Without doubt one of the most infamous figures of the 20th century was Lee Harvey Oswald, who will always be remembered as the assassin of the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy at Dallas, Texas in November 1963.
Despite the huge volume of information that was researched about Oswald, he still remains an enigmatic and shadowy figure with many still believing that he did not act alone in the assassination.
Oswald was a man of contradiction – he was honourably discharged from the United States Marine Corps in 1959 and then bizarrely defected to the Soviet Union later in the same year. After living there for nearly three years he returned to the United States in June 1962 – with a Russian wife – and settled in the Fort Worth area of Texas.
He maintained his leftist leanings after his return and in April 1963 he was suspected of the attempted murder of the retired US Major General Edwin Walker whom Oswald considered to be a fascist. Oswald was also incensed the US treatment of Cuba, and was a supporter of a fringe group organisation called “Fair Play for Cuba”.
On 22 November 1963 Oswald shot and killed President Kennedy in Dallas, Texas and about 45 minutes later Dallas patrolman J.D. Tippit, who had stopped him for questioning.
Oswald was later arrested and two days after, on the 24 November, was himself shot dead by nightclub owner Jack Ruby in a murder that was televised and broadcast around the world.
A major high – level investigation – The Warren Report – was released in September 1964 and concluded that Oswald had acted alone. However this finding has been disputed ever since with numerous conspiracy theories emerging. One that still has some currency is that Fidel Castro hired Oswald to assassinate the President.
Recent documents released indicate that Oswald had intended to return to the Soviet Union in late 1963 and some believe that this was in fact a carefully planned escape to be activated after he had killed the President.
Image: A photograph of Oswald, taken in his backyard at Dallas, Texas in March 1963, some eight months before he shot President Kennedy. He is holding two Marxist publications – The Militant, and The Worker – in what may be some sort of symbolic photograph, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.