StMU Research Scholars

Lee Harvey Oswald, America’s Least Favorite Man

Lee Harvey Oswald sits at the top of the Depository building waiting for Kennedy’s car to pass by at the perfect time.1 Time passes, Oswald’s chance becomes closer, he starts to get a clearer view, and he can barely stand the wait. He is about to commit one of the greatest assassinations known in American history.

President Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline on their ride in Dallas just before the shooting | Courtesy of The Los Angeles Times

In order to understand this Oswald and what brought him to that floor of the Depository building that day, let’s take a look into his past and see what life was like for him. When Oswald was a teenager he developed strong left-wing political views and became an avowed Marxist. When he was sixteen he joined the Marines in hopes of emigrating to the Soviet Union. He successfully received dishonorable discharge from the U.S. Marines in 1959 and escaped into Russia.2 Oswald lived in Russia for three years before moving back to Dallas, Texas. Oswald visited New Orleans early in 1963 and founded a pro-Castro organization known as the “Fair Play for Cuba Committee,” in which he was the only member. Oswald then returned to Dallas that October and began a low-paying job at the Texas School Book Depository.3

Although Oswald was successful in getting what he wanted, there were complications in his assassination of Kennedy. He fired three bullets, one only wounding Kennedy, the second wounding Governor John Connally, and a third that struck Kennedy in the head, killing him instantly.4

Newspaper Article from JFK’s Assassination | Courtesy of The Los Angeles Times

In the few short moments it took for Oswald to assassinate Kennedy, he knew he needed to get out of that building. He quickly rushed out and during his escape managed to kill another man, Officer J.D. Tippett. After killing the officer, Oswald was arrested in a nearby movie theatre at 1:51 pm, and charged with the murder of officer Tippett.5 Oswald was then taken to jail, and was held there for two days before being moved to the county prison.

A series of unfortunate events occurred as Oswald was being transported to the county prison. As he was being transported, Oswald was shot and killed by the owner of a Dallas night club, Jack Ruby.6 Although some may say that what Ruby did was right in trying to get revenge for Oswald murdering a beloved president, he was found guilty of murder with malice and sentence to death. Ruby was a lucky man though; his lawyers were able to fight hard enough to get him out of facing the death penalty.

Lee Harvey Oswald will forever be known as a murderer and assassin. He can be seen as someone that demoralized Americans, and caused so many people to doubt the true nature of people. Oswald has always been seen as an abnormal person, he did so many things that would’ve been red flags if the government had been watching him before the assassination. Oswald was a man of evil nature and will be talked about in history classes across the country until the end of time.

  1. William Rubinstein, “Oswald Shoots JFK,” History Today 49, no. 10 (October 1999): 15.
  2. William Rubinstein, “Oswald Shoots JFK,” History Today 49, no. 10 (October 1999): 15.
  3. William Rubinstein, “Oswald Shoots JFK,” History Today 49, no. 10 (October 1999): 15.
  4. Tom Wicker, “Kennedy is Killed By Sniper As He Rides In Car In Dallas; Johnson Sworn In On Plane,” The New York Times (New York City, New York), November 22, 1963.
  5. William Rubinstein, “Oswald Shoots JFK,” History Today 49, no. 10 (October 1999): 15.
  6. Kalyan B. Bhattacharyya, “Fredric Andrews Gibbs and the Assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy,” Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology 20, no. 2 (April 2017): 103.

52 Responses

  1. It is nice to know that Lee had started his own pro-Castro organization before he assassinated Kennedy. It seemed like the military played a big role in how he was able to assassinate the president successfully. We have learned from the assassination of Kennedy and now we have precautions for our future presidents so a tragedy such as this does not repeat.

  2. This was a very interesting article. I have read numerous articles on President Kennedy, however, this is the first that I read regarding is the murderer. Lee Harvey Oswald did an unspeakable act and will go down in history for what he did. I never knew that three shots were fired that day, one even wounding Governor John Connally. It was also the first time that I heard of Jack Ruby and how he shot Oswald. Overall, this was a very good article and very easy to follow along. Good work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.