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  • November 22, 1963, President John Fitzgerald Kennedy's open-top Lincoln Continental limousine

  • drives through the streets of Dallas, Texas.

  • Crowds are ecstatic, cheering, holding flags aloft and taking photos.

  • Nellie Connally, the First Lady of Texas, who's also in the car, turns around to the

  • President and says, “Mr. President, you can't say Dallas doesn't love you.”

  • Filled with joyousness, the President replies, “No, you certainly can't.”

  • Moments later, as the car passes the Texas School Book Depository, shots ring out.

  • The President's hands move towards his neck as he leans forwards and a little to the left.

  • His wife Jackie, grabs hold of him.

  • Another shot hits him in the head.

  • Jackie, utterly distraught, cries, “They have killed my husband.

  • I have his brains in my hand.”

  • This was one of the most shocking events in US history, and not without controversy.

  • For many years after, right up until today in fact, various theories have been put forward

  • as to how it actually happened and who exactly did it.

  • However, one man and one man only was ever charged with the crime and that was Lee Harvey

  • Oswald.

  • You've all heard the name, you've likely heard some of the countless conspiracy theories

  • about the assassination, but we guess not so many of you know much about the man who

  • was said to have pulled the trigger.

  • Today you're going to meet him and you're going to ask yourself what would drive a person

  • to do such a thing?

  • That's something you can tell us at the end of this video.

  • Lee Harvey Oswald is born on October 18, 1939.

  • He doesn't have the best start in life since his father dies of a heart attack just two

  • months into his life.

  • The family, now the mother named Marguerite, young Lee, and his two half-brothers, John

  • and Robert, are thrust into poverty.

  • Those kids move around in the city of New Orleans, from orphanages to children's homes

  • to boarding schools.

  • Not having a father-figure around, young Oswald's development is what you might call strangled.

  • As his older brother once said, “Very early on, he'd learned that he wasn't wanted.

  • We weren't wanted.

  • Mother was always alienating herself from us.”

  • When he's 12, Marguerite takes him to New York City where they live in a run-down area

  • in the Bronx.

  • He is pretty much asked to take care of himself as his mother goes out to work.

  • He hardly goes to school at all.

  • Instead, he hangs around the zoo and rides the subway system.

  • It's at the zoo where one day a truant officer sees him.

  • Oswald is not happy about being found out, calling the officer a “damned Yankee.”

  • He ends up in a detention center called Youth House and while there he has a psychiatric

  • evaluation.

  • He's said to live a “vivid fantasy lifeand possibly has some kind of personality

  • disorder.

  • One thing for sure is, this kid desperately needs some love and attention.

  • His social worker confirms this, saying he isemotionally frozen”, having never

  • really developed a relationship with anyone.

  • You got the feeling of a kid nobody gave a darn about,” says the social worker.

  • In his early teens, he has anawakening.”

  • He's walking down the street when an old woman hands him a pamphlet.

  • It's socialist in ethos and has in it two folks named Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.

  • These two are sentenced to death in the US for spying for Russia.

  • Sometime later Oswald writes in his diary: “I was looking for a key to my environment,

  • and then I discovered socialist literature.

  • I had to dig for my books in the back dusty shelves of libraries.”

  • He writes this to The Socialist Party of America: “I am sixteen years of age and would like

  • more information about your youth League, I would like to know if there is a branch

  • in my area, how to join, ect., I am a Marxist, and have been studying socialist principles

  • for well over fifteen months.”

  • Later, after running from the clutches of truant officers, Oswald and his mother return

  • to New Orleans.

  • They live in an area beset with poverty and vice, something that affects young Oswald

  • deeply.

  • Drug addicts, prostitutes, violent crime, pervasive racism, dilapidated housing, oppressive

  • cops, no help for the poor, and no opportunities for those not born with silver spoons.

  • He's taking it all in, guided by his socialist sympathies.

  • At age 16, he becomes a cadet with the Civil Air Patrol.

  • He also tries to join the army but is turned down for being too young.

  • That doesn't stop him from memorizing from back to front theMarine Manual.”

  • The obvious question is why does this budding Communist want to join the US military during

  • a very cold war with the 'commies'?

  • This is a kid who tells a friend he wants to kill President Eisenhower for exploiting

  • the working classes.

  • This is a boy who regularly showers praise on the Russian leader, Nikita Khrushchev.

  • One day a friend's father kicks him out of his house because he isexpounding the

  • Communist doctrine and saying communism was the only way of life for the worker.”

