Lee Harvey Oswald

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<tr><td colspan="2" align="center">
Lee Harvey Oswald, During his time living in Minsk
<tr valign="top"><th style="text-align:right;">Died</th> <td>November 24, 1963
Dallas, Texas</td></tr>
Lee Harvey Oswald
Born October 18, 1939
Slidell, Louisiana

Lee Harvey Oswald (October 18, 1939November 24, 1963) was, according to four United States government investigations, responsible for the assassination of US President John F. Kennedy. On November 22, 1963, Oswald was arrested on suspicion of killing President Kennedy and Dallas policeman J. D. Tippit earlier that day. Oswald denied the charges, claiming he was a "patsy". Two days later, Oswald was shot and killed by Jack Ruby on live television while in police custody. Public opinion is still divided regarding Oswald's culpability. Many people suspect he was part of a larger assassination plot that has been the subject of an official coverup.<ref name="abc">Gary Langer, John F. Kennedy’s Assassination Leaves a Legacy of Suspicion (.pdf), ABC News, November 16, 2003</ref>

Contents

[edit] Early life and Marine Corps service

Lee Harvey Oswald was born in Slidell, Louisiana. His father, Robert Edward Lee Oswald SR, died before he was born. His mother, Marguerite Claverie, raised Lee alone along with two older siblings, his brother Robert and his half-brother John Pic, Marguerite's son from a previous marriage. The family was raised Lutheran. His mother is said to have doted on him to excess. She has also been characterized as domineering and quarrelsome, however. Lee's youth was plagued by extreme mobility; before the age of 18 Oswald had lived in 22 different residences. Because of the short-lived stay in each location, he had attended 12 different schools, mostly around New Orleans and Dallas.[citation needed]

As a child Oswald was withdrawn and temperamental.[citation needed] After moving in with John Pic (who had joined the US Coast Guard and was stationed in New York City), they were asked to leave due to an incident where Oswald purportedly attacked his mother.<ref>http://www.jfk-assassination.de/warren/wch/vol11/page38.php Warren Commission Hearings: Vol. XI - Page 38 at The John F. Kennedy Assassination Homepage</ref> Following charges of truancy, he had a three week court-ordered stay for psychiatric observation in a facility called Youth House. Dr. Renatus Hartogs diagnosed the fourteen-year-old Oswald as having a "personality pattern disturbance with schizoid features and passive-aggressive tendencies" and recommended continued psychiatric intervention.<ref>May 1, 1953, report of Renatus Hartogs at Acorn.net</ref> Oswald's behavior at school appeared to improve in his last months in New York.<ref>Carro Exhibit No. 1 Continued at Kennedy Assassination Home Page</ref><ref>TESTIMONY OF JOHN CARRO at Kennedy Assassination Home Page</ref> Some time in February, 1954, his mother Marguerite decided to return to New Orleans with Lee.[citation needed] There was still an open question before a New York judge if he would be taken from the care of his mother to finish his schooling.<ref>TESTIMONY OF MRS. MARGUERITE OSWALD RESUMED at Kennedy Assassination Home Page</ref> In New Orleans, Oswald attended some extracurricular clubs such as the school's marching band; however, he soon dropped out of school and joined the Civil Air Patrol.

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Oswald never received a high school diploma before he enlisted in the U.S. Marines.[citation needed] Throughout his life he had trouble with spelling and writing coherently.[citation needed] His letters, diary and other writings have led some to suggest he was dyslexic<ref>http://www.russianbooks.org/oswald/tapes.htm Lee Harvey Oswald Minsk Audio Tapes at Russian Books</ref>. Nonetheless he read voraciously and as a result sometimes asserted he was better educated than those around him.[citation needed] Around the age of fifteen, he became an ardent Marxist solely from reading about the topic.[citation needed] He wrote in his diary, "I was looking for a key to my environment, and then I discovered socialist literature. I had to dig for my books in the back dusty shelves of libraries."<ref>http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/oswald/cron/#1 Twenty-Four Years, FRONTLINE, December 22, 2003</ref>

