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tv   American Dynasties The Kennedys  CNN  March 18, 2018 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT

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presentation of the premiere episode of "the kennedys" right here on cnn. thanks for joining me. look forward to seeing you next weekend. have a great night. they escaped famine and death in ireland to begin a new life in boston, massachusetts. a life of wealth, privilege and power. >> my fellow citizens of the world. >> from irish peasantry to american royalty, these are the kennedys. their relationships with each other have impacted both america and the world. with triumph and glory comes scandal and tragedy.
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>> something has happened here. >> from one generation to the next, the kennedys are more than a family. they are the great american dynasty. ♪ ♪ ♪
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america's new ambassador to britain joseph p. kennedy faces cameramen as he is about to depart for st. james' court. >> when president roosevelt sends joseph p. kennedy in 1938 across the atlantic to be the ambassador to the united kingdom, he was a star, a celebrity. he had run a studio in hollywood. he was already a success in business and politics. he was among the top 20 richest men in america. it was big news. >> the rise of joseph kennedy is as remarkable as it is seemingly unstoppable. >> joe kennedy came from an irish family. they worked their way from the bottom to the top. they were outsiders. >> his grandparents came during
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the great potato famine of the 1840s to boston. so the family is just tw generations removed from the asantry of ireland. >> mr. joseph kennedy, the american ambassador, left for buckingham palace to present his credentials to the king. >> having an irish catholic in the job, it was just like the perfect victory in the struggle of my grandfather to feel accepted. >> as for me, i'm delighted to be here. >> you cannot underestimate joseph kennedy's ambition in 1938. my grandfather had ambitions to be president himself. >> what do you think he finds? >> what about the family, mr. kennedy? >> joseph and rose kennedy have nine children, from their
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oldest, joseph jr., to their youngest, ted. the kennedys aren't just any family. they're a family on a mission. >> the are kennedys to the left of them, kennedys to the right of them. england's cameramen work overtime to picture america's new ambassador to britain with his nine children. >> they lined up before the newsreel cameras. >> john, age 21. >> smiled. everybody had something to say. >> this is my first trip to europe, and i was very excited. i couldn't get to sleep last night. >> there's all these quotes in newspapers saying got 11 ambassadors for the price of one or something. >> the london zoo is opened by masters kennedy who quickly get on sympathetic terms with the animals. >> so the whole family was accepted with a lot of buzz. >> the kennedys understand before any other american family the role of glamour. and until now, glamour is something that is really the
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province of hollood. the kennedys pull it over into the province of politics. really, for the first time in the modern way and, as a result, everybody is in love with this family. >> the kennedy family really represented america on the rise. an immigrant country where anybody could get ahead if they were smart enough, if they were ambitious enough. people would look at the kennedy and see the american dream. >> there's a moment when joe and rose, his beautiful wife, are at windsor castle with the king and queen and joe says, rose, we have come a hell of a long way from east boston. >> joseph kennedy grew up in a boston in which protestant patricians looked down on the irish. so he was constantly fighting those prejudices, aware of those prejudices. >> our family were immigrants.
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my grandmother used to tell stories about how she would pass signs as a little girl saying no irish need apply. and you should never underestimate the i'll show you motive in history. >> joe kennedy's insecurity about being an irish catholic fed his drive and his ambition that he was going to prove to people that he was as good as they thought that he wasn't. >> joe was a marvelous, a master businessman, dealmaker, stock manipulator. >> my mother, in honor of his birthday, made this wonderful flag of a bear because he was the bear of wall street. he shorted wall street. he was such a force. >> he's a rogue. he's a little dodgy. he's a bit of a bad boy, and he's terrifically successful. >> joseph kennedy tells his children and tells rose over and over and over again, i am making
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all this money so my children don't have to. so my boys and my girls can go into public service. >> thank you very much for asking me to speak. >> rose fitzgerald kennedy is an astute matriarch and equally as ambitious for her children. >> rose kennedy had an extraordinarily refined political mind, which is not surprising. she came from a political family, and her father was the mayor of boston. >> the dinner table was always as much about current events as it was about food. they had to be able to explain what was going on in the world. and they had to be able to do it in an articulate way. >> i kid you not. my grandmother rose would have famous quotations pinned to her sweaters.
