Research Essay President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963 in Dallas Texas. The assumed assassin was a man named Lee Harvey Oswald. Though there are many conspiracy theories that Oswald did not do it alone, or that it was planned by the government, the question many ask is why did Oswald kill the beloved president of the sixties, and what was his motive in doing so. Lee Harvey Oswald was an “introverted youngster who slept in his mother’s bed until the age of 1 1” (Fagin 18). Lee’s mother kept him from “playing sports and was overprotective… which caused [Lee]… to spend most of his time home alone reading” (Fagin 18).
Around the time Oswald moved to New Orleans, “Just before his 16th birthday in 1955, [Lee] dropped out of high school and developed an intense interest in Marxism” (Fagin 21). Many historians believe that part of Oswald’s motive for assassinating the president was due to his relationship with Marxism. Karl Marx was a “German economist and revolutionary socialist” (Fraser 458). The theory of Marxism was first introduced by “Karl Marx with his partner… Friedrich Engels” (Fraser 459). This later developed into the practice of communism. In the Marx’s system, there are “two main elements… at make up Marx’s philosophy’ (Fraser 459). The elements are “economic interpretation of history… and the doctrine of class-struggle” (Fraser 460). Karl Marx believed that the “history of the world” (Fraser 460) can not only be explained in “economic terms, but also class struggles played a decisive role” (Fraser 461). The combination of the two creates a “paradox in Marxist thought” (Fraser 461). Oswald had a rough childhood which drew him to become the person he was. Lee was “born shortly after his father’s death” (Hamilton 43) and his mother gave all her attention to Lee while “rejecting her two older sons” (Hamilton 43).
All this attention from his mom caused Lee to be very dependent on her since he was not allowed almost any freedom. That alone can cause children to want to rebel. Lee became a “shy boy… who sought in his fantasy world a strong authoritarian figure to replace the father he never had” (Hamilton 46). To Lee, “President Kennedy was a father fgure… and resembled his wife’s former lover” (Fagin 50). This love hate relationship towards the president “led to the assassination of the president” (Fagin 51). Without a male fgure to help his mother raise him, Lee was not disciplined very well at all.
Lee often exploded in rage” and such displays of Molence were… nothing new’ (Fagin 19). The state sent Lee for “psychiatric evaluation… but before he could undergo treatments, his mother took him to New Orleans” (Fagin 20). With that being said, there was clearly something wrong with Oswald. He may have been mentally unstable, if his mother would have taken him to check Lee out like the state said, Lee would have probably been better off and would not have dropped out of school. Since Marguerite clanged tightly to Oswald, he wanted an early way out to explore the world on his own so Lee “enlisted in the marines…
Just a few days after turning 17″ (Savodnik 30). This did not seem to suit Oswald well because he was not able to “appropriately adjust” (Savodnik 43) in the military. Oswald’s “defection” to the USSR was a part of a “pattern that had been set in motion” (Savodnik 24) due to his “unstable mother, Marguerite” (Savodnik 27). so he ventured to Russia at age nineteen” (Savodnik 45). Lee eventually “settled down in the USSR, Joined the cause, and finally fitted in” to the communism lifestyle (Savodnik 12). Oswald was a “self-proclaimed Marxist since adolescence, who defected to the USSR in 1959” (Organ) at his own will.
Oswald may have been “inspired by some Cuban students” he made friends with “while living in Minsk” (Organ). Because Lee “admired Cuba’s leader, Fidel Castro… Oswald planned the assassination of Dallasite General Walker” (Organ) who was an “outspoken critic of Castro” (Organ). Lee Harvey Oswald “apparently like President JFK,” but his mindset “was of a Marxist revolutionary… and saw the assassination as an opportunity to advance a greater cause” (Organ). Oswald taught himself to “cast aside any admiration for John F. Kennedy as a person” (Organ) in order to proceed with the assassination.
This year marked the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination. After watching the Zapruder Film, I was intrigued as to how and why this could have happened. WORKS CITED Fagin, Stephen. “Lee Harvey Oswald. ” At-nencan History 38. 5 (2003): 18-25. MasterFlLE premier. web. 18 NOV. 2013. Fraser, Lindley. “Karl Marx and the Philosophy of History. ” History Today 2. 7 (1952): 458-65. MasterFlLE Premier. Web. 12 Nov. 2013. Hamilton, James W. “Lee Harvey Oswald: Biography. ” Journal of Psychohistory 14. 1 (1986): 43-54. JSTOR. Web. 19 Nov. 2013. O’Reilly, Kenneth. “Spy Saga: Lee Harvey Oswald and U. S. Intelligence. Journal f American History 78. 3 (1991): 1145-146. Academic Search Premier. Web. 20 Nov. 2013. Organ, Jerry. “Lee Harvey Oswald’s Motivation in the Kennedy Assassination. ” Lee Harvey Oswald’s Motivation in the Kennedy Assassination. N. p. , May 2001. Web. 21 Nov. 2013.. Rubinstein, William. “Oswald Shoots JFK. ” History Today 49. 10 (1999): 15-17. America: History and Life on the Web. Web. 19 Nov. 2013. Savodnik, Peter. The Interloper: Lee Harvey Oswald inside the Soviet Union. New York: Basic, 2013. Print. Sperber, Jonathan. “Karl Marx the German. ” German History 31. 3 (2013): 383-90. Academic Search Premier. Web. 14 Nov. 2013.