Even as a Marxist, Oswald wished to join the US Marines. He idolized his older brother Robert and wore Robert's US Marine ring. This relationship seems to have transcended any ideological conflict for Oswald, and enlisting in the Marines may have also been a way to escape from his overbearing mother. <ref>Warren Commission Hearings, Vol. XI, pp. 3-4</ref> He enlisted in the USMC in October 1956, a week after his 17th birthday. <ref>Warren Commission Report, Chapter 7, pp. 384</ref>

Oswald was trained as a radar operator and assigned first to Marine Corps Air Station El Toro in Irvine, California<ref>http://jfkassassination.net/parnell/chrono.htm</ref>, then to Naval Air Facility Atsugi in Japan. Though Atsugi was a base for the U-2 spy planes that flew over the former USSR, there is no evidence Oswald was involved in that operation. Oswald's experience after joining with the Marine Corps was by all accounts unpleasant. Small and frail compared to the other Marines, he was nicknamed Ozzie Rabbit after a cartoon character. His shyness and Soviet sympathies alienated him to his fellow Marines. Ostracism only seemed to provoke him into being a more staunch and outspoken communist. For his steadfast beliefs his nickname ultimately became Oswaldskovich. The Marine had subscribed to The Worker and taught himself rudimentary Russian. Oswald was tried at a court-martial twice: initially because of accidentally shooting himself in the elbow with an unauthorized handgun and again later for starting a fight with a sergeant he thought responsible for his punishment received from his first court-martial. He was demoted from private first class to private and briefly served time in the brig. He was not punished for yet another incident, when on sentry duty one night while stationed in the Philippines, he inexplicably fired his rifle into the jungle. By the end of his Marine career Oswald was doing menial labor.

Despite speculation that Oswald was a below average marksman, Oswald earned the Sharpshooter weapons qualification badge with a score of 212 out of 250 targets, the second highest attainable badge in the Marine Corps.

[edit] Life in the Soviet Union

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Image:Oswald-1959.jpg
Photo of Oswald taken in October 1959 shortly after his arrival in the Soviet Union. Oswald dedicated the photo on the back to his future wife's aunt and uncle in 1961. It was discovered in Minsk in 1992.

In October 1959 Oswald went to the Soviet Union. He was nineteen and the trip was well-planned in advance. Along with having taught himself rudimentary Russian, he had saved his Marine Corps salary, got an early "hardship" discharge by (falsely) claiming he needed to care for his injured mother in New Orleans and submitted several fictional applications to foreign universities in order to obtain a student visa (and possibly help avoid Marine Corps reserve duty).

After spending one day with his mother in New Orleans he departed by ship for the Soviet Union, first arriving in France, then England and eventually Finland as part of a package tour.<ref>The Journey From USA to USSR at Russian Books</ref> When he arrived in the Soviet Union and showed up unexpectedly at the US Embassy in Moscow he said he wanted to renounce his US citizenship.<ref>Moscow Part 1 at Russian Books</ref> When the Navy Department learned of this it changed Oswald's Marine Corps discharge from "hardship/honorable" to "undesirable."<ref>Commission Exhibit 780 (.pdf) at The Assassination Archives and Research Center</ref>

Oswald's wish to remain in the Soviet Union was initially applauded by the Soviets and described by at least one western journalist as a "defection,"[citation needed] but although he had some technical knowledge acquired in the Marines they soon discovered he had little of real value to offer the Soviet Union and his application for Soviet residency was rejected.<ref>HOW COULD THE KGB NOT BE INTERESTED IN OSWALD? at Russian Books</ref> In response, Oswald made a bloody but minor cut to his left wrist in his hotel room bathtub. After bandaging his superficial injury, the cautious Soviets kept him under psychiatric observation at the Botkin Hospital.<ref>Moscow Part 2 at Russian Books</ref><ref>Moscow Part 3 at Russian Books</ref> Although this attempt may have been no more than an attention-getting ruse, the Soviet government feared an international incident if he attempted something similar again.

