The assassination of President John F. Kennedy left many Americans shocked and devastated as they watched the coverage on TV in 1963. It’s been more than five decades since the assassination, and to this day no one truly knows the full story.
But as of last week, we might finally be one step closer to knowing the truth about that fateful day...
Kennedy was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963 while riding in a motorcade driving through Dallas, Texas. Around 12:30 pm, shots were heard and Kennedy was struck by a bullet in the head. He was rushed to a nearby hospital, but pronounced dead soon after. Governor John B. Connally Jr., who was also in the car, was hit as well but survived.
Charged with the assassination was Lee Harvey Oswald, a 24-year-old former marine who fired a rifle from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository as the motorcade was passing the building. Ironically, Oswald was killed by a man named Jack Ruby two days after he was taken into captivity.
Lyndon B. Johnson, who was sworn in as Kennedy’s successor, commissioned an investigation, headed by Earl Warren, to look into the assassination. The official findings of the investigation were that only one shooter, Oswald, shot three bullets at the motorcade that killed Kennedy and injured Connally. The second bullet reportedly went through Kennedy’s neck and also injured Connally.
However, several conspiracy theories have surfaced in the last 50 years, suggesting that Oswald didn’t act alone.
The first conspiracy theory suggests that a second shooter was involved in the assassination. Apart from the fact that Connally (pictured) stated that he believed he had been shot by a separate bullet from Kennedy, many skeptics have also said that it would’ve been impossible for Oswald to fire three bullets fast enough to hit both Kennedy and Connally. For these reasons, some believe that a second shooter was involved sitting ahead of the motorcade.
Another theory suggests that a man carrying a very conspicuous umbrella was involved in the assassination. The weather in Dallas was reportedly very clear that day, so there would’ve been no need for an umbrella. Some have theorized that this man was using the umbrella to signal messages to the gunmen, or could’ve served as some sort of weapon itself. The man was standing right near the location where all of the shots were fired into the motorcade.
A third theory states that Oswald had taken a trip to Mexico City right before the assassination. Oswald claimed that the trip was to obtain Soviet and Cuban visas from their respective embassies, but skeptics believe that he may have gone to Mexico City in order to plan out his attack.
The files state that just half an hour before the assassination took place British publication, the Cambridge News, received an anonymous tip that “some big news” was about to happen in the United States. The caller cryptically told the reporter that they should call the American embassy in London, and then hung up.
Communist leaders of the Soviet Union reportedly believed that the assassination was an organized conspiracy. They believed that it was carried out by members of the “ultraright” to form a coup. They were convinced that the assassination was certainly not carried out by only one person.
The CIA deliberately tried to keep the Warren commission out of the loop on certain intelligence. For example, the CIA knew about Oswald’s trip to Mexico City and waited months before informing the commission. They also had photo surveillance and phone taps as evidence.
The FBI in Dallas received a call from a man “talking in a calm voice” informing them that he was a member of a committee instructed to kill Oswald. Jack Ruby denied making the phone call and claims that he acted alone in killing Oswald, but the evidence suggests otherwise.
A 1962 national security council document mentioned “Operation Mongoose,” which was a plot to take down the communist government of Cuba. In the minutes of an Operation Mongoose meeting in September, 1962, General Marshall Carter (pictured) said that the CIA would look into sabotaging airplane parts being shipped from Canada to Cuba.
The files state that in Kennedy’s early days as president, there was a CIA plot to assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro. The CIA had hired an intermediary to approach Sam Giancana, a Sicilian-American mobster, to hire a hitman to assassinate Castro in Cuba for $150,000. Robert Kennedy, JFK’s brother and attorney general at the time, had advised against the government hiring mobsters, stating that doing so would make it difficult to prosecute them later on.