Conspiracy Theory. The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The Age of Camelot.
The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy
In 1960, John F. Kennedy became the youngest man ever elected as president. His inaugural speech was like a wake-up call to the entire nation, challenging them to strive toward higher goals, not just to dream about how the country could be but how, working together, citizens could make their dream come true.
Kennedy’s speech became one of the most famous speeches ever made. This is one page of a handwritten draft. Notice the date in the upper right corner.
The Kennedys were the very picture of youth, vitality, wealth and glamour. Mrs. Kennedy set the standard for style, wearing designer fashions.
John Kennedy was the second oldest son born into a wealthy Irish Catholic family in Boston, Massachusetts. His father served as an ambassador to England when John was a teen.
In World War II, JFK became a hero when his PT-boat was cut in half and he swam to safety, saving the life of one of his shipmates in the process.
JFK was known for his intelligence (He had won the Pulitzer Prize in Literature for his book, Portraits in Courage.) and his wit, but the public loved to see him with his children.
Civil Rights Vietnam
Urban Renewal Bay of Pigs
Poverty Cold War
Education Cuban Missile Crisis
Because of a political feud brewing within the Democratic Party in Texas, President Kennedy was asked to come for a visit and try to settle the arguments. He was warned by aides and security personnel that he might be walking into a bee’s nest. Kennedy’s determination to stop segregation and the failure at the Bay of Pigs had made him many enemies in the south.
• 11:37 a.m.: Air Force 1 landed at Dallas Love Field. The president and the first lady, Jackie, were with Vice President Lyndon Johnson and his wife, Lady Bird.
Oswald was shot and killed while he was being transferred from the city jail to the county jail.
…And from the moment Ruby shot Oswald, the idea that JFK’s assassination was a conspiracy took seed.
On Nov. 29, 1963, exactly one week after the shooting in Dallas,President Johnson appointed a special commission, led by Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren, to investigate the assassination. Eleven months later on Sept. 24, 1964, the Warren Commission published its report which concluded that Oswald acted alone when he killed JFK. Questions about errors and omissions in the Warren Report lead to more official investigations.
Some believe that Oswald never shot Kennedy at all. They base this on:
The “magic bullet theory” says that only one bullet hit Kennedy from the back, exited out the front of his neck and then continued on to hit Gov. Connally in the back, wrist and leg. The bullet eventually “fell out” of Connally's leg and was found on his stretcher at Parkland Memorial Hospital.
One of the bystanders jamming Elm Street that day for a glimpse of the president was a man named Abraham Zapruder. He had brought along his home movie camera. What Zapruder shot is the only known film of the entire assassination, a silent 8mm color recording of the Kennedy motorcade before, during, and immediately after the shooting.
In two major investigations into the assassination -- the Warren Commission in 1963-1964 and House Select Committee on Assassinations in 1977-1978 – the film was used to answer questions about how the shooting happened.
Ballistic experts have examined the Zapruder film and used it to trace what they believe is the trajectory (path) each bullet followed. Many believe that the front shots came from a grassy knoll with a high fence separating it from the rail yard.
In a murder investigation, there are certain steps that police would take – examining blood spills, taking fingerprints, examining the deceased’s clothing, etc. – which were never done in Dallas. Perhaps because the murder of Oswald came so quickly after the assassination that police let some parts of the investigation slide. Or perhaps the Dallas Police Department was just as stunned as the rest of the nation and in their frantic efforts to arrest the assassin they rushed to some wrong conclusions.
A few minutes after 2:00 p.m. following an argument between Dallas police and Secret Service agents, JFK’s body was taken from Parkland Hospital and driven to Air Force One. The body was removed before undergoing a forensic examination by the Dallas coroner, which was against Texas state law (the murder was a state crime, and occurred under Texas legal jurisdiction.) Why? Vice President Johnson had ordered that the autopsy be performed at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland.
From 1976 to 1979, an investigation by the House Select Committee on Assassinations was conducted and its official conclusion was that Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated President Kennedy as a result of a probable conspiracy. Would a new investigation clear Oswald? Would it lead us to the conspirators?