Image:Marina prusakova 1959.jpg
Marina Prusakova, Minsk 1959

Against the advice of the KGB, Oswald was allowed to remain in the Soviet Union. Although he had wanted to remain in Moscow and attend Moscow University, he was sent to Minsk, located in modern-day Belarus. He was given a job as a metal lathe operator at the Gorizont (Horizon) Electronics Factory in Minsk, a huge facility which produced radios and televisions along with military and space electronic components. He was given a rent-subsidized, fully furnished studio apartment in a prestigious building under Gorizont's administration and in addition to his factory pay received monetary subsidies from the Red Cross (a Soviet organization entirely separate from the international medical aid organization). This represented an idyllic existence by Soviet-era working-class standards.<ref>Minsk Part 3 at Russian Books</ref> Oswald was under constant surveillance by the KGB during his thirty-month stay in Minsk.<ref>Minsk Part 2 at Russian Books</ref> Oswald gradually grew bored with the limited recreation available in Minsk.<ref>http://www.archives.gov/research/jfk/warren-commission-report/chapter-7.html#defection</ref>

At a dance in early 1961 Oswald met Marina Prusakova, a troubled 19-year-old pharmacology student from a broken family in Leningrad now living with her aunt and uncle in Minsk. While later reports described her uncle as a colonel in the KGB or MVD, he was a lumber industry expert in the MVD (Ministry of Interior) with a bureaucratic rank equivalent to colonel. Oswald and Marina married less than a month and a half after they met.

After nearly a year of paperwork and waiting, on June 1, 1962 the young family left the Soviet Union for the United States.

[edit] Dallas

Back in the United States, the Oswalds settled in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and Lee attempted to write his memoir and commentary on Soviet life, a small manuscript called The Collective. He soon gave up the idea but his search for literary feedback put him in touch with the area's close-knit community of anti-Communist Russian émigrés. While merely tolerating the belligerent and arrogant Lee Oswald, they sympathized with Marina, partly because she was in a foreign country with no knowledge of English (which her husband refused to teach her, saying he didn't want to forget Russian) and because Oswald had begun to beat her. <ref> Warren Commission Report Chapter 7--Relationship with Wife</ref> Although they eventually abandoned Marina when she made no sign of leaving him, Oswald had found an unlikely friend in the well-educated and worldly petroleum geologist George de Mohrenschildt,[1] who liked playing the provocateur and enjoyed putting people off with his disagreeable and sullen Marxist friend. [citation needed] A native Russian-speaker himself, de Mohrenschildt in his memoir wrote that Oswald spoke Russian "very well, with only a little accent." [2]. Marina meanwhile befriended a married couple, Quaker Ruth Paine (who was trying to learn Russian in the cause of world peace) and her husband Michael.

In Dallas, Oswald got a job with the Leslie Welding Company but disliked the work and quit after three months. He then found a position at the graphic arts firm of Jaggars-Chiles-Stovall as a photoprint trainee. The company has been cited as doing classified work for the US government but this was limited to typesetting for maps and produced in a section which Oswald had no access. He did use photographic and typesetting equipment in the unsecured area to create falsified identification documents,<ref>Warren Commission Hearings, Volume XIX (page 288) at The Assassination Archives and Research Center</ref> including some in the name of an alias he created, Alek James Hidell. His co-workers and supervisors eventually grew frustrated with his inefficiency, lack of precision, inattention, and rudeness to others, to the point where fist-fights had threatened to break out. He had also been seen reading a Russian publication, Krokodil (Russian: "Крокодил", "crocodile"), in the cafeteria. (Ironically, this magazine was largely a satire of the performance of the Soviet system, not of the West; by this time Oswald had long become dissatisfied with the U.S.S.R., as noted). On Monday, April 1, after six months of work, Oswald's supervisor terminated Oswald's employment at Jaggars-Chiles-Stovall.<ref>Posner, Case Closed, page 109.</ref>

[edit] Attempted assassination of General Walker

Image:JFKwalker.jpg
General Walker

Ten days after being fired, Oswald attempted to assassinate General Edwin Walker with the rifle shown in his backyard pose photos of March 31.<ref> Warren Commission Report p. 184-195</ref>

General Edwin Walker was an outspoken anti-communist, segregationist and member of the John Birch Society who had been commanding officer of the Army's 24th Infantry Division based in West Germany under NATO supreme command until he was relieved of his command in 1961 by JFK for distributing right-wing literature to his troops. Walker resigned from the service and returned to his native Texas. He ran in the six-person Democratic gubernatorial primary in 1962 but lost to John Connally, who went on to win the race. In February, 1963 the general was making front-page news with an evangelist partner in an anti-Communist tour called Operation Midnight Ride.

