On November 22, 1963, John F. Kennedy’s life was snuffed out. As the nation mourned the loss of its leader, it began to ask questions. Conspiracy theories surfaced. Americans started pointing their fingers at several people and organizations. Fifty years after his death, the nation continues to ask: Who killed JFK?
The CIA Theory
One popular theory about Kennedy’s death is that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) orchestrated the murder. Even JFK’s brother, Robert Kennedy initially felt that the CIA had been involved.
What motive might the CIA have had to kill Kennedy? JFK had actually been working to restrict the CIA’s power prior to his death. Also, CIA officials harbored hard feelings toward JFK after the Bay of Pigs fiasco in Cuba (NBC News).
The LBJ Theory
Kennedy’s own Vice President, Lyndon B. Johnson, would have had a simple motive for wanting Kennedy dead: political gain. Per the Constitution, the Vice President ascends to the office of the Presidency should the existing President pass away. LBJ wasted no time taking over as Commander-in-Chief. He was sworn in with Jacqueline Kennedy beside him, still in her infamous blood stained pink suit.
According to ABC News, JFK feared the idea of an LBJ presidency. Kennedy worried that Johnson would run for president in 1968 (what would have been the end of Kennedy’s second term). Another potential motive for LBJ could have been fear that Kennedy would use his influence to block LBJ’s path to the White House.
The Mafia Theory
Still others believe that the mafia had a hand in the murder of JFK. Jack Ruby (a man tied to the mob) inexplicably killing alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald on live television lends credibility to this notion.
The mafia would have had a couple of reasons for wanting Kennedy dead. JFK’s brother, Robert Kennedy, was cracking down on organized crime at the time of his brother’s death. Further, Fidel Castro had shut down some mob leaders’ casinos in Cuba — and Kennedy had failed to overthrow Castro (National Geographic).
Americans Need These Theories
So what really happened to John F. Kennedy on that fateful November day? In all likelihood, Kennedy was murdered by one man and one man only: Lee Harvey Oswald.
The reality is that Americans need these conspiracy theories to help them cope with the young leader’s death, even half a century later. We don’t want to believe that a nobody like Lee Harvey Oswald could have ended the life and limitless potential of President John F. Kennedy. Even though that very thing is most likely what happened.