On Friday, November 22nd, 1963 the 35th President of the United States of America, John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated. This unfortunate tragedy has created more controversy than any other single event. Today, the people of the United States of America are asking the same questions that the people who witnessed this tragic event. Who did it? Why did they do it? Was there a cover up? In this essay I will try to show who had a motive to assassinate President John F. Kennedy. When President Kennedy took the oath of office on January 20th, 1961, I don’t think he thought he would have to make any key decisions so early in his term.
On April 17, 1961 the President’s first international crises turned out to be a disastrous one. There were 1200 anti-Castro refugees that were trained by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to invade Cuba at the Bay of Pigs. Once the invasion began at the Bay of Pigs, Kennedy decided to pull back the air support. Kennedy gave the order to reduce the three air strikes down to one air strike. Right before the only air strike at the Bay of Pigs, Kennedy decided to cut the number of planes involved in the air attack.
The reason for the cut in the number of air strikes and planes was because the word of American participation got out. The 1200 anti-Castro refugees that were involved in the Bay of Pigs were either killed or held hostage. The hostages were later released after Kennedy was forced to pay ransom for Castro’s 1113 prisoners. After this disaster was over Kennedy approved an anti-Castro Operation which was called Operation Mongoose. This operation was an attempt to assassinate Castro by using Mafia hit men and exploding cigars.
Kennedy later called off Operation Mongoose. ibrary. thinkquest. org) In my opinion, Kennedy’s reducing of planes and air strikes during the Bay of Pigs, turning his back on the CIA trained refugees, and the ending of Operation Mongoose is enough for me to believe that the CIA/Mafia would have a motive to assassinate President Kennedy. When you are trying to show who had a motive to assassinate President Kennedy you should ask yourself these questions.
Who would gain the most by President Kennedys death? Who had several strong motives to kill President Kennedy? Whose sole obsession in life was to become the U. S. President? And finally, What Vice-President had a short expected life span? The answer to all the above questions is Lyndon B. Johnson. When Rep. Bryce Harlow was asked to describe Lyndon B. Johnson he was quoted “Larger than life character. Had to hold stage center, needed to dominate and control. He couldnt stand not being the cynosure of all eyes. He had to be at the head of the table… And people had to do what he thought they should do. “(Dyer. pg. 433) Being the Vice President there was no way LBJ could do or be any of these.
As long as Kennedy was President, LBJ would never hold stage center, and be head of the table. Knowing that LBJ was like this, Kennedy made LBJ Head of Committee in five different Committees. JFK sent LBJ on several foreign trips to help represent the U. S. in competition with communism. Johnson saw himself as a minor influence in a administration society to Conquer the “New Frontier”. (Dyer. pg. 435) LBJ later described his Vice Presidency as “filled with trips around the world, Chauffeurs, Men saluting, people clapping, Chairman ships of councils, but in the end it is nothing. I detested every minute of it.
This quote from the Vice President shows that LBJ didnt like doing what Kennedy thought he should do. If someone detested something so much, are they willing to do anything to get rid of it? If Kennedy wasnt assassinated and ended up finishing his first term in office, more than likely Kennedy would of ran again in 1964. Since the people of the United States and the Media loved Kennedy, I feel there is no way JFK would lose the Presidency. I also feel that LBJ sensed this too. Lyndon B. Johnson knew that he wasnt getting any younger, matter of fact, LBJ didnt think he would live a very long life.
When LBJ was analyzing himself in April 1959 to the Texas Quarterly, he made a statement. “Im not as young as I used to be nor as old as I expected to be. ” (Kane. pg. 242) The reason for this comment was because in the 1950s Johnson suffered a massive coronary attack. I feel LBJ thought he didnt have much time to live and he so desperately wanted to be President of the United States. As long as JFK was alive that wasnt going to happen.
When JFK was assassinated, LBJ finally got to sit in the White House as President of the United States. Just because Lyndon B. Johnsons title changed doesnt mean that he would. When LBJ needed something, he did what ever it took for him to get it. Just like becoming President. Republican Silvio Conte was quoted “Its the only time since I have been in congress that a president called me. I will never forget it”(Dyer. pg. 439) Columnist Drew Pearson remembers how LBJ “would seek them out to thank them for political favors. Almost every Tuesday and Thursday he invited a group of congressman over for an evening at the White House. “(Dyer. pg. 439) In the book: Presidential Fact book.
By Joseph Nathan Kane. LBJ said “Id rather give my life than be afraid to give it. ” This is LBJ replying to a Secret Service guard during the Kennedy funeral. The Secret Serviceman suggested that LBJ ride from the White House instead of walking with the others. This quote “Id rather give my life than be afraid to give it. ” Seems to be a lie. LBJ was the first President sworn in behind a three-sided bullet-proof glass enclosure. He was also the first President to ride in an armored automobile at his inauguration. Why did he do this? Was he scared to die?
Maybe LBJ knew how easy it was to assassinate the President. When Lyndon B. Johnson was running for President against Goldwater in 1964 he seemed to be having trouble with his campaigning. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy was the sentimental favorite to be nominated Vice President by the people of the United States. LBJ was eager to win the Presidency on his own. If Robert Kennedy was on his administration then he believed his victory would be contributed to Robert Kennedy being on his ticket. Johnson was determined NOT to have RFK as his running mate.
Once again, LBJ got what he wanted. He won the Presidency without Robert F. Kennedy on his ticket. Wouldnt you know it, Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated a couple years later. I know that this information and these statements that I have told you doesnt show any evidence or proof that the CIA, Mafia, or Lyndon B. Johnson had anything to do with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. On the other hand, I do believe that the CIA and the Mafia were somehow involved with the assassination of the President. As for Lyndon B. Johnson, I feel that he had the most to gain out of anyone.
As I showed in the paper, LBJ seemed to have a lot of motives for the assassination. While I did the research for this paper I had a fairly easy time finding information on this topic. There are a lot of books and web sites on the assassination of JFK. The only thing I had trouble with was determining what was fact and fiction on the web sites. There were so many different opinions out there, I didnt really know what ones to use. I ended up using only one web site because of this. The books I found said a lot of the same stuff. I ended up using most of my information from two books.
I knew that the assassination of JFK had an impact on the United States but I didnt realize just how much until I did some research. Not being able to experience the shooting first hand, I didnt understand what exactly this man meant to the people of the United States. The people of the United States felt they were robbed of a promising leader. The people also felt that this was the day when things began to come apart for the United States. Its hard to believe that a man who has died, has so much presence and power 37 years later.