Oswald surveilled Walker for some unknown time, probably including early April, taking pictures of the General's home and nearby railroad tracks which were later found in his residence when it was searched after the Kennedy assassination (these photos were later matched to the same camera Marina used to take the backyard poses).<ref> Warren Commission Report pp. 185-186 </ref>

In March, Oswald ordered the rifle by mail (see below) using his alias A. Hidell, having already ordered a revolver by mail in January. He attempted the assassination on April 10. Though he did not leave specifics of his plans in writing, Oswald did leave a note in Russian for Marina with instructions for her to follow — should he be jailed in Dallas, or otherwise disappear.

Walker was sitting at a desk in his dining room (working on his federal income tax returns) when Oswald fired at him from less than one hundred feet (30 m) away. Walker survived only because the bullet struck the wooden frame of the window, which deflected its path, but was injured in the forearm by bullet fragments.

The Dallas police had no suspects in the Walker shooting.<ref>http://www.history-matters.com/archive/jfk/hsca/report/pdf/HSCA_Report_1A_LHO.pdf</ref> Oswald's involvement was not suspected until a note and some of the photos of Walker's house were found following the assassination of JFK, after which Marina Oswald told authorities about Oswald's attempt on Walker's life, which she said Oswald had told her about after the fact.<ref> Warren Commission Report pp. 185</ref> The bullet was too badly damaged to run conclusive ballistics studies on it, though neutron activation tests later proved that the Walker bullet was from the same cartridge manufacturer that the two bullets which later struck Kennedy were from.<ref>http://www.history-matters.com/archive/jfk/hsca/report/pdf/HSCA_Report_1A_LHO.pdf</ref>

[edit] New Orleans

By late April, he returned to New Orleans, arriving on the morning of April 25 looking for work. Marina was driven there by family friend Ruth Paine after Oswald got a job with the Reilly Coffee Company in May. Oswald was fired for dereliction of duty in July.

Oswald had Marina write to the Soviet Embassy in Washington, D.C. about the possibility of their returning to the Soviet Union. [citation needed] His Marxist ideals became focused on Fidel Castro and Cuba and he soon became a vocal pro-Castro advocate. The Fair Play for Cuba Committee was a national organization and Oswald set out on his own initiative as a one-member New Orleans chapter, spending $22.73 on 1000 flyers, 500 membership applications and 300 membership cards. He told Marina to sign the name "A.J. Hidell" as chapter president on one card. [citation needed]
Image:Oswaldneworleans.jpg
Oswald's New Orleans mug shot, August 9, 1963

Most of Oswald's activities consisted of passing out flyers to passers-by on the street. He made a clumsy attempt to infiltrate anti-Castro exile groups and briefly met with a skeptical Carlos Bringuier, New Orleans delegate for the anti-Castro Cuban Student Directorate. Several days later Bringuier and two friends confronted a man passing out pro-Castro handbills and realized that it was Oswald. During an ensuing scuffle all of them were arrested and Oswald spent the night in jail.

The trial got news media attention and Oswald was interviewed afterwards. He was also filmed passing out flyers in front of the International Trade Mart with two "volunteers" he had hired for $2 at the unemployment office. Oswald's political work in New Orleans came to an end after a WDSU radio debate between Bringuier and Oswald arranged by journalist Bill Stuckey. Instead of discussing Cuba as he had successfully done during a previous radio program, Oswald was publicly confronted with the lies and omissions he had made concerning his life and background and became audibly upset. Within a month he left New Orleans and returned to Dallas.

Oswald's four months in New Orleans were carefully scrutinized after the JFK assassination, most notably by New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison in his unsuccessful attempt to link Oswald to wealthy local businessman Clay Shaw, a former president of the International Trade Mart. Garrison's attempt to establish connections between the two included W. Guy Banister (a retired FBI agent and former New Orleans Police Assistant Superintendent turned private investigator and anti-communist) and Banister's friend David Ferrie.