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if the conversation ever lagged, she'd start memorizing her famous quotations. because she said, you never know, somebody might ask you to give a speech and you have to say something appropriate. >> rose kennedy is deeply religious. prominent catholic families. they go to the pope's conation. most of that is coming from rose. >> she trained her children how to be good catholics, and she trained her sons to be leaders. her daughters to raise lots of catholic children. >> joe kennedy was phenomenally ambitious to be rich. he'd achieve that. he has a beautiful family, and he's america's representative to the court of st. james. but he wanted to be president of the united states. >> as war clouds gather over europe, a shadow is cast over joseph p. kennedy's dreams.
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>> what's clear is that joseph p. kennedy ends up on the wrong side of history in a dramatic way. ♪ get into my car ♪ get into my car ♪ ♪ get outta... applebee's to go. order online and get $10 off $30. now that's eatin' good in the neighborhood.
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great britain and nazi germany. >> he's concerned if the british go to war, the united states will go to war. he believes that war is ruinous to a country's finances. >> joe kennedy talked about how the best role for america was to remain neutral. and the best role in terms of the nazis was to appease them, work with them, somehow not have to go to war against the >> he believed he could make a deal with hitler and that hitler was a rational politician and statesman, and in this he was very, very wrong. >> he never saw the moral challenge that hitler posed. >> i have to tell you now this country is at war with germany. >> once war broke out, ambassador kennedy wailed, "it's
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the end of everything." kennedy is convinced the hitler war machine is unstoppable. england will simply be devoured. >> almost as soon as britain goes to war, joe decides he's going to send the children home. >> the u.s. line in washington brings home the biggest group of refugees. among returning notables are mrs. joseph p. kennedy and children. >> my wife and i have given nine hostages to fortune. our children and your children are more important than anything else in the world. >> joseph is called a coward for his decision to send his family home. for his opposition to the war, he is branded a nazi sympathizer. >> roosevelt privately called kennedy a fascist. >> and once britain was in war
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fighting back, and joe was still trying to appease, he was too outspoken and he was called back to washington. >> president roosevelt did not want to appease. roosevelt wanted to fight. and the last thinghat fdr needed was an appeaser as ambassador tgrt britain. >> nothing to say until i've seen the president. >> so he was finished. >> joseph kennedy goes from being a legitimate power broker in the united states and a player in international politics to being a pariah. >> when he crashed and burned as ambassador to great britain, that not only cost him his job, it cost him his notion he could become president. and almost from the moment he realized he couldn't do it, the aspiration was his kids would do it. >> joseph passes his ambitions on to joe jr.
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kathleen, known as kick, and jack. he calls them his golden trio. his eldest son, joe jr., was not only handsome, but athletically gifted. he was the heir-apparent. joe junior's father and mother believed that he would be the one to carry the standard for the family. >> his younger son jack is overshadowed by joe jr. in his father's mind, but i think having a bit lower expectation gave jack a chance to be himself. it gave him a kind of freedom to be a kid in a way that i think it would have been tougher for joe junior. >> jack and kathleen were the closest. they were both troublemakers. they were both fun, mischievous, and they had each other's backs. she was very popular among boys. it was because she was vivacious and she was charming, and she was funny, and she spoke back
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and had opinions. she did sort of stand out. >> as america enters the war, joseph seizes an opportunity to restore the kennedy name. >> once the united states was in wae was art enough to know there was no stopping them. they were going to go in. at was t patriotic thing to do. sure enough, joe kennedy helped them. >> joseph p. kennedy jr. reports for preliminary training. >> joe kennedy was the oldest son and, therefore, the most beholden to please dad. and joe kennedy wanted joe junior to be president of the united states. >> now it's a first seat in america's defense for a young man who saw what happened over there. >> unlike joe, jack was not dutiful. he had a little bit of a rebellious streak. gallivanting around, chasing girls. he was also sick a lot.
