Lee Harvey Oswald (October 18, 1939 – November 24, 1963) was, according to four government investigations,]citation needed[ the sniper who assassinated John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963.
Oswald was a former U.S. Marine who defected to the Soviet Union in October 1959. He lived in the Soviet Union until June 1962, at which time he returned to the United States. Oswald was initially arrested for the murder of police officer J. D. Tippit, who was killed on a Dallas street approximately 45 minutes after President Kennedy was shot. Oswald would later be charged with the assassination of President Kennedy as well, but 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 Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby in full view of television cameras broadcasting live.
The United States of America (USA), commonly referred to as the United States (US), America, or simply the States, is a federal republic consisting of 50 states, 16 territories, a federal district, and various overseas extraterritorial jurisdictions. The 48 contiguous states and the federal district of Washington, D.C., are in central North America between Canada and Mexico. The state of Alaska is the northwestern part of North America and the state of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific. The country also has five populated and nine unpopulated territories in the Pacific and the Caribbean. At 3.79 million square miles (9.83 million km2) in total and with around 316 million people, the United States is the fourth-largest country by total area and third largest by population. It is one of the world's most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, the product of large-scale immigration from many countries. The geography and climate of the United States is also extremely diverse, and it is home to a wide variety of wildlife.
Paleo-indians migrated from Asia to what is now the US mainland around 15,000 years ago, with European colonization beginning in the 16th century. The United States emerged from 13 British colonies located along the Atlantic seaboard. Disputes between Great Britain and these colonies led to the American Revolution. On July 4, 1776, delegates from the 13 colonies unanimously issued the Declaration of Independence. The ensuing war ended in 1783 with the recognition of independence of the United States from the Kingdom of Great Britain, and was the first successful war of independence against a European colonial empire. The current Constitution was adopted on September 17, 1787. The first 10 amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, were ratified in 1791 and guarantee many fundamental civil rights and freedoms.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, was assassinated at 12:30 p.m. Central Standard Time (18:30 UTC) on Friday, November 22, 1963, in Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas. Kennedy was fatally shot by a sniper while traveling with his wife Jacqueline, Texas Governor John Connally, and Connally's wife Nellie, in a presidential motorcade. A ten-month investigation in 1963–64 by the Warren Commission concluded that Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone, and that Jack Ruby also acted alone when he killed Oswald before he could stand trial. Although the Commission's conclusions were initially supported by a majority of the American public, polls conducted between 1966 and 2003 found that as many as 80 percent of Americans have suspected that there was a plot or cover-up. A 1998 CBS News poll showed that 76% of Americans believed the President had been killed as the result of a conspiracy. A 2013 AP poll showed, that although the percentage had fallen, more than 59% of those polled still believed that more than one person was involved in the President's murder.
In contrast to the conclusions of the Warren Commission, the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) concluded in 1978 that Kennedy was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy. The HSCA found the original FBI investigation and the Warren Commission Report to be seriously flawed. While agreeing with the Commission that Oswald fired all the shots which caused the wounds to Kennedy and Connally, the HSCA stated that there were at least four shots fired (only three of which could be linked to Oswald) and that there was "...a high probability that two gunmen fired at [the] President." The HSCA did not identify any other person or group involved in the assassination besides Oswald, but they did specifically say the CIA, the Soviet Union, organized crime, and several other groups were not involved, although they could not rule out the involvement of individual members of those groups. Kennedy's assassination is still the subject of widespread debate and has spawned numerous conspiracy theories and alternative scenarios.
The circumstances surrounding the assassination of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, spawned suspicions of a conspiracy. These suspicions were mitigated somewhat when an official investigation by the Warren Commission concluded the following year that there was no conspiracy. Since then, doubts have arisen regarding the Commission's finding that Lee Harvey Oswald was responsible for the assassination of Kennedy, and most Americans today believe that others besides Oswald were also involved in the assassination. Critics have argued that the Commission and the government have covered up crucial information pointing to a conspiracy.
Subsequent official investigations confirmed most of the conclusions of the Warren Commission. However, the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) concluded that Kennedy was probably assassinated as the result of a conspiracy, with "...a high probability that two gunmen fired at [the] President". No person or organization was identified by the HSCA as being a co-conspirator of Oswald. Most current theories put forth a criminal conspiracy involving parties as varied as the CIA, the mafia, anti-Castro Cuban exile groups, the military industrial complex, sitting Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, Cuban President Fidel Castro, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, the KGB, or some combination of those entities.