Although Ferrie and Oswald had been simultaneously members of the Civil Air Patrol in New Orleans during the 1950s and both appear in a C.A.P. group photo,<ref>More about the Ferrie Photo, FRONTLINE, November 20, 2003</ref> there is no credible evidence they had any significant contact when Oswald was a teenager.

[edit] Mexico

While Ruth Paine drove Marina back to Dallas, Oswald lingered in New Orleans for two more days waiting to collect a $33 unemployment check. He boarded a bus for Houston but instead of heading north to Dallas he took a bus southwest towards Laredo and the U.S.-Mexico border. Once in Mexico he hoped to continue on to Cuba, a plan he openly shared with other passengers on the bus.<ref>Warren Commission hearings, volume 11, page 214-5.</ref> Arriving in Mexico City, he completed a transit visa application at the Cuban Embassy,<ref>Transit visa application (.jpg) at Kennedy Assassination Home Page</ref> claiming he wanted to visit the country on his way back to the Soviet Union. The Cubans insisted the Soviet Union would have to approve his journey to the USSR before he could get a Cuban visa, but he was unable to get speedy co-operation from the Soviet embassy.

After shuttling back and forth between consulates for five days, getting into a heated argument with the Cuban consul, making impassioned pleas to KGB agents, and coming under at least some CIA interest.<ref>(undated) Oswald's Foreign Activities (Coleman and Slawson to Rankin) (page 94) at The Assassination Archives and Research Center</ref> However, less than three weeks later, on October 18 the Cuban embassy in Mexico City finally approved the visa and 11 days before the assassination Oswald wrote a letter to the Soviet embassy in Washington DC, which said, "Had I been able to reach the Soviet Embassy in Havana as planned, the embassy there would have had time to complete our business."<ref>Oswald: Myth, Mystery, and Meaning, FRONTLINE, November 20, 2003</ref><ref>12-13-63 Report on Oswald's Stay in Mexico (page 19) at The Assassination Archives and Research Center</ref>

[edit] Assassination of JFK

The 1964 Warren Commission report on the John F. Kennedy assassination concluded that at 12:30 p.m. on November 22 1963, Oswald shot Kennedy from a window on the sixth floor of the book depository warehouse as the President's motorcade passed through Dallas' Dealey Plaza (see lone gunman theory). Texas Governor John Connally was also seriously wounded along with assassination witness James Tague who received a minor facial injury. On the evening of November 22, in an impromptu news conference, Oswald denied shooting president Kennedy or officer J. D. Tippit. The Warren Commission could not ascribe any one motive or group of motives to Oswald's actions. <ref> Warren Commission Report Chapter 7- Unanswered Questions</ref>

[edit] Oswald's flight and the murder of Officer J. D. Tippit

Image:LHO14.jpg
Dallas PD color mugshot November 23, 1963

According to the Warren Commission report, immediately after he shot President Kennedy, Oswald hid the rifle behind some boxes and descended via the Depository's rear stairwell. On the second floor he encountered Dallas police officer Marion Baker who had driven his motorcycle to the door of the Depository and sprinted up the stairs in search of the shooter. With him was Oswald's supervisor Roy Truly, who identified Oswald as an employee, which caused Baker, who had his pistol in hand, to let Oswald pass. Oswald bought a Coke from a vending machine in the second floor lunchroom, crossed the floor to the front staircase, descended and left the building through the front entrance on Elm Street, just before the police sealed the building off. He would be the only employee to leave early that day; a roll call later found only Oswald missing, and this resulted in a suspect-wanted order issued specifically for Oswald.<ref>http://www.archives.gov/research/jfk/warren-commission-report/chapter-4.html#actions</ref>

