MLK was a womanizer

Revealed : Jacky Kennedy unpacks: Martin Luther King a "hypocrite"

The civil rights activist Martin Luther King, to whom Washington recently erected a memorial, is a "hypocrite" who arranges sex orgies in hotels. Indira Gandhi, who later became Prime Minister of India, was "a real turkey - sullen, tactless, a terrible woman". Charles de Gaulle, the French President, is an "egomaniac". Madame de Gaulle "looked like a woman who has been through a lot, very exhausted". This is what Jacqueline Kennedy, President John F. Kennedy's widow, sees it.

Forty-seven years ago, a few months after her husband was murdered, the former first lady conducted seven interviews with historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., who was also a special advisor to President Kennedy. In the six and a half hours that the then 34-year-old Jacqueline Kennedy spoke to Schlesinger, she not only expresses her sometimes unflattering opinion about the powerful of her time, she also grants deep insights into the work of her husband, gives conversations with him and tells about their marriage and the private John F. Kennedy. So far, at Jacqueline Kennedy's request, the tapes had been kept top secret, kept by her daughter Caroline, who was to publish it in good time. The time has now come: 50 years after her father became president, she made the interview available to the public, and today the transcripts appear in a book.

The interviews provide new, intimate insights into the person of John F. Kennedy and into his presidency, which lasted only two years. So he did not have a very high opinion of his deputy and successor Lyndon B. Johnson and asked his wife: "Oh God, can you imagine how this country would fare if Johnson ever becomes president?" That was particularly close to him Bay of Pigs Debacle Gone When Planned Cuban Exile Invasion failed. Then she saw her husband cry.

She doesn’t think of John F. Kennedy. He was a lovable, loving, and indulgent husband. She praises his good taste, "his loyalty", sensitivity and courage. She does not say a word about the numerous affairs that are said of him. In return, she speaks all the more about amiable idiosyncrasies. Her husband took a nap every afternoon in the White House - in his pajamas. The only Catholic president in the USA was not really a believer. Although he went to church every Sunday, he was not stable in his faith. Still, every night the President knelt on the edge of the bed and prayed, if only for a few seconds. “It was a childish habit. But I thought it was cute. I was amused to watch him do it. "

John F. Kennedy was the youngest US president ever elected. In 1961, at the age of just 43, he moved into the White House. In November 1963, after 1,036 days as President, he was shot dead in the street in Dallas, Texas.

In 1968 Jacqueline Kennedy married the Greek shipowner Aristotle Onassis. The journalist and publisher's editor died in 1994 without leaving any memoirs. The seven-part interview with the historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. is one of only three that she conducted after the death of her husband. Over 450 pages, the book is an exact copy of the seven conversations, supplemented by numerous footnotes that explain the context or sprinkle in details. It is also illustrated with numerous photos of the Kennedy family. In the foreword, Caroline Kennedy explains her motives for publishing the interviews. There is no longer any reasonable reason to postpone the publication any longer, she writes. In view of the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy presidency, it seemed inadmissible to withhold her mother's point of view from the public and scholarly debate, given the important role she played during the presidency of John F. Kennedy.

Jacqueline Kennedy: A Life with John F. Kennedy - Interviews with Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., 1964; Hoffmann and Campe, Hamburg 2011, 24.99 euros.

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