1925 (20th November)
Robert Francis Kennedy was born to Joseph P Kennedy
and his wife Rose nee Fitzgerald
in Brookline Massachusetts. Known as Bobby, he was the couple’s 7th child. He had two older brothers, Joseph
and four older sisters Rosemary, Kathleen, Eunice and Patricia.
The Kennedy family moved to Riverdale, New York to avoid an outbreak of polio.
1928 (20th February)
Bobby’s sister Jean Ann was born.
The Kennedy family moved to Bronxville.
Bobby began his education at Riverdale Country School.
1932 (22nd February)
Robert Kennedy’s brother Edward Moore (known as Ted) was born.
Bobby attended Bronxville Public School.
Robert Kennedy’s father became ambassador to the United Kingdom.
Robert Kennedy, his mother and younger siblings went to the United Kingdom where Joseph Kennedy was ambassador. While in London he attended Gibbs School for Boys.
1939 (late Summer)
Robert Kennedy returned to the United States from London.
Robert Kennedy attended St Paul’s School, a Protestant prep school in New Hampshire. The school had been chosen by his father.
Rose Kennedy, who was fiercely Catholic, removed Robert Kennedy from the Protestant St Paul’s School and sent him to the Catholic Portsmouth Priory School on Rhode Island.
Robert moved school again, this time to Milton Academy, Massachusetts. His father believed that this school would prepare him for Harvard University. Bobby later stated that continually changing schools made it difficult for him to form friendships. However, at Milton he formed a life-long friendship with David Hackett.
Robert enlisted in the United States Naval Reserve as a seaman apprentice.
Robert F Kennedy began V-12 naval training at Harvard College, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
1944 (11th June)
Bobby’s brother, John Kennedy
, who was known as Jack by the family, was awarded the Marine Corps Medal and a Purple Heart for his actions in saving crew members after his PT-109 boat sank.
1944 (12th August)
Robert’s older brother, Joseph Jr, who was serving in the US airforce, was killed.
Robert Kennedy transferred to Bates College, Lewiston, Maine.
Robert returned to Harvard to complete his post-training degree.
Robert first met Ethel Skakel, a classmate of Robert’s sister, Jean, on a ski trip to Quebec.
1945 (15th December)
The US Navy commissioned the ship USS Joseph P Kennedy Jr in memory of Robert’s elder brother.
1946 (1st February)
Robert served on board the ship USS Joseph P Kennedy Jr.
1946 (30th May)
Robert Kennedy was discharged from the navy.
Robert spent time helping his brother John in his campaign to become a US Representative.
Robert attended Harvard University where he studied political science. He entered as a Junior having been given 2 years’ credit for his study with the naval program.
Robert’s brother, John was elected to the House of Representatives.
1948 (13th May)
Robert Kennedy’s sister, Kathleen was killed in a plane crash.
Robert gained his degree from Harvard University.
Robert began a tour of Europe and the Middle East. While away he wrote stories for the Boston Post newspaper.
Bobby entered the University of Virginia School of Law in Charlottesville.
Robert Kennedy became engaged to Ethel Skakel.
1950 (17th June)
Robert Kennedy married Ethel Skakel at St Mary’s Catholic Church, Greenwich, Connecticut.
Robert Kennedy graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in law.
1951 (4th July)
A daughter, Kathleen Hartington, was born to Robert and Ethel Kennedy at Greenwich, Connecticut.
Robert Kennedy went on a foreign trip with his elder brother, John and sister, Pat. They visited India, Israel, Japan and Vietnam.
Robert Kennedy began working as a lawyer in the Internal Security Section of the Criminal Department of Justice.
Robert Kennedy began working in the US Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn working on fraud cases.
1952 (6th June)
Bobby resigned his post in the US Attorney’s Office to become campaign manager for his brother John’s election to the Senate.
1952 (24th September)
A son, Joseph Patrick was born to Robert and Ethel Kennedy at Boston Massachusetts.
John Kennedy beat Republican candidate Henry Cabot Lodge and was elected to the U S Senate.
Robert Kennedy began working with Senator Joseph McCarthy on the US Senate Permanent Sub-Committee on Investigations. He frequently disagreed with McCarthy’s aggressive method of investigation of suspected Communists.
1953 (12th September)
John Kennedy married Jacqueline Bouvier
, daughter of John Vernon and Janet Lee Bouvier in Newport.
1954 (17th January)
A son, Robert Francis Jr was born to Robert and Ethel Kennedy at Washington DC.
Robert made a permanent enemy of McCarthy’s chief counsel, Roy Cohn after he challenged Cohn for calling the wrong Annie Lee Moss in a Communist accusation.
1955 (15th June)
A son, David Anthony was born to Robert and Ethel Kennedy at Washington DC.
Robert moved his family to Hickory Hill, McLean, Virginia, a 13 bedroom home which he purchased from his brother, John.