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>> when jack is 2 years old, he contracts scarlet fever, and he is basically sick for the rest of his life. fallen arches, bad knees, chronic colds. you name it, he had it. >> jack gets an office job in the navy intelligence service. because jack is disabled in any number of ways. it's during that office job that he takes up with a woman. >> she's a danish journalist called inga arvad. they have this very intense affair, and the problem was that the fbi were recording some of these romantic sessions. >> inga arvad is a great beauty, but she was allegedly a german spy. and that made it a bit awkward.
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>> jack kennedy is in naval intelligence. it's nazi intelligence trying to take advantage of the kennedys to learn secrets. the fbi decides to let joseph kennedy know what jack was up to with inga. >> he thought that in his son's best interest, it was important for him to go to a war zone to wind this thing up. >> realizing jack's womanizing could further damage the family name, joseph intervenes to get him posted to the south pacific. with joe junior training as a bomber pilot, two of his golden trio are now in the line of fire. spell-bindingly good?o it's a bold blend of coffee wi rich flavors of uganda, sumatra, colombia and other parts of south america. like these mountai, ch amang on their own. but together? magical. all, for a smoother tasting cup of coffee. green mountain coffee roasters.
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joe and rose raised their children with the sense that they were superhuman, invulnerable, golden children. and they felt that nothing was ever going to happen to them. but the kennedys are harboring a painful family secret. >> from a young age, rosemary, the eldest kennedy daughter, was
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a bit slow. >> she was diagnosed with learning disability at the age of about 6 or 7. >> it's the moment when as a debutante she is presented at court. and that is rosemary kennedy, daughter of the american ambassador. >> her mother decides that she should have time at home with tutors to help teach her how to keep up with the other children in a way that's very modern. >> the standard practice is that she'd be sent to an institution and grandma and grandpa said we're not going to do that. we're going to keep rosemary at home and we're going to raise her with her other siblings. >> as she hit puberty, rosemary goes to being somebody who was quite uncontrollable. there were sexual urges, and she's found with men. she's so vulnerable. it would be easy for men to take advantage of her.
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>> mr. kennedy, in particular, was afraid she would get pregnant or get a disease. what were they to do? >> they had tried together to find every conceivable cure for rosemary. none of them worked. >> joe kennedy read about this brand-new procedure called the prefrontal lobotomy, only done on people with the most serious physical and medical conditions, never on somebody like rosemary. >> joe was convinced rosemary's lobotomy would somehow fix things and miraculously she would become like all the other kennedys. >> in the kennedy family, joe made the serious decisions, and rose let him do that. >> and so without consulting rosemary's mother or rosemary herself, he decides that this is the procedure she should have
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done. >> the surgeon gives the patient a local. and then begins to cut into the prefrontal lobe. the surgeon asks the patient to sing, and the surgeon continues cutting as long as the patient sings. rosemary is a very dutiful daughter, and she sings and she sings and she sings. and when she stopped singing, she has the mental age of a 5-year-old. >> by the end of the procedure, she's basically lost the ability to talk, and it's clear that this has gone terribly wrong. >> and rosemary is then institutionalized from 1941 until she passes in 2005.
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>> i think that experience of having a sister who suffered from intellectual disabilities ended up having a ripple effect in our family. and years later my aunt eunice played a critical role in recognizing the rights of people who have intellectual disabilities. >> this is the first tragedy to befall the kennedy family. rose is overwhelmed by what happened to their daughter. they were also overwhelmed by the fact that her second son, jack, who is physically very weak, enlists for what is probably the most physically difficult job in the navy.
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>> he's in charge of pt-109, which is a small patrol torpedo boat in the pacific theater. >> the pt boat is a new type of craft to carry torpedoes to strike the enemy below the belt. >> jack has a terrible, terrible back. to serve in a pt boat is only going to exacerbate every problem that he's got. >> jack kennedy's pt boat was on patrol on a moonless dark night. >> so they don't see this giant japanese ship coming straight at them. it basically slices jfk's boat in half.
