Assasination Of Jfk Essay, Research Paper
The Military-Industrial Complex Theory and the role it played in the Assassination of President Kennedy s assassination proven by Oliver Stone in his movie JFK
To sin by silence when we should protest makes cowards of men.
- Ella Wheeler Wilcox
This quote begins Oliver Stone s 1991 epic, JFK. This is by no mistake. Stone is setting the tone for the rest of his movie. President Kennedy s 1963 assassination still remains today as one of the worst atrocities modern America has witnessed. Questions are raised today, nearly forty years later, was the President a victim of some well schemed plot, a conspiracy, or was he gunned down by a single lone gunman, as the Warren Commission wants us to believe. This is an extremely confusing issue with hundreds of different points of view with pros and cons of all. Stone doesn t try and prove nor disapprove a single conspiracy theory he just tries to open the American public s mind to the possibility of a conspiracy or even further a coupe de ta. He wants us to believe that maybe all were in on the killing together. Not only is this a confusing theory to follow, but with the continual flashbacks, fabricated black and white newsreels and powerful quotes it only adds to our visual roller coaster. Critics against the film claimed that Stone mixed fact and conjecture so seamlessly that it is difficult to find the difference. This style could be seen as a knock on the film, but in any propaganda film there must be falsehoods and exaggerations to get the point across. It only adds to the films intensity and urgent feeling throughout.
Stone presents a theory that seems to sum up all of the conspiracies into one. He calls it the Military Industrial complex theory. The theme takes shape from the first visual image of the film. We hear President Eisenhower s voice through the beginning credits then a flash to his farewell from office speech. This speech was when Eisenhower told of the public s obsession with the arms race and rapid growth. President Eisenhower warned the public of the results of such rapid industrialization military power and according to Stone was proven correct a few years later with the assassination of President Kennedy. We then see many newsreels of military men and the Bay of Pigs disaster. Stone tries to etch in your mind this history and confusion of the time period when President Kennedy was assassinated. He shows the troubles and questions the military and Government are going through. The first scene of the movie sets the tone for Stone s theme of question authority, but probably the most important scene of the film is Garrison s meeting with Mr. X.
In the heat of the investigation Garrison is summoned to Washington D.C. by someone who claims to have extensive knowledge of the assassination. There is no record that Mr. X ever existed so a meeting with him would be impossible, but the scene is crucial in the support of a conspiracy. The scene begins with quick flashes to many important American landmarks located in D.C., the White house, Washington monument so on. We then see Garrison emerge from The Lincoln memorial as a man summoned by the great men of history and democracy to find the truth for the American people. This seems to be a very ironic place to meet since Lincoln himself was also killed by an assassin while in office. Mr. X then begins to develop his mysterious identity and proves that he has done secretive work when he continually looks around nervously and offers a false alias. Stone then has Mr. X tell of his military history. How he was in two wars while in military intelligence doing covert, black operations. This builds up his credibility amongst the viewers. If anyone should know of secret government operations this man should. Stone continually has the camera flash to the Washington Monument and other landmarks. Stone uses close ups to emphasize points that Mr. X is making while he switches back to wide lens views when he wants to show the relevance of D.C. and the involvement of the government. While Mr. X begins to explain the intertwining conspiracy we see black and white newsreels of what he is talking about. He talks of the militaries dislike of Kennedy s foreign policy and then the film flashes to newsreels of the Bay of Pigs invasion and American intervention in Vietnam in the 1950 s. We also see flashbacks of events many with Mr. X present. This adds to his credibility and to the possible truth of his stories. Every point made by Mr. X is backed with a visual flashback to help us understand and follow the story. Mr. X tells of his relocation to the South Pole and seeing the newspaper the day of the Assassination. The newspaper already had Oswald s background. Exactly like CIA, Black Ops. Style propaganda. More incidents are brought to Garrison s attention by Mr. X that seem to support the military industrial complex theory. When Mr. X says, All of us in the CIA knew that the Warren Commission was fake. This shows that no one with knowledge and Government clearance bought the single shooter theory the Government tried to instate. We then see more flashbacks of political meetings which give us the idea of LBJ s involvement and the high levels of government. More flashes of historical landmarks are shown then comes a close of the Supreme Court and an even more close up of the inscription, Study the Past This is a subtle hint to seek the truth from history and how history will never be totally clear. Kings are killed, politics is power. This scene is by far the most important of the film. For the first time the viewer is able to visually follow the theory. This is a foreshadowing to the final court scene of the movie where Garrison explains his theory to the jury and the public.
The film ends in a New Orleans courtroom with the first trial of a suspected conspirator. This scene is calibrated much like the scene with Mr. X as in both scenes as the Military-Industrial theory is explained we see flashbacks from the movie to help us visualize. The theory is shot down by people who don t believe that that many people could keep such a secret of this magnitude. Garrison attacks this when he says, The bigger the lie, the more people will believe it. We see all the suspects faces flashed while in the courtroom. AS Garrison ends his summation he appears as he is nearly crying. His passion and belief is extremely obvious through this action.
This film is three and a half hours of pure intensity. The film begins and ends with the reference to the Military-Industrial Complex. Are common people better off not knowing these things that could eventually hurt them. This was the basis of Eisenhower s speech and the beginning of the Cold War. Stone relate this to Kennedy s assassination in his continual support of the theory through the film, but in how he applies it to the government s view of the people being better off just accepting the lone gunman theory. Garrison risks his life to try and find the truth. In the words of District Attorney Garrison, Let justice be done though thy heaven s fall.