  • It seems his reason is he just needs to get away from his mother, that or it's the fact

  • his father had been a Marine and his brother has joined up.

  • The Warren Commission later wrote, “His study of Communist literature, which might

  • appear to be inconsistent with his desire to join the Marines, could have been another

  • manifestation of Oswald's rejection of his environment.”

  • You should also remember, he's a boy who just wants to be accepted.

  • And so at age 17, he becomes a Marine.

  • Nothing much changes, though.

  • He makes few friends and not so many people like him.

  • He isn't seen as mentally unstable, but he just doesn't fit in, nor does he ever

  • rise above the rank of private first class.

  • Still, he knows something about foreign affairs because he reads voraciously.

  • At times he picks fights with officers, according to one soldier, so hecould come out top

  • dog.”

  • This kid still hates authority with a vengeance, but he's also smart and can be likable to

  • certain people.

  • One day he shocks some folks listening to his rants by saying, “All the Marine Corps

  • did was to teach you to kill and after you got out of the Marines you might be good gangsters.”

  • During this stint in the Marines, he has two court-martials, one for having an unauthorized

  • pistol he accidentally shoots himself with.

  • His other court-martial is for calling an officer out to fight him.

  • He still holds those sympathies towards the Soviet Union and he even teaches himself some

  • Russian, albeit, he isn't very good.

  • He gets taken off active duty to look after a sick mother, but then he decides he's

  • going to Russia.

  • For that decision, he's undesirably discharged.

  • So, there he is in Russia, telling people how much he loves the Soviet Union in his

  • rudimentary Russian.

  • He tries to apply for citizenship, which is turned down.

  • This is what he writes in a letter to his brother:

  • “I have been a pro-communist for years and yet I have never met a communist, instead

  • I kept silent and observed, and what I observed plus my Marxist learning brought me here to

  • the Soviet Union.

  • I have always considered this country to be my own.”

  • He also writes this: “In the event of war.

  • I would kill any American who put a uniform on in defense of the American government - any

  • American.”

  • Just before his visa runs out and he's about to leave the country, he cuts himself on purpose,

  • after which, he's taken to a psychiatric facility.

  • He actually can't believe that the country he's given his heart to has snubbed him.

  • In his diary, he writes, “I am shocked!”

  • He says his dream has been shattered because one solitary official has taken it upon himself

  • to turn his visa down.

  • He finishes an entry in his diary with these words:

  • “I decide to end it.

  • Soak fist in cold water to numb the pain.

  • Then slash my left wrist.

  • Then plug wrist into bathtub of hot water....

  • Somewhere, a violin plays, as I watch my life whirl away.

  • I think to myself 'How easy to Die' and 'A Sweet Death'.”

  • When he gets out of the hospital he goes straight to the American Embassy.

  • He has a signed note with him which he hands over to an official.

  • On it are the words, “I Lee Harvey Oswald do hereby request that my present citizenship

  • in the United States of America, be revoked.”

  • He says he wants this for political reasons.

  • He's a Marxist now, and damn American poverty and the life he lived as a kid.

  • He says the only real reason he joined the Marines was that he wanted to have “a chance

  • to observe American imperialism.”

  • He writes in his diary, “I'm sure Russians will accept me after this sign of my faith

  • in them.”

  • He's right.

  • He's allowed to stay, but does he then become a tool of the Soviet government?

  • Is he hired as a spy?

  • Is he trained as an assassin?

  • Perhaps not, and later investigations will say that.

  • Not only that, The Russians are obviously a bit suspicious of him, so the KGB follow

  • him around a lot and plant bugs in his house.

  • Oswald is actually working for neither side.

  • He's sent to work as a lathe operator at an electronics firm in Minsk.

  • Over there he's given quite a good wage packet and lives in an apartment that is better

  • than most people's places.

  • Still, his distrust of authority doesn't change.

  • Now he talks about the oppressive Soviets.

  • Communist Party officials he writes are given benefits that he believes they shouldn't

  • receive.

  • His conclusion is that there arefat stinking politicians over there just like we have over

  • here.”

  • In January of 1961 he writes in his diary: “I am starting to reconsider my desire about

  • staying.

  • The work is drab, the money I get has nowhere to be spent.

  • No nightclubs or bowling alleys no places of recreation except the trade union dances.

  • I have had enough.”

  • He subsequently gets in touch with the US Embassy and says he wants to come home.

