. Many people thought he was too young to be president. Others did not like the idea of electing the nation's first Roman Catholic president.

        Eisenhower's vice president, Richard Nixon, ran against Kennedy in the election of nineteen sixty. Many people believed Nixon was a stronger opponent of communism than Kennedy.

        The election of nineteen-sixty was one of the closest in American history. Kennedy defeated Nixon by fewer than one hundred twenty thousand votes. Now, on the steps of the Capitol building, he would be sworn-in as the nation's thirty-fifth president.

        One of the speakers at the inauguration was the eighty-six-year-old poet Robert Frost. The wind was blowing the paper in his hands and the sun was shining off the snow on the ground and into his eyes. Kennedy stood to help him. But the famous poet was unable to read much of the poem he had written specially for the ceremony.

        Instead, he began another one that he knew from memory. Here is a studio recording of Robert Frost reading his poem "The Gift Outright."

        ROBERT FROST: The land was ours before we were the land's.

        She was our land more than a hundred years

        Before we were her people. She was ours

        In Massachusetts, in Virginia,

        But we were England's, still colonials,

        Possessing what we still were unpossessed by,

        Possessed by what we now no more possessed.

        Something we were withholding made us weak

        Until we found out that it was ourselves

        We were withholding from our land of living,

        And forthwith found salvation in surrender.

        Such as we were we gave ourselves outright

        (The deed of gift was many deeds of war)

        To the land vaguely realizing westward,

        But still unstoried, artless, unenhanced,

        Such as she was, such as she would become.

        Soon it was time for the new president to speak. He was not wearing a winter coat or a hat, unlike many of the people around him.

        One of the issues that Kennedy talked about was the danger of what he called "the deadly atom." He was taking office during the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. Both sides had atomic bombs. People worried that there could a World War Three that would end in nuclear destruction.

        Kennedy said both sides should make serious proposals for the inspection and control of nuclear weapons. He said they should explore the good in science, instead of the terrors.

        JOHN KENNEDY: "Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths, and encourage the arts and commerce ... Let both sides join in creating a new endeavor, not a new balance of power, but a new world of law, where the strong are just and the weak secure and the peace preserved."

        Kennedy also spoke about a torch of leadership being passed to a new generation of Americans. He urged young people to take the torch and accept responsibility for the future. He also urged other countries to work with the United States to create a better world.

        JOHN KENNEDY: "The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it -- and the glow from that fire can truly light the world. And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: Ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man."

        John Kennedy was in office less than two weeks when the Soviet Union released two American airmen. The Soviets had shot down their spy plane over the Bering Sea. About sixty million people watched as Kennedy announced the airmen's release.

        It was the first presidential news conference broadcast live on television in the United States. Kennedy welcomed the release as a step toward better relations with the Soviet Union.

        The next month, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev made another move toward better relations. He sent Kennedy a message. The message said that disarmament would be a great joy for all people on earth.

        A few weeks later, President Kennedy announced the creation of the Peace Corps. He had spoken about his idea during the election campaign. The Peace Corps would send thousands of Americans to developing countries to teach and provide technical assistance.

        Soon after the Peace Corps was created, another program was announced. The purpose of the Alliance for Progress was to provide economic aid for ten years to nations in Latin America.

        (MUSIC)

        Another thing that Kennedy had talked about during the election campaign was the space program. He believed the United States should continue to explore outer space.

        The Soviet Union had gotten there first. It launched the world's first satellite in nineteen fifty-seven. Then, in April nineteen sixty-one, the Soviet Union sent the first manned spacecraft into orbit around earth.

        That same month, the new American president suffered a foreign policy failure. On April seventeenth, more than one thousand Cuban exiles landed on a beach in western Cuba. They had received training and equipment from the United States Central Intelligence Agency.

        They were supposed to lead a revolution to overthrow the communist government of Fidel Castro. The place where they landed was Bahia de Cochinos -- the Bay of Pigs.

        The invasion failed. Most of the exiles were killed or captured.

        It was not Kennedy's idea to try to start a revolution in Cuba. Officials in the last administration of Dwight Eisenhower had planned it. However, most of Kennedy's advisers supported the idea. And he approved it.

        In public, the president said he was responsible for the failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion. In private, he said "All my life I've known better than to depend on the experts. How could I have been so stupid."

        What happened in Cuba damaged John Kennedy's popularity. His next months in office would be a struggle to regain the support of the people. That will be our story next week.

        (MUSIC)

        You can find our series online with transcripts, MP3s, podcasts, and pictures at www.squishedblueberries.com. And you can follow us on Facebook and Twitter at VOA Learning English. I'm Steve Ember, inviting you to join us again next week for THE MAKING OF A NATION -- American history in VOA Special English.

        ___

        Contributing: Jeri Watson

        This was program #210. For earlier programs, type "Making of a Nation" in quotation marks in the search box at the top of the page.

        1961年1月20日,約翰.菲茨杰拉德.肯尼迪成為美國總統??夏岬暇吐毲耙?,華盛頓下了場大雪,街上幾乎沒有車輛??夏岬蠌陌劳柺种薪舆^總統之職,艾森豪威爾已經70歲了,而肯尼迪只有43歲。他是美國歷史上第一位在20世紀出生的總統。今天我們就為您講述肯尼迪的就職典禮。

        艾森豪威爾和肯尼迪都參加過第二次世界大戰,前者是聯軍在歐洲的總司令,后者則是太平洋戰場上的一名年輕海軍軍官??夏岬蟻碜月樗_諸塞州的波士頓,他的家族在政界呼風喚雨,地位顯赫,不過他在全國政治舞臺上還是個新面孔,對千百萬美國人來說,肯尼迪代表著一個開始新生活的機會。