Robert worked as an aide to Democrat Adlai Stevenson during his presedential campaign.
1956 (17th August)
Robert’s brother, John, failed to secure the Democratic nomination for Vice President to Adlai Stevenson.
1956 (9th September)
A daughter, Courtney was born to Robert and Ethel Kennedy at Boston Massachusetts.
1957 (30th January)
Robert was appointed chief counsel to the Senate’s McClellan Committee led by John McClellan. The committee was set up to investigate criminal or improper practices in labour and management.
1958 (27th February)
A son, Michael LeMoyne was born to Robert and Ethel Kennedy at Washington DC.
1959 (8th September)
A daughter, Mary Kerry was born to Robert and Ethel Kennedy at Washington DC.
Robert resigned his post on the McClellan Committee to lead his brother, John Kennedy’s Presidential campaign.
Robert Kennedy published ‘The Enemy Within’ an account of the McClellan Committee’s crusade against corrupt labour unions.
1960 (2nd January)
Robert’s elder brother, John Kennedy formally announced his intention to run for President of the United States.
1960 (13th July)
John Kennedy won the Democratic nomination for President. Against Robert’s advice, John chose Lyndon Johnson
as his running mate. Robert tried to persuade Johnson to turn down the offer but he accepted. The two actively disliked each other.
1960 (19th October)
Martin Luther King was arrested during a restaurant sit-in and sentenced to four months in jail. He was released after intervention by John Kennedy and Robert Kennedy.
1961 (20th January)
John Kennedy was sworn in as President of the United States. He was the youngest elected President and the first Roman Catholic President. During his inaugural speech he spoke his famous words “ask not what your country can do for you .. ask what you can do for your country”.
Robert Kennedy was appointed Attorney General. The move was not well received by Senators who felt that Bobby did not have the experience needed for the role. Robert quickly became his brother’s main adviser further alienating Vice President Lyndon Johnson.
Robert was determined to stamp out organised crime in the United States and pursued known criminals and members of the Mafia. His overruling of FBI Director J Edgar Hoover on strategy led to a mutual dislike between the two men.
1961 (17th April)
Bay of Pigs
An American backed invasion of Cuba to overthrow Communist Fidel Castro via the Bay of Pigs failed and many troops lost their lives.
John Kennedy sent Lyndon Johnson to South Vietnam to meet President Ngo Dinh Diem to assess the situation and advise how best to prevent the spread of communism.
1961 (25th May)
John F Kennedy stated that America would put a man on the moon
by the end of the decade.
1961 (4th June)
John Kennedy met Soviet leader,
Nikita Khrushchev, in Vienna to discuss the escalating crisis over the status of Berlin. Robert Kennedy had been instrumental in organising the meeting.
1961 (12th August)
During the night, the Soviet Union erected a wall through Berlin separating the East and West of the city.
1961 (27th October)
A standoff in Berlin between US and Soviet tanks ended after John Kennedy decided that a wall through Berlin was preferable to a war.
Edgar Hoover gave Robert evidence that some of those involved with Martin Luther King
were Communists. Kennedy, who supported the Civil Rights Movement
, warned King to discontinue his association with Jack O’Dell and Stanley Levison who were under suspicion. However, King maintained his close relationship with Levison.
Robert Kennedy published ‘Just Friends and Brave Enemies’ an account of Kennedy’s travels abroad.
1962 (27th September)
Black student James Meredith had been granted permission by the courts to attend Mississippi University however, state governor Ross Barnet refused to let him attend.
1962 (29th September)
A riot broke out in Mississippi by whites opposed to the integration of black students. Robert Kennedy responded by sending in the National Guard.
1962 (1st October)
James Meredith became the first black student to enrol at the university of Mississippi.
1962 (15th October)
1962 (22nd October)
Cuban Missile Crisis
John Kennedy ordered that a naval blockade be placed around Cuba. Robert was a strong supporter of this action.
1962 (28th October)
Cuban Missile Crisis
The Soviet Union backed down and agreed to remove missiles from Cuba.
1962 (7th November)
Bobby’s brother, Edward Kennedy became Senator for Massachusetts.
1963 (11th June)
President John Kennedy intervened after Alabama Governor George Wallace refused to allow African American students, Vivian Malone and James Hood, from entering the university. That night he made a television address stating that he would impose legislation to ensure that everyone had equal access to education and equal voting rights.
1963 (4th July)
A son, Christopher George was born to Robert and Ethel Kennedy at Boston Massachusetts.
Robert Kennedy approved a request by the FBI to bug Martin Luther King’s telephone line for a short period of time. Hoover later extended the authorisation without Kennedy’s permission.
1963 (21st November)
John and Jackie Kennedy began a tour of Texas.
1963 (22nd November, 12.30 pm)
John Kennedy was shot in the head in Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas as he was riding in an open-top limousine. During the shooting Governor of Texas, John Conally was also hit.
