The assassination of the United States’ President John F. Kennedy on the 22nd November 1963 and the subsequent murder of his shooter, Lee Harvey Oswald by assassin and nightclub owner Jack Ruby has sparked various conspiracy theories.
Suspicion surrounds the circumstances of JFK’s untimely death. This is especially after the discovery that the CIA had failed to inspect any of the 6,000 windows along the motorcade route as they did not have enough men to do so.
The subsequent report published by the Warren Commission in 1964 found that Lee Harvey Oswald was the sole shooter and that he acted alone, without any evidence of a conspiracy taking place. However, these findings were heavily reliant on the ‘magic bullet theory’. This suggested that just one bullet hit both JFK and Texas Governor John Connelly who was sat in front of him.
This theory is integral to their findings as three gun cartridges were discovered by the window that Oswald shot at the President from. So it was presumed that he fired his gun three times. The first shot missed the motorcade but the second shot hit the President in the back. According to the Commission, the same bullet hit the governor, entering into his back, going through his arm and hand and eventually lodging itself in his leg. The third shot fired was the fatal headshot JFK received.
A whole bullet was recovered from Connelly’s stretcher. The theory has been questioned by people who do not believe that the bullet would remain intact after passing through two men.
Later it was discovered that the CIA had purposefully withheld information from the Commission. After this revelation, a new committee was formed to investigate the death of JFK. This second committee investigated acoustic evidence taken from the video footage of the incident and uncovered that there were six gunshots heard. These were so close together that it raised questions over whether Oswald was the only shooter.
Based on this evidence, the committee concluded that it was highly likely that two gunmen had shot at JFK although they never identified the second gunman. They also stated that JFK was probably assassinated as a result of conspiracy but they were unable to discover the extent of it.
Ever since these revelations came to light, many conspiracy theories have been put forward. One of the most popular theories is that the CIA was behind the assassination. This is because the CIA chose the motorcade route and failed to inspect the windows. They also failed to inform local authorities of the motorcade route. They also failed to disclose information relating to the incident to the committee although they claimed it was a ‘benign cover-up’. If this is the case, what motive could they have had for concealing the information? This information they failed to disclose was pertaining to plots to assassinate Fidel Castro, the Cuban dictator. Perhaps Kennedy discovered the CIA’s plot to have Castro killed and disapproved. This may have concerned the CIA as they may have feared Kennedy would have them disbanded. So, before he could act, they struck first and killed him. They chose Oswald to carry out the hit as he was a known communist and no-one would suspect their involvement. This theory is plausible, although a lot of it is pure speculation.
Another theory is that the Russians hired Oswald, a known Russian sympathizer, to assassinate Kennedy on their behalf. The incident occurred in the middle of the Cold War and the Russians potentially stood to gain from his death. However, this seems implausible as Oswald’s Russian ties were known and so it would have been too suspicious if they had hired him.
A third theory is that the mob was involved in Kennedy’s death. The Chicago mob, the Miami mob and the New Orleans all claimed they were responsible for his death. In 2015, an imprisoned former mafia hitman named James Files claimed to have been the second shooter. He said he was part of a plot in collaboration with the mafia and the CIA. However, there is absolutely no evidence supporting his claims. This theory is very unlikely to be true.
Despite the mystery surrounding the assassination, the truth may never be uncovered. This is due to Oswald’s death just two days after he killed the President. His death raised further questions but we may never know the answers. In 2003, a poll found that 70% of Americans believed there was some kind of plot behind the assassination. What do you think?