The Assassination of John F. Kennedy

Pre-University Paper, 2006

40 Pages, Grade: 5.5 (Schweiz)


Table of Contents

1 Introduction

2 Short Biography of JFK

3 The Assassination
3.1 Chronology of the Assassination
3.2 Eye witness accounts
3.3 Reactions to the Assassination in Switzerland
3.3.1 Statements in newspapers
3.3.2 Personal reactions

4 Theories
4.1 Warren Commission
4.1.1 Pro
4.1.2 Contra
4.2 Jim Garrison
4.2.1 Pro
4.2.2 Contra
4.3 Fidel Castro
4.3.1 Pro
4.3.2 Contra
4.4 Mafia
4.4.1 Pro
4.4.2 Contra
4.5 Recent findings

5 Consequences of the Assassination on the World

6 Conclusion


1 Introduction

John Fitzgerald Kennedy was very popular and much adored during his term of office. The world should not yet know about his real personality. In later years after his death, the truth came out. He was not the faithful husband nor was he in good health. Nevertheless, he is still one of the most popular US Presidents ever. He had not deserved to be assassinated. No one has. Inspired by Oliver Stone’s Hollywood movie ‘JFK’, I wanted to know more about the assassination. Who could be responsible for it? Which motivation could someone have to kill the president of the most powerful nation in the world? I do not intend to find the real murderer, I am not competent for that. Yet, I can try to get a picture of the most important theories and evaluate them. I am as well interested in the consequences of the assassination on the world. I think another interesting question is how the people reacted to the assassination. People who were there, and people who only heard it in the news. Both seem to be concerned.

The most exciting part about the assassination is the ignorance. Although over 40 years passed since then, the Kennedy case, as one of very few of the 20th Century, still remains unsolved.

2 Short Biography of JFK

John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born on Mai 29, 1917 in Brookline (Massachusetts/USA) as the son of a diplomat. Originally his family came from Ireland but moved to the USA. John was the second of nine children. In 1926 they moved to New York. From 1936 to 1940 John F. Kennedy studied political science at the Harvard University. He released his final paper “Why England slept” which became a best-seller. The following year he studied management in California but he broke it off soon. During the last four years of World War II he had been serving in the marine voluntarily. In 1943 he was the commander of the speed boat[1]

PT 109. Although his boat has been destroyed by Japans and he was injured, Kennedy could rescue most of the crew and he has been made the hero of the disaster. What many people are not aware of, is that Kennedy often suffered from many diseases throughout his life.

“Returning to Massachusetts after the war, he was elected as a Democrat to the US House of Representatives (1947-53) and the US Senate (1953-61).”[2] In 1953 he got married to Jaqueline Bouvier. They had three children. One of them died shortly after birth. In 1956 Kennedy’s book “Profiles in Courage” (Zivilcourage) won the Pulitzer Prize.

“Having failed in his 1956 bid for the Democratic vice-presidential nomination, in 1960 he became the youngest man, and first Catholic, to be elected US President.”2 His rival had been later US President Richard Nixon. John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the 35th President of the United States of America. During his term of office he made effort to establish the same rights for black people as for white people. Another important decision was to change the foreign policy of the Cold War into a policy with lots of compromises to guarantee peace. He made effort to retire from Vietnam and to build up a friendly relationship towards Russia. After his death most of his foreign policy was turned back into the former Cold War policy.

One of the most delicate topics was the Cuba Crisis. In 1959 Fidel Castro’s revolution triumphed and became a close partner to the USSR. So Cuban exiles which had been trained by the CIA and militarily supported by the USA made an assault on Fidel Castro’s regime but they failed. This was a great political fiasco and for Kennedy a personal defeat, too. Later on, ”the Russians placed missiles on Cuba wherefore the political balance of power was in great danger.”[3] As a reaction to that, Kennedy ordered an economical embargo against Cuba and set the Soviets under pressure. Finally the Russians retired from Cuba. Thus the danger of a World War III could be averted. “As a result of the Cuba Crisis the USA and USSR installed the ‘hot wire’, a direct teleprint line between the governments in America and Russia. Both countries agreed on the nuclear test stop.”[4] Kennedy was also interested in the situation in Berlin (East-/West under different regimes). Without Kennedy’s effort it would have ended in a disaster. In his last year he travelled to Germany and especially to Berlin, where he had his famous speech: “Ich bin ein Berliner!”. The German nation was inspired. The very day before his death he ordered to prepare a new programme against poverty. John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963 in Dallas/Texas. A few days later he was buried in Arlington.

