Lee Harvey Oswald

(1939—1963) American alleged assassin of John F. Kennedy

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John F. Kennedy (1917—1963)

Earl Warren (1891—1974) American judge


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US gunman who was arrested and charged with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. He was himself murdered two days after his arrest.

Oswald was raised by his widowed mother in various parts of the USA. He developed an interest in Soviet culture and Marxist ideology and in 1959, following his dishonourable discharge from the Marine Corps, he travelled to the Soviet Union and requested citizenship. He was granted resident alien status in 1960 and moved to Minsk, taking a job in a factory. The following year he married Marina Prusakova, a Soviet citizen, and the following June they returned to the USA to settle in Fort Worth, Texas.

Oswald achieved international notoriety when he was arrested in Dallas, Texas, following the assassination of Kennedy at 12.30 pm on 22 November 1963. The official commission of inquiry – the Warren Commission – found that Oswald had fired two bullets from an upper window of the Texas School Book Depository, which overlooked the presidential motorcade. His second bullet fatally wounded the president. Oswald also shot and killed a police patrolman who apprehended him shortly before his capture, at around 2 pm in the Texas Theatre. However, Oswald never stood trial. On 24 November, he was shot and killed by a Dallas night-club owner, Jack L. Ruby, while being moved by police out of Dallas police station.

Many have disputed the Warren Commission's conclusion that Oswald was acting alone. Other theories have been advanced, including the propositions that Oswald was a Soviet agent or that he was part of a much larger domestic conspiracy organized by forces hostile to Kennedy. That Oswald was murdered to ensure his silence was always denied by Ruby, who died in prison in 1967 while awaiting a retrial for the murder.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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