Lee Harvey Oswald
(October 18, 1939 â€“ November 24, 1963)
was, according to four government investigations, the sniper who assassinated John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963.
A former U.S. Marine who had defected to the Soviet Union between October 1959 and June 1962, Oswald was initially arrested for the murder of police officer J. D. Tippit, on a Dallas street approximately 40 minutes after Kennedy was shot. Suspected in the assassination of Kennedy as well, Oswald denied involvement in either of the killings. Two days later, while being transferred from police headquarters to the county jail, Oswald was shot and killed by nightclub owner Jack Ruby in full view of television cameras broadcasting live.
In 1964, the Warren Commission concluded that Oswald acted alone in assassinating Kennedy, firing three shots, a conclusion also reached by prior investigations carried out by the FBI and Dallas Police Department, yet rejected by much of the U.S. public over the years. In 1979, the House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded that Oswald fired the shots which killed Kennedy, but differed from previous investigations in concluding he 'probably' did not act alone.
Oswald was born in New Orleans on October 18, 1939, to Marguerite Frances (nÃ©e Claverie; New Orleans, Louisiana, July 19, 1907 â€“ Fort Worth, Texas, January 17, 1981) and Robert Edward Lee Oswald, Sr. (New Orleans, Louisiana, March 4, 1896 â€“ New Orleans, August 19, 1939). Oswald had two older siblings â€“ brother Robert Edward Lee Oswald, Jr. and half-brother John Edward Pic. His ancestry included English, Irish, French, Dutch, and German (Bavarian).
As a child, Oswald was withdrawn and temperamental. In August 1952, while living with half-brother John Pic, at the time a U.S. Coast Guardsman stationed in New York City, Oswald and Marguerite were asked to leave after Oswald allegedly threatened Pic's wife with a knife and struck their mother, Marguerite.
Charges of truancy, in the Bronx (NYC), led to psychiatric assessment[ at a juvenile reformatory, the psychiatrist, Dr. Renatus Hartogs, describing Oswald's "vivid fantasy life, turning around the topics of omnipotence and power, through which he tries to compensate for his present shortcomings and frustrations." Finding a "personality pattern disturbance with schizoid features and passive-aggressive tendencies," Dr. Hartogs recommended continued treatment. However, in January 1954, Oswald's mother Marguerite returned with him to New Orleans. At the time, there was a question pending before a New York judge as to whether Oswald should be removed from the care of his mother to finish his schooling, although his behavior appeared to improve during his last months in New York.
In New Orleans, in October 1955, Oswald left the 10th grade after one month. He worked as an office clerk or messenger around New Orleans, rather than attend school. Planning for his enlistment, the family returned to Fort Worth in July 1956, and he re-enrolled in 10th grade for the September session at Arlington Heights High School in Fort Worth, but quit in October to join the Marines (see below); he never received a high school diploma. By the age of 17, he had resided at 22 different locations and attended 12 different schools.
Though he had trouble spelling and writing coherently, he read voraciously and, by age 15, claimed to be a Marxist, writing 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." At 16 he wrote to the Socialist Party of America for information on their Young People's Socialist League, saying he had been studying socialist principles for "well over fifteen months." However, Edward Voebel, "whom the Warren Commission had established was Oswald's closest friend during his teenage years in New Orleans...said that reports that Oswald was already 'studying Communism' were a 'lot of baloney.' " Voebel said that "Oswald commonly read 'paperback trash.'"
While a teenager Oswald attended Civil Air Patrol meetings in New Orleans, in 1955. Other cadets recall him attending "three or four" times, or "10 or 12 times" over a one- or two-month period.