Because of his early death he became immediately a myth. Although his affairs with women such as Marilyn Monroe tarnished his image in the minds of some people he is still one of the most adorable men of the 20th Century.

3 The Assassination

It was November 22, 1963 when John F. Kennedy was visiting Dallas/Texas. Although many Southerners were against him because he supported the Black Civil Rights Movement, Kennedy got a very friendly welcome.

He just wanted to start his campaign for the next election day there when suddenly three shots were fired and the President got deadly injured. He had only been about thousand days in office . There exist a lot of different theories about the murder of JFK (see Chapter 4). Nevertheless, there are also assured facts of the happenings. And that is what I want to list in chapter 3.1.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Famous Picture of Kennedis Lincoln on November 22, 1963[5]

3.1 Chronology of the Assassination

Friday, November 22, 1963

11.38h: The Air Force One lands in Dallas. The motorcade is being prepared.[6]

11.50h: Kennedy takes seat in a black Lincoln Continental. He has ordered to use the car without the bullet-proof top; against the advice of his security agents. His wife is sitting together with Kennedy on the back seat of the car. She is on his left-hand side. The governor of Texas, John Connally, and his wife are sitting on the middle seat. On the front seat are the chauffeur and a Secret Service agent. Kennedy is going to have a speech on the Trade Mart. About 250’000 people are waiting for him.

11.55h: Reportedly, the route is shortly changed so that the motorcade passes the Elm Street instead of staying on the Main Street.[7]

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Motorcade route[8]

12.30h: The motorcade is passing the Dealey Plaza (in the middle of the picture) with approximately 11 km/h. About three shots are fired on the President within less than 10 seconds apparently from behind. He gets first hurt on his neck. Secret Service agent Clint Hill in the car behind is the only one who reacts brilliantly. He starts running to the Presidential car but another bullet hits Kennedy’s head just a touch before Hill reaches the car. Governor Connally is hurt as well. Both together have eight injuries which is a clue that there might have been more than three shots.[9]

“James Tague, a spectator and witness to the assassination, also received a minor wound to his right cheek while standing 270 feet (82 meters) in front of where Kennedy was hit, presumably from debris that shot up when a bullet had hit the curb.”[10]

12.36h: The limousine reaches the Parkland Memorial Hospital. Jackie Kennedy is under shock. The doctors try to save him. Useless.

13.00: John F. Kennedy is pronounced dead.

13.06h: Police officer Jefferson David Tippit is anonymously shot.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

13.10h: Sniper’s nest on 6th floor of the Texas School Book Depository is found. The police finds a Mannlicher- Carcano sniper rifle which had been ordered by Lee Harvey Oswald. Reportedly also a Mauser rifle is found, which disappears for ever soon afterwards.[11]

13.50h: The police arrests in a cinema suspicious 24-year-old Lee Harvey Oswald who has obviously killed police officer Tippit. He is blamed to have killed Kennedy and Tippit which he denies vehemently. Oswald is interrogated during twelve hours. No one keeps any records.

Officer J. D. Tippit[12]

14.20h: Kennedy’s dead body is moved to the Air Force One to fly to the Bethesda Naval Hospital in Washington for the autopsy. The pathologists are ordered not to examine Kennedy’s injury on the neck. After the autopsy all notes are burned and Kennedy’s brain disappears, which can never be examined.[13]

14.38h: Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson is inaugurated as US President on the Air Force One to prevent a national security emergency.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten[14]

Sunday, November 24, 1963

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten[15]

11.31h: Lee Harvey Oswald is shot by local Night Club owner Jack Ruby at the police headquarters in front of running cameras as he should be transferred to prison by police officers. Ruby explains, that he did not want Mrs. Kennedy to be confronted with the lawsuit around Oswald.

Monday, November 25, 1963

14.52h: John F. Kennedy is buried on the National Cemetery of Arlington. About a million people say goodbye.




[3] Maturaarbeit „John F. Kennedy – Profiles in Courage p.9

[4] Maturaarbeit „John F. Kennedy – Profiles in Courage p.13



[7] Jim Garrison: Wer erschoss John F. Kennedy?, p. 130




[11] Jim Garrison: Wer erschoss John F. Kennedy?, p. 126


[13] Jim Garrison: Wer erschoss John F. Kennedy?, p. 10



Excerpt out of 40 pages


The Assassination of John F. Kennedy
5.5 (Schweiz)
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
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2137 KB
Maturaarbeit, Kennedy, English, Attentat, Präsident, USA, Mordkomplott, Verschwörungstheorie
Quote paper
Beat Andreas Schweizer (Author), 2006, The Assassination of John F. Kennedy, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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