At about 12:40 p.m. (CST), Oswald boarded a city bus by pounding on the door in the middle of a block — when heavy traffic had slowed the bus to a halt — and requested a bus transfer from the driver.<ref>Bus transfer (.gif) at Kennedy Assassination Home Page</ref> He took a taxicab to a few blocks beyond his rooming house at 1026 N. Beckley Ave. He walked back to his rooming house to retrieve his revolver and beige jacket at about 1:00 p.m. This was witnessed by his house-keeper, Earlene Roberts, who testified that "He was walking fast - almost running", but Roberts had bad eyesight, and was "almost blind in one eye", as she admitted.<ref>http://jfkassassination.net/russ/testimony/robertse.htm</ref>

Minutes later, Oswald left the house and lingered briefly at a bus stop across the street from his rooming house (also witnessed by Roberts). After a short wait at the bus stop — although he still had a bus transfer in his possession — he began walking. He then walked about 1 mile toward the next bus stop, but was stopped about four blocks from it by Tippit.<ref>http://www.archives.gov/research/jfk/warren-commission-report/chapter-4.html#movements</ref>

Officer J. D. Tippit, who had heard the general description of the alleged shooter (based on the statement of witness Howard Brennan who had seen Oswald in the window of the Depository from across the street) encountered Oswald — near the corner of Patton Avenue and 10th Street — and pulled up to talk to him through his patrol car window. Tippit then got out of his car and Oswald fired at the police officer with his .38 caliber revolver. Four of the shots hit Tippit, killing him instantly, in view of several witnesses.<ref>Warren Report (page 165) at The Assassination Archives and Research Center</ref> At least a dozen people either witnessed the shooting or identified Oswald as fleeing the scene.<ref>http://www.archives.gov/research/jfk/warren-commission-report/chapter-4.html#description </ref>

Image:TexasTheater oswaldsSeat.jpg
Oswald's Seat In The Texas Theater

A few minutes later, Oswald ducked into the entrance alcove of a shoe store on Jefferson Street to avoid passing police cars, then slipped into the nearby Texas Theater without paying. (The films being shown were War Is Hell, narrated by Audie Murphy, and Cry of Battle). The shoe store's manager saw all of this, followed Oswald and alerted the theater's ticket clerk, who phoned the police.

The police quickly arrived and entered the theater as the lights were turned on. Officer M.N. McDonald approached Oswald sitting near the rear and ordered him to stand up. Oswald said, "This is it", or "Well, it's all over now."<ref>http://www.ratical.org/ratville/JFK/LHO.html</ref> A scuffle ensued where Officer McDonald reported that Oswald pulled the trigger on his revolver, but the hammer came down on the web of skin between the thumb and forefinger of the officer's hand, which prevented the revolver from firing. Oswald was eventually subdued. As he was led past an angry group of people who had gathered outside the theater, Oswald shouted that he was a victim of police brutality.

Oswald was booked on suspicion first as a suspect in the shooting of Officer Tippit and shortly afterwards on suspicion of murdering President Kennedy. By the end of the evening he had been arraigned for both murders.<ref>Warren Report (page 200) at The Assassination Archives and Research Center</ref>

While in custody, Oswald had an impromptu, face-to-face brush with reporters and photographers in the hallway of the police station. A reporter asked him, "Did you shoot the President?" and Oswald answered, "I have not been accused of that." [The reporters answered that he had been] "In fact, I didn't even know about it until a reporter in the hall asked me that question." Later Oswald said to reporters, "I didn't shoot anyone," and "They're taking me in because of the fact that I lived in the Soviet Union. I'm just a patsy!"

[edit] Oswald's murder

Image:Ruby-shooting-oswald.jpg
Jack Ruby shooting Lee Harvey Oswald, to whom Dallas detective Jim Leavelle (to right of Ruby, wearing light hat) was handcuffed.

At 11:21 am CST Sunday, November 24, Oswald was shot and fatally wounded before live TV cameras in the basement of Dallas police headquarters by Jack Ruby, a Dallas nightclub owner with many friends and acquaintances in the Dallas Police and the underworld. Millions watched the shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald, the first time a homicide was captured and shown publicly on live television. However, it was carried live only on NBC, via a live remote from their Dallas-Ft. Worth affiliate station WBAP-TV.