  • Prior to that happening, he has a whirlwind romance with a 19-year-old pharmacology student

  • named Marina Prusakova.

  • After six weeks, they marry, and around a year later they have their first child.

  • Not long after, the three of them land on American soil ready to live the American dream...

  • But something happens on Oswald's return.

  • He suddenly becomes not himself, not the man Prusakova knows.

  • He's become easily enraged, irritable.

  • She later told a court, “after coming to the United States Lee changed.

  • I did not know him as such a man in Russia.”

  • What has happened to him?

  • Well, that's the million-dollar question.

  • Maybe his demons have caught up with him.

  • This is a young man who's had psychological problems as a child.

  • He's tried the Marines and that hasn't helped.

  • He's tried moving to the Soviet Union and that hasn't helped, either.

  • Here is a man that now detests both communism and capitalism.

  • This is evident in his writing, of which one diary goes like this:

  • No man, having known, having lived, under the Russian Communist and American capitalist

  • system, could possibly make a choice between them, there is no choice, one offers oppression

  • the other poverty.”

  • He believes there can be another system, one which doesn't have the shortfalls of capitalism

  • and one which isn't a corrupt and twisted form of Marxism.

  • He writes that he hates the mass exterminations of Stalin and how Communism oppresses people,

  • but he equally detests what he considers a corrupt form of capitalism in the US.

  • He gets a job as a sheet metal worker, but he soon leaves that.

  • He then starts working as a photoprint trainee but is fired after rankling one too many people

  • when waxing about his beliefs.

  • He isn't very good at the job, either, but what really peeves his fellow employees is

  • the fact one day he brings into work a Russian language newspaper.

  • His employer later said the newspaper incident wasn't the only reason he was let go, but

  • itdidn't do him any good.”

  • Oswald is rejected once again.

  • Is he now ready to put his hand on the trigger?

  • In March 1963, he pays $29.95 for a secondhand 6.5 mm caliber Carcano rifle.

  • He buys himself a revolver, too.

  • The next month, retired U.S. Major General Edwin Walker is sitting at his desk in his

  • home in Dallas when suddenly there's a loud crash.

  • He's injured after bullet fragments connect with his arm.

  • To investigators, it looks like an assassination attempt, and it is, one it will turn out that

  • was undertaken by Lee Harvey Oswald.

  • This isn't discovered until later, though.

  • Why has he done it?

  • Ozwald despises Walker for his far right-wing sentiments, his anti-communist stance and

  • his racist attitude.

  • According to his wife, he believes that, “If someone had killed Hitler in time it would

  • have saved many lives.”

  • He thought he was doing the right thing.

  • The family moves to New Orleans, where Oswald becomes more infatuated with the Fair Play

  • for Cuba Committee.

  • There he distributes leaflets supporting Cuba, and even though he gets on the radio twice,

  • he doesn't really garner that much attention for the movement.

  • Not only that, Cuban exiles can't stand him.

  • It seems Oswald is as much concerned about getting attention for himself as he is for

  • the plight of Cuba.

  • His wife later said in court, “He wanted to be arrested.

  • I think he wanted to get into the newspapers, so that he would be known.”

  • He then tries to get to Cuba via Mexico.

  • In Mexico he pleads to officials at the Cuban embassy, saying he supports the cause, and

  • can he have a visa.

  • He says he also intends to return to the former Soviet Union.

  • After speaking with officials, and even the KGB, he is turned down.

  • The Cubans say he'll do more harm than good for the cause.

  • Ok, so now it's just days before JFK is gunned down in the street.

  • His heavily-pregnant wife is happy when he returns from Mexico, seeing as he is in a

  • pleasant mood and treats her well.

  • He seems like his old self again.

  • She later said in court, “He helped me more - although he always did help”, adding that

  • he was delighted about the prospect of having a second child with her.

  • Strange, because he's about to give all that up.

  • It's this kind of fact that will later give birth to a thousand conspiracies.

  • Around this time, Oswald is told about a job that is going at the Texas School Book Depository,

  • and after an interview on October 16 he's hired there for $1.25 an hour.

  • It's now just over a month before the fateful day.

  • He is apparently pretty good at his job.

  • Things are looking up, and then his second child is born.

  • Life couldn't be any better, on paper anyway.

  • He still argues with his wife at times.

  • Because of his radical left activities, he is now on the radar of the FBI.

  • Agents visit his house, but he isn't there.