ASSASSINATION OF US PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY, NOVEMBER 12, 1963
About three weeks after the unexpected murder of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem on November 2, 1963, President Kennedy was campaigning in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963. He, Mrs. Kennedy, Governor John Connally, and Mrs. Connolly were riding in a limousine that led a motorcade around town. The motorcade traveled through Dealey Plaza, and the limousine passed the Schoolbook Depository Building, Mrs. Connally heard gunshots. She looked at President Kennedy, who was clutching his throat, covering a shot wound. Then, Governor Connally was shot in the back, and only seconds later a third shot was fired. At the time, Mrs. Kennedy thought they were firecrackers from the crowd of onlookers celebrating the president. She heard President Kennedy making “terrible noises” and realized the sound had been a fatal shot to his head. Forty-five minutes later, Lee Harvey Oswald was charged with the murder of police officer J.D. Tippit. He was then interrogated without a lawyer or any sort of protocol, but was also accused with the assassination of John F. Kennedy. He was to be taken to State Prison on November 24, 1963, but instead was shot and killed on live television in the garage of the police building. A week later, The Warren Commission was established, which, on the basis of months of investigation, declared specifics of the assassination. However, there have been many recounts of the event, and many speculations and conspiracy theories as to what actually happened. Many of these postulations include common suspects such as “Black Dog Man” and “Badge Man”, titled so because both true identities remain unknown. Not too long before his assassination, Kennedy had stated that the US couldn’t do anything more than assist the Vietnamese, as the war in Vietnam was theirs to win or lose. There is some speculation that before he was killed, Kennedy had intentions to begin gradually taking American advisors out of Vietnam, and that he had planned to have the US military completely out of the country by 1965. However, the death of President Kennedy left the issues in Vietnam in the hands of Vice President Lyndon Johnson, who dealt with the war with a different approach. Johnson upheld Kennedy’s Vietnam policies without making any significant changes until 1964, when the North Vietnamese government chose to escalate the war, in hopes that it would sway the United States to compromise to resolve the war. In response, President Johnson increased American support to South Vietnam. Johnson stated in an address at Johns Hopkins University that, “our objective is the independence of South Vietnam and its freedom from attack. We want nothing for ourselves – only that the people of South Vietnam be allowed to guide their own country in their own way. We will do everything necessary to reach that objective, and we will do only what is absolutely necessary.” This idea that the US would only use a defensive strategy to assist South Vietnam was the very same that Kennedy had declared in National Security Action Memorandum 52. As he stated, Johnson did not have intentions for the United States to take offensive action, instead US soldiers were expected to act as guards until the South Vietnamese could reconstruct their armed forces.