1963 (22nd November, around 1 pm)
J Edgar Hoover telephoned Robert Kennedy to tell him that his brother had been shot.
1963 (22nd November, 1 pm)
John Fitzgerald Kennedy was pronounced dead by doctors at the Parkland Memorial Hospital.
1963 (22nd November, after 1 pm)
Presidential aide, Tazewell Shepard, telephoned Robert Kennedy to tell him that his brother had died of his injuries.
1963 (22nd November, 1.30 pm)
Robert received a telephone call from Vice President Lyndon Johnson. Robert reluctantly agreed that Johnson should be immediately sworn in as President of the United States.
1963 (22nd November, 1.50pm)
Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested and charged with the assassination
of John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
1963 (24th November)
Jack Ruby assassinated Lee Harvey Oswald.
1963 (25th November)
Robert walked behind the casket of John F Kennedy to the Cathedral of St Matthew the Apostle in Washington where a funeral service was held. Afterwards Kennedy was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Robert Kennedy resigned as Attorney General.
Robert Kennedy published ‘The Pursuit of Justice’ a collection of speeches made during his time as Attorney General.
Many Democrats called for Lyndon Johnson to nominate Robert Kennedy as his Vice President. However, neither Johnson nor Kennedy wanted to work together and Johnson chose Hubert Humphrey as his running mate.
1964 (22nd August)
Robert Kennedy announced his intention to stand for election as US Senator for New York.
1964 (27th August)
Robert Kennedy had been asked to introduce a short film in honour of his brother at the Democrat Party Convention. Robert’s appearance provoked 22 minutes of applause, something which visibly moved him.
1964 (24th September)
The Warren Commission, set up to investigate the assassination of John Kennedy, concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald had acted alone.
Lyndon Johnson was elected President of the United States by a large majority. Robert Kennedy was elected Senator for New York in the election.
1965 (11th January)
A son, Matthew Maxwell (Max) was born to Robert and Ethel Kennedy at Manhattan, New York.
Robert Kennedy spoke in the Senate in favour of increased gun control. He supported a move to restrict the purchase of guns by mail order.
Kennedy put in place a number of programs in New York aimed at helping the poor, the young and racial minorities.
Although he had initially supported US involvement in Vietnam, Robert Kennedy now became concerned at the level of involvement and the extent of suffering the war was causing.
Robert and Ethel Kennedy made a visit to South Africa. While there, Robert spoke against apartheid.
1967 (28th January)
Robert Kennedy began a 10 day visit to Europe.
1967 (24th March)
A son, Douglas Harriman was born to Robert and Ethel Kennedy at Washington DC.
1967 (5th June)
Six Day War
This was a conflict where Israel seized control of Palestine controlled Gaza Strip, the West Bank and the old city of Jerusalem. Following the conflict, Robert Kennedy expressed his support for Israel.
Robert Kennedy declared that he would not be seeking the Democratic nomination for President.
1968 (8th February)
Robert spoke in Chicago against the Vietnam War.
Robert Kennedy went to California to meet with Cesar Chavez who was on a hunger strike in protest against discrimination towards the Latino community and workers. Kennedy was shocked by the level of poverty and poor conditions of the people.
1968 (16th March)
Bobby Kennedy announced his intention to stand for nomination as the Democratic candidate for the Presidency.
1968 (31st March)
Lyndon Johnson announced that he would not be standing for re-election.
1968 (4th April)
Martin Luther King was assassinated by James Earl Ray on the balcony of his motel in Memphis.
1968 (5th April)
Robert Kennedy made a speech entitled ‘On the Mindless Menace of Violence’ calling for an end to the violence following King’s assassination.
1968 (7th May)
Kennedy won the Indiana Democratic primary election.
1968 (14th May)
Kennedy won the Nebraska Democratic primary election.
1968 (28th May)
Kennedy lost the Oregon Democratic primary election to Joseph McCarthy.
1968 (4th June)
Kennedy won the California Democratic primary election.
1968 (5th June)
At just after midnight, Kennedy left the ballroom of the Ambassador Hotel for the press room. He was taken through the hotel kitchen as it was a short cut. He was shot three times by Sirhan Bishara Sirhan, a Palestinian national, and fell to the floor. Five other people were wounded.
1968 (6th June 1.44 am)
Robert Kennedy died from the injuries sustained in the shooting.
1968 (8th June)
After a funeral service at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Robert Kennedy was buried at Arlington Cemetery next to his brother John.
Published Feb 2, 2020 @ 5:15 pm – Updated –
Harvard Reference for this page:
Heather Y Wheeler. (2020). Robert (Bobby) Kennedy 1925 – 1968. Available: https://www.totallytimelines.com/robert-bobby-kennedy-1925-1968. Last accessed April 17th, 2021