John F. Kennedy 1960-1963
“Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can
do for your country. Let the word go forth from this time and
place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed
to a new generation of Americans.”
Kennedy‟s inaugeral speech, 22 January 1961.
Concerns at Home
Kennedy brothers‟ Black Civil
war on organised Rights
„Camelot‟ – the
Kennedy‟s domestic programmes did not advance
very far due to increasing problems abroad.
Foreign Policy Problems Facing Kennedy:
Cold War Rivalries with Russia
Cuban Missile Crisis
Bay of Pigs Fiasco 1961 The Soviet Union
US assisted invasion of Cuba by
Fidel Castro fails disastrously
Nikita Space Race
By the middle of 1963 Kennedy was
considering his chances of winning a
second term as President. He began
preparing for the 1964 presidential
election campaign. Kennedy faced a
The South was vital to Kennedy‟s chances
difficult task. Many felt that his foreign
of electoral success. But Kennedy was
policy had been less than successful.
distrusted by many southern whites,
partly because of his sympathy towards
the black civil rights movement and also
because of his failure to eliminate the
communist Fidel Castro in Cuba. Also,
Kennedy was a northern catholic.
Kennedy saw Texas as the key to his
success in the South and he decided to visit
the state in November. This was partly to be Texas
a charm crusade but Kennedy was also
hoping to heal a damaging split which had
occurred within the Texan Democratic
Party , between the left-wing led by Senator
Ralph Yarborough and the right, led by the
State Governor, John Connally.
Kennedy‟s Texas visit
started first at Fort Worth.
Then, on the morning of the
22 November, Kennedy took
President Kennedy speaking to a crowd at the short flight from Fort
Fort Worth in the early morning of 22
November. Behind him [L – R] are Senator Worth to Love Airfield,
Ralph Yarborough, Governor John Connally Dallas.
and Vice-President Lyndon Johnson.
Arrival at Love Field airport. President Kennedy
and the First Lady are in the rear seat. Governor
Connally and his wife are in the jump seat.
The Presidential limousine travelling through
the streets of Dallas on the way to a gathering at
the Wallmart Center.
Kennedy‟s car turns into Dealey Plaza
12.30 – The limousine enters Elm Street and
shots are heard. President Kennedy is struck in
the throat and, then, the head.
1.00 pm –
The stricken Kennedy is taken to the nearby Parklands
Hospital where at 1.00 pm the President is declared dead.
2.00 pm –
One hour later Lyndon Johnson, on board Airforce
One, is sworn in as the 36th president of America.
That afternoon police arrest Lee
Harvey Oswald for murdering
police officer Tippets. Later, he is
declared a suspect in the murder
of the president.
Saturday, 23 November, 1963 –
The next morning the Dallas Police announced that the case
had been solved: Oswald acting alone, had shot President
Kennedy from a sixth floor window of the Texas School Book
Depository Building, where a rifle and three cartidges were
Oswald, however, maintained he was innocent. “I‟m just a
patsy,” he said. The assassination of President Kennedy
provoked speculation: Was Oswald indeed a lone assassin?
Was he involved in a conspiracy to kill the president? Was
he a hired killer acting for someone else? Was he
Sunday, 24 November, 1963 –
On Sunday morning, while millions watched on TV, Oswald was
murdered in the basement of a Dallas jail by Jack Ruby, the owner of
a Dallas strip-tease joint called the Carousel . Rumours spread
rapidly, and a shocked nation demanded answers.
Friday, 29November, 1963 -
Lyndon Johnson calls into being the Warren Commission
charged with investigating the assassination of John
Kennedy. Its findings are published on 24 September, 1964.
24 September, 1964 –
After ten months of secret hearings, Chief Justice Earl Warren
presented the Commission‟s report to President Johnson. The
Commission found that Oswald, acting alone, had
assassinated President Kennedy. Mainstream media hailed it
as “the most massive, detailed and convincing piece of
detective work ever undertaken, unmatched in the annals of
24 November, 1964
The US government releases
26 volumes of testimony and
exhibits which contained the
evidence on which the
Warren Report was
The New York Times reported
that the 26 volumes
the conclusions [of the
Warren Commission‟s Report]
that the assassination was no
conspiracy but the work of
one unhappy man, Lee Harvey
1. There were three shots fired and which struck Kennedy.
2. The shots came from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book
3. One shot fired passed through Kennedy and struck Governor
4. The shots were fired by a lone gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald.
5. The killing of Kennedy was due purely to a „lone-nut‟
1. How many shots were fired ? - A review of the medical evidence.
2. A ‟Lone Gunman‟ ? - A study of the Zapruder film, and other evidence.
3. The Patsy ? - Was Lee Harvey Oswald framed ?
4. The Patriot ? - The role of Jack Ruby.
5. Who else might want Kennedy killed ? - Conspiracy Theories.
You will be divided into small groups to assess evidence which either
supports or questions the findings of the Warren Commission. You will make
presentations putting forward your conclusions.