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>> jack is thrown into the bulkhead, injuring his back. two of his crew are gone. and they are surrounded by burning in the water. >> those back at the base presume the worst. they presume that there are no survivors, and they hold a religious service, a mass for kennedy and his crew. >> joe kennedy gets a telegram that his son is missing and just sits on the news. he doesn't tell his family. he doesn't want to scare them. >> when tragedy struck, the kennedy family, joe senior didn't share it with other members.
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like his wife, the mother of his children. >> and so he lives with this kind of private agony, wondering whether his second son is dead. ♪ (vo) treating others like we'd like to be treated has always been our guiding principle. ♪ the fastest samsung ever demands t-mobile, the fastest network ever. right now get the new samsung galaxy s9 for half off.
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his boat cut in half by a japase destroyer in the south pacific. 26-year-old lieutenant john
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fitzgerald kennedy is missing in action. >> kennedy said i'm the skipper. we're going to have to swim. and they say, but skipper, it's miles to the nearest island. >> one of his men is wounded. and jack, a skinny little guy, tows a man much bigger for miles. >> they swam for hours. they found an island, but this was japanese-occupied territory. two solomon island natives found them and said we will try to help you, but they didn't speak very good english. so kennedy took a coconut, and using his knife, he writes out a message that says 11 alive, native knows position. needs small boat, kennedy. >> the coconut reaches allied lines and kennedy and his crew are rescued.
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>> the point of pt-109 is it was not regarded by john f. kennedy or anyone in that combat zone as any act of heroism. it was a disaster. >> jack should have been court-martialed because he allowed his boat to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. >> joseph kennedy sees an opportunity to turn disaster into triumph. >> joe kennedy was still politically connected and immediately intervened. and it was only through a carefully managed investigation, joe kennedy was overseeing it, make sure that the story came out right that it became this great heroic myth of jfk saving his crew. >> warner brothers bngs to the screen one of the most important
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adventures ever billed. >> it became a book and years later a movie. it was a certification of leadership. it was a certification of courage. it became central to the story of jack kennedy. >> a young man i play is a fellow from boston. his name lieutenant john f. kennedy. >> jack kennedy becomes the military hero, the kind of selfless man. and it's an important part of this narrative being crafted around him. >> joe junior is jealous. his little brother is a hero. and joe junior is not. >> it was extremely difficult for joe junior. he'd always been the oldest brother, the golden boy. >> there's a banquet for jack in boston. and afterwards, joe came home and wept and said i'll show them. >> for a final inspection. they've trained long and hard
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for these ships. you're on your way, joe. this is it. >> joe junior leaves to join the allies in europe, seizing his opportunity to become a kennedy hero. >> whether you were british or american, the ultimate in being the dashing war hero was being a pilot. that's what joe did and took on the scariest of missions, which was flying a liberator bomber, going after the greatest threat to the western alliance, which was german u-boats. >> kick also joins the war effort volunteering for the american red cross in england. kathleen kennedy was a charming girl who wowed the boys and met one of the richest and most socially prestigious, the oldest son of the duke of devonshire. >> he was london's most eligible bachelor.
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he was heir to the chatsworth estate. he was a catch. >> duty calls. seat of the duke of devonshire. >> one would thing joe and rose would be completely thrilled that their daughter had risen to these dizzying heights, but unfortunately, billy was suitable in evway except for one. he wn't roman catholic. >> there's a complex of feelings. joseph kennedy saw a romance as a sense that the kennedys had arrived. however, what's so interesting is that rose didn't share the same sense of success. for her, kick's romance threatened her sense of identity and her sense of the family's identity. >> kick becomes the first of the kennedy children to marry, but the union is not blessed by her parents.
