History is always changing over time. As perspectives shift and fresh minds assess old information, events are judged from varying points of view. Sometimes history is even lucky enough to benefit from new information and these nuggets can fill in the blanks.
But sometimes, we get remarkable insight and a treasure trove of information. This is shown by the recently declassified files relating to the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy.
While there was no bombshell about government involvement, additional shooters or confirmation of some other conspiracy theory, history has been updated and expanded a bit. An interesting tidbit here is what has been what we’ve learned about the Cold War.
The official theory of the assassination has held for decades that Lee Harvey Oswald was a lone gunman who acted without help. This meant no dark and diabolical government conspiracy, and it also meant no foreign involvement. Given where the United States was at in the Cold War, it’s surprising that more questions regarding foreign involvement weren’t raised. The U.S. government had been covertly involved in assassination plots against other governments for some time, including Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
What if it was the Cubans? What if it was the Soviet Union?
According to recently declassified files, the Soviet Union feared blame for the assassination. According to a mole within the Soviet Union, U.S. intelligence learned that Moscow panicked over possible blame and also believed Lyndon B. Johnson was behind the plot to assassinate Kennedy. According to this mole, the KGB supposedly had the proof.
While it would be highly improbable that Johnson was behind the assassination, this development illustrates how tense things were at the time. The assassination of the American president wasn’t just a big deal domestically, it had ramifications abroad as well.
During the time of the Warren Commission, the Central Intelligence Agency was directed by the top to only give Congress information supporting the lone gunman theory. While the National Archive documentation does not provide any reason as to why the CIA received this direction, it further paints how tense relations were at the time.
What if it had been publicly suggested the Soviets had orchestrated the Kennedy assassination? What if the United States officially took the position that Soviet Union had assassinated Kennedy by recruiting Oswald? The assassination of a leader is considered an act of war. Assassinations have even triggered a world war.
Could a bad accusation had started all out war with the Soviet Union? Even a good accusation could have, provided they were actually behind it.
The thousands of now public pages involving the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy are quite intriguing. It fills in history’s gaps and paints a clearer picture. In some points, it fine tunes our perceptions and even takes our minds in a different directions. It is still probable that the gunman was Lee Harvey Oswald.
What we don’t know is the level of involvement, if any, that foreign governments had in the assassination. The Soviet Union was clearly afraid of being connected to this horrific tragedy.