John F. Kennedy Essay, Research Paper
The term assassination refers to murder for political reasons. In the United States with its democratic ideals, change should be brought about through the ballot. However, American History has shown us that this is not true. Abraham Lincoln, James A. Garfield, William McKinley and John F. Kennedy were all assassinated by supposedly troubled individuals that believed their ideals could not be brought about by a ballot. Assassinations are cruel, unexpected acts that often have enormous effects on the people of a nation. John F. Kennedy was young, handsome, vigorous, and the first president to be born in the twentieth century. America knew him as a naval war hero, the “leading man”(writer, Norman Mailer). To Americans it seemed as though what went on in “Camelot” could solve all the world’s problems. America put their trust in the president and in return he gave them confidence. As a democrat he inherited the New Deal commitment to the social security system. With programs like “The New Frontier”, the country was promised an end to racial discrimination especially in the South, federal aid to education, medical care for the elderly, and government action to stop the recession. Kennedy promised to place a man on the moon before the Soviets, contain communism, and reduce cold war tensions, and urban violence. Kennedy’s liberal policies however were not always successful, and conservatives argued that many were seriously flawed. So when John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States was assassinated on November 22nd, 1963, he became a victim of a violent American mentality he sought to curb. America became grief-stricken, and remorseful that at a time of such optimism and hope, such a horrific event could occur. Countless mourners all over the world grieved the passing of a fallen hero, and the course of history never could have been the same. President Antonio Segni of Italy said upon hearing the news that it was a,” very grave loss for all humanity”. Journalist Godfrey Hodyson wrote,” In retrospect, people look back to Friday, November 22nd, 1963, as the end of a time of hope, the beginning of a time of trouble.” This was the cold demise of “Camelot”. Perhaps what was most astonishing was the amount of conspiracy fabricated after the assassination. From the culpability of federal organizations to aliens, American media indulged itself in fantastic thoughts, only adding to public hysteria. The assassination was like no other event in American History, and the cry of conspiracy provoked costly and arduous investigation that changed America forever. Explaining exactly how and why John F. Kennedy died is perhaps more difficult today that it was on Friday, November 22nd, 1963.
Lee Harvey Oswald was born in New Orleans, in 1939, into poverty without a father. Many of his whereabouts are unknown prior to his navy service. A turning point in his life occurred in 1954(L. Fletcher Prouty) when Ethel and Judith Rosenberg were convicted of being spies. As a result he became interested in Marxist philosophy. He joined he navy in 1956, and served in Japan, often working in top-secret areas. In September of 1959, he received an early discharge from the Navy, and moved to Russia. In 1962 the U.S. State Department paid for his passage home. To this day, no one knows why. While in the United States, he created an unapproved chapter of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC). It was a pro-Castro organization, which promoted a communist America. He printed and disseminated “Hands off Cuba” flyers. As a result he was brought to jail. While in jail he is reported to have spoken with an FBI agent. This is another oddity that occurred in his life. In 1963, he left his wife in New Orleans, and moved to Texas, where he often traveled to Mexico City. He applied for Cuban and Soviet entrance visas in the embassy. After Mexican Authorities recognize Oswald’s name from the assassination, they produce a picture of a different man. Could there have been an imposter? Why? One of the many questions that go unanswered. In October of 1963, Oswald returned to the U.S., and got a job in a warehouse in Dallas. It was here that he is reported to have killed John F. Kennedy.
