On November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. It was a day that changed the fabric of history, yet – 50 years later – researchers are still trying to figure out what really happened.
There are a number of theories about who actually fired the fatal shot that killed America’s 35th President.
Was it Lee Harvey Oswald?
One of the most popular theories centres on Lee Harvey Oswald.
The Warren Commission, a group established by President Lyndon Johnson to investigate the assassination, concluded in 1964 that Lee Harvey Oswald was responsible for killing the president.
Its report stated that Lee Harvey Oswald had fired three shots – one into John F. Kennedy’s throat, one into his back and one into his head – from an upper window of the nearby Texas School Book Depository, where he worked.
Why? Because he was “moved by an overriding hostility to his environment”, revealed The Warren Commission. Lee Harvey Oswald was an outcast, alienated from society and determined to “protest against it”.
However, many people are unconvinced that Lee Harvey Oswald could have committed this crime all by himself. While the “lone gunman” was arrested not long after the assassination took place , he was never convicted.
So, who else could have done it? And did they act alone?
Was it a Conspiracy?
The United States House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) conducted its own investigation into the death of John F. Kennedy, and in 1978 concluded it was the result of a conspiracy.
While the HSCA’s report points to Lee Harvey Oswald as the person responsible for the fatal shot, it also cites “acoustical evidence” that indicates at least one other gunman was present on November 22.
It added that scientific evidence did not preclude the possibility that two people fired at the president.
Some believe the Soviet Government, looking to punish the United States for the Cold War, was involved in John F. Kennedy’s assassination.
Lee Harvey Oswald had defected to the Soviet Union in October, 1959, and returned to the United States in June 1962, just over a year before the President was killed. Because of this, speculation arose that he had been enlisted by the KGB to shoot John F. Kennedy.
Or was it Lee Harvey Oswald at all? In his book ‘Khrushchev Killed Kennedy’, which was published in 1975, Michael Eddowes claimed the president was shot by an agent of the Soviet Union who was pretending to be Lee Harvey Oswald.
A number of fingers also pointed at the mafia, who both John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert Kennedy actively fought to bring down during their time in power.
Significant research has also gone into where the shots were fired from.
In addition to the Texas School Book Depository, arguments have been made that another gunman could have been positioned at grassy knoll on the North-West side of Dealey Plaza, the Records Building, the Court House, the Dal-Tex Building or even a storm drain.
Will We Ever Know?
While the HSCA’s investigation was ultimately inconclusive, it does state the Soviet Government, Cuban Government, anti-Castro Cuban groups and the CIA were not responsible for the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
That hasn’t stopped modern-day conspiracy theorists from thinking they could be guilty, though, or questioning how and why the President was shot. Now, almost 50 years later, the investigation continues…
To mark the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s death, the History Channel will screen JFK Assassination: The Definitive Guide on Saturday, November 23, at 8.30 p.m.