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>> her older brother joe was by her side on her wedding day and no one else. they could have been married at chatsworth with a thousand guests, but instead they were married in a registry office in which she described as a squalid affair. >> in the summer of 1944, the kennedy family gathers at hyannis port on the coast of massachusetts. but joe junior sends disappointing news. >> his father and mother expected him home any day now. then in july they get this strange letter and he says, i'm part of a special mission, but don't worry. it's not dangerous. see you in september. >> joe kennedy has already flown his 25 missions. he could go home, but he volunteers for extra duty. he's going to fly in a bomber stuffed with explosives towards a secret german weapon on the
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french coast. >> he would set the fuse and then he would bail out of the plane along with his co-pilot over the english channel. the plane would be set on remote and it would attack these super guns that were being put in place by hitler on the coast of france. and this was, in joe kennedy jr.'s mind, a way to be a hero. >> he said in case i don't come back, please tell my father i love him very much. aka "the se"" oh! there's one. manatees in novelty ts? surprising. what's "come at me bro?" it's something you say to a friend.
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>> rose sees two priests draw up to the family home. they say we're here to speak to mr. kennedy. she says, oh, he's napping. would you like to come in? would you like some tea? they say, no, we have some very bad news about joe. >> they get upstairs and tell joe the terrible news that his beloved son has been killed in action. joe has to then come down and tell the rest of the assembled clan that joe is dead. he said, there's no time for crying. we have to get on with the living. kennedys don't cry. and jack says, he wouldn't want us sitting here crying over him. we're going to go sailing. and that's what they did. >> in joe kennedy's rage over the death of his son, he blamed fdr. he said that son of a bitch
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roosevelt got my son killed. obviously, an outrageous statement, but it shows the depth of pain that joe felt. >> after his death, it was really jfk who had to step up, and there was actually a moment where his father said, okay, you're next. >> just after joe junior died, jack said to one of his friends, i can feel my father's breath on my neck. >> after the war, joe senior pressures jack to launch his political career. >> jack really wasn't ready for the role that he was about to take on. first of all, he was young. and second of all, all the attention up to that point had been on grooming joe. >> but the kennedys always find a way to make their dreams come true.
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and for joe kennedy sr. in 1946, his dream is to have jack go to congress. the problem is that there is no seat open to run for in boston. but there is one that's being held in the 11th district by an infamous politician called james michael curly. >> joe buys him off by retiring makes him go away and run for mayor, opening the seat for jack. and jack suddenly finds himself out walking the streets, shaking hands, kissing babies, having to learn to be a politician. >> from dawn to dusk, kennedy worked. he began the day at factories. at 6:00 in the morning, and he kept going with meeting after meeting after meeting. until late at night when he would collapse into the bathtub, first to ease the pain in his
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back. >> joe kennedy is smart enough to know that his profile is not good. he was an appeaser. he knows he needs to stay in the shadows, in the background. but joe has the money. so joe provides the funds to make jack's career possible. >> "readers digest" featured john kennedy as a hero from the pacific war. his father saw to it, it was given maximum publicity. i think 100,000 copies of the "reader's digest" article were purchased by joe kennedy sr. to help campaign. father later said for the amount of money i spent on that campaign, i could have elected my chauffeur. >> that standing of being a war hero is something they know how to make very good use of. >> joe kennedy's money absolutely helps.
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but it's pt-109, plus the family's energy, plus the family's political contacts that prove to be a winning combination in 1946. >> jack kennedy was elected to the house of representatives. >> but jack's exertions on the campaign tilake a heavy toll. >> he gets sick. and doctors determine that he has addison's disease which leads to a weak immune system, making him susceptible to diseases and infections. >> at first, the doctors think jack is going to die young. but they are developing treatments at this time that can effectively keep jack alive. >> the family don't want jack's illness to become an open story, so in fact the story goes out to the press that jack is suffering from a recurring bout of malaria.