        不過,并不是所有的美國人都喜歡他。許多人覺得,他年紀太輕,擔不了總統的大任,還有人因為他是美國歷史上第一位信奉天主教的總統而不喜歡他。在1960年的總統選舉中,肯尼迪的對手是當時的副總統理查德.尼克松。許多人覺得,在對抗共產主義方面,尼克松比肯尼迪更強硬,更有力。

        1960年大選是美國歷史上競爭最為激烈的總統大選之一??夏岬弦圆坏?2萬票的優勢擊敗了尼克松?,F在,他站在國會大樓外的臺階上,宣誓就任美國第35任總統。

        86歲的詩人羅伯特.弗洛斯特是在就職典禮上致詞的嘉賓之一。當時,冷風把他手里的發言稿吹得動個不停,陽光照在雪地上發出反光,刺眼得很,讓他看不清楚字??夏岬献哌^去幫他,可弗洛斯特還是無法看清發言稿上他專門為就職典禮所寫的詩。

        于是,他憑著記憶朗誦了另外一首詩,"全心的奉獻"。

        詩中說:

        國土屬于我們,即使在我們擁有之前。

        我們的國土屬于我們已經有一百多年,

        在我們尚未是她的子民之前,就屬于我們

        在麻薩諸塞州,在維吉尼亞州。

        但是彼時我們是英國的屬地,為其殖民,

        我們仍然擁有許多尚未被宰制的東西

        也尚未喪失今天我們已經淪喪的東西。

        我們怯于奉獻使我們變得積弱,

        直到我們發現,其咎于我們自己

        我們對于賴于生存的國土不愿奉獻

        卻冀望馬上在屈服中尋求救贖。

        彼時雖然擁有不多,我們無無條件地奉獻

        (奉獻的行為表現于男兒志在沙場)

        對未知的西部蠻荒的土地開拓

        即使未流傳為故事,美談或宣揚

        盡管土地如斯,未來亦如斯

        1961年,肯尼迪成為美國總統。就職典禮在一個雪后的寒冷冬日舉行,和周圍的許多嘉賓不同,肯尼迪沒有穿大衣,也沒戴帽子。在就職演說中,他談到了"致命的原子"所帶來的危險。這不難理解--肯尼迪是在美蘇冷戰期間當上總統的,這兩個國家都有原子彈,人們擔心會爆發第三次世界大戰,并最終導致核毀滅。

        肯尼迪說,美蘇兩國都應該認真地拿出辦法,檢查和控制核武器。他說,兩國應該鉆研如何用科學造福人民,而不是制造恐怖。他說:"讓我們一起探索星球,征服沙漠,消滅疾病,開發海洋,鼓勵藝術和商業的發展。讓我們一起創造一個新的事業--這不是指一個新的權力平衡,而是一個新的法制世界,在那里,強國秉持正義,弱國享受安全,和平得以為繼。"

        肯尼迪還談到領導的火炬傳遞到新一代美國人手中。他號召年輕人接過火炬,擔起對未來的責任。他還敦促其他國家和美國一道共創一個更美好的世界。他說:"我們帶到這項新事業中的活力和信仰將給美國和所有為國家做貢獻的人帶來光明,這顆火種的光輝將照耀全世界。所以,我的同胞們,不要問你的國家能為你做些什么,而要問問你自己能為這個國家做些什么。世界各國的人們,不要問美國能為你們做些什么,而要問問你我一道能為人類自由做些什么。"

        肯尼迪當上總統不到兩個星期,蘇聯就釋放了兩名美國飛行員。這兩名飛行員駕駛的美國偵察機被蘇聯在白令海上空擊落。在大約六百萬美國人的注視下,肯尼迪總統宣布這兩人獲釋。這是美國歷史上第一次在電視上直播的總統新聞發布會,肯尼迪對飛行員的獲釋表示歡迎,說這為改善美蘇關系邁進了一步。

        此后的第二個月,蘇聯領導人赫魯曉夫采取新的行動,進一步改善了美蘇關系。他給肯尼迪發來了信,表示核裁軍將是全世界人民都樂于見到的事。幾個星期后,肯尼迪總統宣布建立和平隊。他在競選期間就曾提出建立和平隊的設想。和平隊把成千上萬名美國人派到發展中國家,教當地人知識,并為他們提供技術援助。

        和平隊創立后不久,肯尼迪宣布啟動另一個項目,叫"進步聯盟", 宗旨是為拉美國家提供長達十年的經濟援助。此外,肯尼迪在競選時還談到過另一個項目,就是航天計劃。他認為,美國應該繼續探索外層空間。在這方面,蘇聯已經搶先美國一步。1957年,蘇聯發射了第一顆人造衛星,1961年4月,蘇聯又首次把載人航天飛機送入了環繞地球的軌道。

        就在同一個月,肯尼迪在外交政策上遭遇失敗。4月17日,一千多名古巴流亡者在古巴西部的一個沙灘上登陸,他們此前接受了美國中央情報局的技術訓練和裝備支援。他們的目的是在古巴領導革命,推翻卡斯特羅領導的共產黨政府。他們登陸的地方叫豬灣。然而,這次行動失敗了,大部分流亡者被殺或被捕。

        在古巴發動革命并不是肯尼迪的主意,而是艾森豪威爾政府官員策劃的。不過,肯尼迪的大部分顧問都支持這個想法,肯尼迪本人也批準了這次行動。對外,肯尼迪表示自己要為豬灣行動的失敗負責。但私下里,他說:"我一輩子都很聰明,知道不能依賴那些所謂的專家,可這次我怎么糊涂了。"這次事件傷害了肯尼迪的形象,讓他支持率下降。他在接下來的幾個月中將盡力重建人們對他的支持。

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