Doctors at the Dallas Parkland Hospital pronounced President Kennedy dead at 1:00 that afternoon. At 2:48, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in aboard Air Force One as the nations 36th president. A week later, at his request, the Warren Commission was founded. Named after the current Chief Justice, Earl Warren. Four congressmen, a former Director of the CIA Allen Dulles, and a wealthy New York banker, Senator John Cooper, and J. Leo Rankin, the commissioner’s general counsel, were handpicked by Johnson. By September of 1964 the committee released the “Warren Report”. It was a “thorough” investigation of Kennedy’s death, totaling more than 800 pages. The commission heard testimony from 489 people who they thought could be potential assassins. Their conclusion, apparently very fallacious as most theorists say (Harrison E. Livingstone), was that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin. He pulled the trigger, and was solely responsible for the three shots fired in Dealy Plaza. The Commission, describing Oswald as “frustrated and confused political zealot”, blamed his “unstable childhood, and attraction to un-American philosophies” that drove him to commit murder. Many critics (Guss Russo, John Newman) argue that the commission had assumed that Oswald was the lone assassin. The Commission only looked at evidence that supported their conclusion. Oswald was a poor marksman, and therefore there was no way he could have shot three bullets on target in five seconds (Gerald Posner). Interviews with his superiors when he as in the Marine Corps report Oswald that “Oswald had the worst shot of my men”(Lt. Charles Donovan), and Oswald never passed his basic rifle requirements. However reports like this never appeared in the “Warren Report”, due to “lack of credibility”. Meanwhile President Johnson wanted to expedite the investigation, because he was afraid of talk about conspiracy. Newspapers were already publishing articles about the role of the CIA in the assassination.
Advocates of a state conspiracy theory do not necessarily Kennedy’s death as the work of on desperate assassin. (John Newman, Edmund Lindrop) Theorists argue that one man could not have arranged the wildly eccentric evidence that puzzles investigators today. Rather it would call for more of a “coup d’etat”(Jeffery Waggoner), in which the assassination should result from a complex and a well-planned design of many people’s time and resources. The Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961, caused bitterness on all sides of American politics. As Kennedy shortly found out, the CIA’s assessment of the plot was grossly inaccurate. Fidel Castro’s support was strong and formidable. As a result of the invasion Kennedy was embarrassed internationally, and he vowed to, “splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds”. This “mutual distrust”(John Newman), between the CIA and Kennedy made a CIA plot for his death a motive. A strong conservative as well as an intense Kennedy flouter, David Ferrie, could possibly have been the mastermind behind the assassination. Given his political beliefs and CIA connections researchers (John Newman) hold strong convictions that Ferrie was indeed involved. Especially because David Ferrie was found dead in his apartment shortly before his was to be arrested by New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison for assassination conspiracy. As Garrison stated, “Upon close examination . . . the only likely sponsor with both the motive and the capability of murdering the President is the covert action arm of the Central Intelligence Agency.” Much has been written about Oswald’s connection to the CIA. Most intriguing is the CIA “201” file. These files were kept for anyone who would be able to provide significant information that would affect national security. As a defector (person who leaves country for one cause or another) this was routine for a person like Oswald. However there are two faults on this file. The government initially denied its existence, and 1960 entries that refer to 1962 events. A CIA connection is probable, as the newspaper headlines read; Oswald killed Kennedy out of sympathy for Castro.
Most researchers do not suspect the FBI as a source of Kennedy’s assassination. What theorists do suggest however, is the deliberate effort to keep the truth of the case hidden from public view. (Mark North). After Lee Harvey Oswald was killed by a quick gunshot attack by Jack Ruby, J. Edgar Hoover became increasingly eager to prove that Oswald was the lone assassin. When Hoover learned of Oswald’s death he phoned Johnson saying, “The thing I am most concerned about . . . is having something issued so we can convince the public that Oswald is the real assassin.” The more quickly law enforcement could identify the assassin, even thought guilt could be skeptical, the more quickly they would quiet the public’s fear of conspiracy. A considerable amount of doubt was also placed on the Secret Service. All the President’s agents’ rode with him in the motorcade that day, and all accompanied him to the Parkland hospital after the shooting. However Dallas policeman Joe Smith raced behind the Grassy Knoll, expecting to see an assassin, and all he saw was a man who identified himself as a secret service agent. According to official records there was no way this could have been a secret service. Could there have been a 2nd assassin? Also, the Parkland Hospital doctors wanted to perform an autopsy in Dallas, but the Secret Service did not allow this. They