Upon receiving word of the shooting, CBS-TV immediately cuts from Roger Mudd's report at the U.S. Capitol back to the CBS newsroom and Harry Reasoner, who reports a scuffle at the Dallas City Jail. By the time the network switches to the jail, Dallas police and officials are wrestling Ruby to the ground and leading him out of the basement and into the jail. TV networks replayed the incident from videotape many times over the following days. Among the newscasters present during the shooting were Tom Pettit for NBC-TV, Bob Huffaker for CBS affiliate KRLD-TV, and Ike Pappas of WNEW Radio.

Unconscious, Oswald was put into an ambulance and rushed to the same hospital where JFK had died. Doctors did their best to save Oswald, but Ruby's single bullet had severed major abdominal blood vessels, and the doctors were unable to repair the massive trauma. At 48 hours and 7 minutes after the President's death, Oswald was pronounced dead. After a full autopsy, Oswald's body<ref>Oswald's body after death</ref> was returned to his family.

Oswald's grave is in Rose Hill Memorial Burial Park in Fort Worth.<ref>Directions to Lee Harvey Oswald's Grave at Kennedy Assassination Home Page</ref> The inexpensive coffin was provided at the expense of the state. The November 25th burial and funeral were paid for by Oswald's brother Robert. There was no religious service and reporters acted as pallbearers. When his mother died in 1981 she was buried next to Oswald with no headstone. Originally his headstone read Lee Harvey Oswald, but this marker was stolen and replaced with one which only reads Oswald. His wife Marina, who was sequestered by federal agents the day after the assassination and later released, married Kenneth Porter in 1965 and her two daughters June and Rachel took Porter's last name.

[edit] Investigations

  • The Warren Commission created by President Lyndon B. Johnson on November 29, 1963 to investigate the assassination concluded that Oswald assassinated Kennedy and that he acted alone (also known as the Lone gunman theory). The proceedings of the commission were secret and about 3% of its files have yet to be released to the public which has continued to provoke speculation among skeptics.
  • In 1979, an investigation by the House Select Committee on Assassinations, concluded that Oswald assassinated President Kennedy "probably...as the result of a conspiracy." The HSCA prepared an initial report concluding that Oswald acted alone until a Dictabelt recording purportedly of the assassination surfaced and the Committee revised their conclusion. This acoustic evidence has itself been called into question and many believe it is not a recording of the assassination at all<ref>http://hnn.us/articles/21289.html</ref>. The attorney for the House Select Committee on Assassinations, G. Robert Blakey, told ABC News that there were 20 people, at least, who heard a shot from the grassy knoll, and that the conclusion that a conspiracy existed in the assassination was established by both the witness testimony and acoustic evidence. In 2004, he expressed less confidence in the acoustic evidence<ref>http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKblakey.htm.</ref>. Officer McLain, whose motorcycle the dictabelt evidence comes from, has repeatedly stated that he was not yet in Dealey Plaza at the time of the assassination<ref>http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/jaynes/mclain.htm.</ref>. The HSCA was unable to identify the other gunman or the extent of the conspiracy. It also had insufficient evidence to identify any group responsible.

[edit] 1981 exhumation

In October 1981 Oswald's body was exhumed at the behest of British writer Michael Eddowes, with Marina Oswald Porter's support. He sought to prove a thesis developed in a 1975 book, Khrushchev Killed Kennedy (re-published in 1976, in Britain as November 22: How They Killed Kennedy and in America a year later as The Oswald File).

Eddowes' theory was that during Oswald's stay in the Soviet Union he was replaced with a Soviet double named Alek, who was a member of a KGB assassination squad Eddowes' claim is that it was this look-alike who killed Kennedy, and not Oswald. Eddowes's support for his thesis was a claim that the corpse buried in 1963 in the Shannon Rose Hill Memorial Park cemetery in Fort Worth, Texas did not have a scar that resulted from surgery conducted on Oswald years before.