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>> at just 30 years old, jack faces his own mortality. >> he was a fatalist. he talked about death a lot. it didn't scare him. he had this sense it was going to happen, probably sooner rather than later. and that certainly helped make him a young man in a hurry. even a "red-hot mascot." [mascot] hey-oooo! whoop, whoop! [crowd 1] hey, you're on fire! [mascot] you bet i am! [crowd 2] dude, you're on fire! [mascot] oh, yeah! [crowd 3] no, you're on fire! look behind you. [mascot] i'm cool. i'm cool. [burke] that's one way to fire up the crowd. but we covered it. talk to farmers. we know a thing or two because we've seen a thing or two. ♪ we are farmers. bum-pa-dum, bum-bum-bum-bum ♪
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joseph p kennedy had predicted that the best and the brightest of his children's generation would die in a war. and now this had happened, not only to joe jr., but to kick's beloved husband. >> kick had defied her family to marry the love of her life, billy hartington, only to lose m. the heir to the estate was killed by a german sniper. >> the timing was brutal. they had only weeks together as a married couple before he left, and to be widowed so young was devastating. >> i think rose kennedy was very sad about that for kathleen. but there had been terrible problems in the family over that marriage because billy
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hartington was protestant and she must have a feeling that kathleen could come back to the united states and back into the church with full membership. rose prays that this would be the safing grace for kathleen. but after billy's death, kick decides to stay in england. england's in her blood. kick at this time is seriously considering a career in politics and becoming a member of parliament. she's very politically engaged at this point and then in just a few years all of the factors come to an end. >> in 1948, kathleen tells her parents that she's fallen in love a second time with a british nobleman, an anglican who is married and has a child and she tells her parents that as soon as peter divorce is
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final that she will marry him. >> peter fitz william was a bad boy. he was into gambling, he was into horse races, into women. he was protestant and he was married. to be involved withebod liim was the ultimate sin in rose's es. >> rose says kick will be marrying a divorced man, which will mean that it's not a valid marriage in the eyes of the catholic church and so she has to tell her beloved daughter that she must disown her if she goes through with the marriage. she really genuinely believed that her daughter's soul would go to hell. >> i think it was clear to kick that there were no chances getting her mother's approval but she believed there was some margin with her dad. her father is coming over to paris on business in 1948 and
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she makes an arrangement with him that she and peter fitz william will come meet him and kathleen's hope is that he will then give his blessing to the marriage. before though, they have their meeting, kathleen and peter decide that they will take a mini holiday in the south of france in the riviera. >> prince william and kick decide to fly down. the weather is terrible. the pilot says we can't go, it's too dangerous but fitz william is a reckless man and insists that they fly. >> a terrible thunderstorm strikes and they crash into a mountainside in the valley. the pilot, the co-pilot, kick and her fiance are all lost. >> joe kennedy never sees his daughter again except in a casket.
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jack learned that his beloved sister, kick, has died in france. jack kennedy is a man who doesn't cry or rarely shows emotions but that day jack kennedy breaks down. >> jack is totally debilitated by grief. and he is supposed to organize the family to go to the funeral in england but he can't do it. >> he got in a car to go to the airport, fly to her funeral and didn't get on the plane. joe was informed and was the only family member to show up at her funeral. rose called kick's death divine retribution. >> my wife and i have given nine hostages to fortune.
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>> joe kennedy lost his oldest son joe, jr. he lost his older daughter rose marry to a botched lobotomy that had ended her life as far as the family was concerned and beloved kick was gone too. there is woven through the kennedys a sense of doom and by the late 40s only jack remains of the golden trio. >> the torch was passed to him. his parents' ambitions were now his ambitions. the burden of taking the dine citi forward was his burden. >> this season on "american d e dynasties" the kennedys. >> we could see a different world. >> confident and unafraid, we
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must labor on. >> they made a lot more enemies than friends and some of those enemies are truly dangerous. >> with the kennedys it's always tragedy and triumph mixed together. what would it take to put your family in the white house? charisma? vitality? an adoring wife? john f kennedy seems the perfect candidate but behind the facade lurked dark secrets. jfk will need everything his family can offer, blam moglamouy and power to win the presidency of the united states.

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