Explore the life and actions of Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused assassin of President John F. Kennedy. This detailed account delves into Oswald’s background, his time in the Marine Corps, marriage in the Soviet Union, involvement in political activities, and the tragic events surrounding Kennedy’s assassination.
Lee Harvey Oswald; was the accused assassin of President John F. Kennedy. Oswald denied he was the President’s killer, but was himself murdered before he could be brought to trial. A special investigation commission, headed by Chief Justice of the United States Earl Warren, reported in September 1964 that all evidence indicated Oswald alone was the assassin. The Warren commission found no evidence that others were involved in helping Oswald. However, no specific motive for Oswald’s act was discovered.
Oswald was born in New Orleans, La., on Oct. 18, 1939, two months after the death of his father. Because his mother had to work, young Oswald was placed in an orphanage for a short time. His mother later married again and the family lived in various cities in Texas and Louisiana from 1945 to 1952. This marriage ended in divorce when Lee was 9.
In 1952 Oswald and his mother moved to New York City. Here his school record, which had been average to poor in Texas, was marked by chronic truancy. A psychiatric examination revealed that he was emotionally disturbed, and it was recommended that he be given psychiatric treatment. His mother insisted that Lee did not need psychiatric help and, in January 1954, returned with her son to New Orleans.
After completing the 9th grade, Oswald dropped out of school at 16. The next year he joined the Marine Corps. In 1959, pleading the ill health and straitened economic circumstances of his mother, he requested and obtained his release from the Marines. After spending three days with his mother, who was then living in Fort Worth, he went to New Orleans. From there he traveled to the Soviet Union where he attempted to become a Soviet citizen.
Still in the Soviet Union in 1961, he married a Russian girl, Marina Nikolaevna Prusakova; but the next year he became unhappy with life in the USSR and returned to the United States with his wife and baby daughter.
In March 1963 Oswald used an assumed name to order from a Chicago mail-order firm a 6.5 caliber Mannlicher-Carcano rifle of Italian manufacture, and an inexpensive telescopic sight made in Japan. The testimony of Marina Oswald indicates that her husband probably used that rifle on April 10, 1963, in an attempt in Dallas to kill Edwin A. Walker, a retired army general. General Walker had been relieved of his command in Germany for refusing to discontinue the use of John Birch Society materials in a troop information program.
Later that month, Oswald went to New Orleans where he took an active part in an organization called the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. He distributed pro-Castro leaflets and made two radio appearances on behalf of the communist regime in Cuba.
In September 1963 Oswald went to Mexico City. There he visited the Cuban and Russian embassies in an unsuccessful attempt to obtain official permission to visit Cuba and the Soviet Union. He returned to Dallas in October 1963 and obtained a job at the Texas School Book Depository.
At 12:30 p.m. on Nov. 22, 1963, from a window on the sixth floor of the depository, Oswald fired three shots from his mail-order rifle at an open car carrying President and Mrs. Kennedy and Governor and Mrs. John B. Connally of Texas. The shots killed President Kennedy and seriously wounded Governor Connally. Forty-five minutes after the assassination, Oswald shot and killed a Dallas policeman, J.D. Tippit, who was trying to apprehend him. Oswald was finally arrested at about 2:00 p.m. in a motion picture theater. He failed in his effort to shoot the arresting officer with the pistol with which he had killed Officer Tippit.
On November 24, while Oswald was being transferred from one jail to another, a Dallas nightclub operator named Jack Ruby shot and killed him. Ruby maintained that his motive was rage over the assassination of the President. On March 14, 1964, the state of Texas found Ruby guilty of murder. He was sentenced to death.