When Oswald's body was exhumed it was found that the coffin had ruptured and was filled with water; leaving the body in an advanced state of decomposition with partial skeletonization. The examination positively identified Oswald's corpse through dental records, and also detected a mastoid scar from a childhood operation.<ref>http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/parnell/xindex.htm</ref> Contrary to reports, the skull of Oswald had been autopsied and this was confirmed at the exhumation.<ref>http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/parnell/dimaio.htm</ref>

[edit] Assassination theories

Critics have not accepted the official government conclusions and have proposed a number of alternative theories which assert that Oswald conspired with others or Oswald was not involved at all and was framed. However, many of these theories contradict each other, and no single compelling alternative suspect or conspirator has emerged.

One government investigation, the HSCA, ruled out many of these theories but concluded that, while Oswald was the assassin, that Kennedy was "probably" killed as the result of a conspiracy. However, the HSCA report did not identify any probable co-conspirators and its conclusion has been criticised for its reliance upon acoustic evidence that has been called into question.

Further information: Kennedy assassination theories

[edit] Mannlicher-Carcano Rifle

Image:Oswaldrifle.jpg
Lee Harvey Oswald's Mannlicher-Carcano rifle, in the US National Archives

In March 1963, Oswald used his alias "A. Hidell" (which he would later use for the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, and for which he was carrying an I.D. card when arrested after the Kennedy murder) to purchase the rifle later linked to the November 22, 1963 assassination of John F. Kennedy. The surplus Italian military rifle was purchased from Klein's Sporting Goods in Chicago, with a coupon taken from an ad in the February issue of American Rifleman. FBI and Treasury Department experts later matched the handwriting on the coupon and the envelope, to Oswald. The rifle was purchased under "A. Hidell" but sent to a Dallas post office box rented by Oswald under his own name.

[edit] Backyard Photos

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Oswald in the backyard

The "backyard photos," which were probably taken around Sunday, March 31, by Marina Oswald,show Oswald dressed all in black and holding two Marxist newsletters — The Militant and The Worker — in one hand, a rifle in the other, and carrying a pistol in its holster. The backyard photos were shot using a camera belonging to Oswald, an Imperial Reflex Duo-Lens 620. <ref> Warren Commission Report Chapter 4, p.127 </ref> When shown the pictures at Dallas Police headquarters after his arrest, Oswald insisted they were fakes. <ref> Warren Commission Report, Chap. 4, pp.181 </ref>

These photos were labelled CE 133-A and CE 133-B. CE 133-A shows the rifle in Oswald's left hand and newletters in front of his chest in the other, while rifle is held with the right hand in CE 133-B.

The HSCA obtained another first generation print (from CE 133-A) on April 1, 1977 from the widow of George de Mohrenschildt. The words "Hunter of fascists — hah ha ha!" written in block Russian were on the back. Also in English were added in script: "To my friend George, Lee Oswald, 5/IV/63 [April 5, 63]"<ref>http://www.aarclibrary.org/publib/jfk/hsca/reportvols/vol6/html/HSCA_Vol6_0079a.htm </ref> Handwriting experts consulted by the HSCA concluded the English inscription and signature were written by Lee Oswald. After two original photos, one negative and one first-generation copy had been found, the Senate Intelligence Committee located (in 1976) a third photograph of Oswald with a backyard pose that was different (CE 133-C, with newspapers held in his right hand away from his body). This photo was found by the widow of Dallas police officer Roscoe White, amongst his belongings.

These photos have been subjected to rigorous analysis. <ref>http://www.aarclibrary.org/publib/jfk/hsca/reportvols/vol6/html/HSCA_Vol6_0086b.htm.</ref> A panel of twenty-two photographic experts consulted by the HSCA examined the photographs and answered twenty-one points of contention raised by critics.<ref> House Select Committee on Assassinations Report Chapter VI</ref> The panel concluded the photographs were genuine.<ref>id.</ref> However, despite the conclusions of these investigations, some critics contested the authenticity of the photographs, including Jack D. White in his testimony before the HSCA. <ref>http://jfkassassination.net/russ/jfkinfo/hscawhte.htm</ref>

[edit] Notes

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[edit] References

[edit] External links

John F. Kennedy assassination

Timeline | Autopsy | Reaction | Funeral | Lee Harvey Oswald | Warren Commission | HSCA | Dictabelt evidence | Conspiracy theories | Zapruder film | Single bullet theory

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Lee Harvey Oswald

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