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  » Appendix XVIII
Warren Commission Report: Page 376« Previous | Next »

(CHAPTER VII - Lee Harvey Oswald: Background and Possible Motives)

significant in shaping his character and in guiding him. Perhaps the most outstanding conclusion of such a study is that Oswald was profoundly alienated from the world in which he lived. His life was characterized by isolation, frustration, and failure. He had very few, if any, close relationships with other people and he appeared to have great difficulty in finding a meaningful place in the world. He was never satisfied with anything. When he was in the United States he resented the capitalist system which he thought was exploiting him and others like him. He seemed to prefer the Soviet Union and he spoke highly of Cuba.1 When he was in the Soviet Union, he apparently resented the Communist Party members, who were accorded special privileges and who he thought were betraying communism, and he spoke well of the United States.2 He accused his wife of preferring others to himself and told her to return to the Soviet Union without him but without a divorce. At the same time he professed his love for her and said that he could not get along without her.3 Marina Oswald thought that he would not be happy anywhere, "Only on the moon, perhaps." 4

While Oswald appeared to most of those who knew him as a meek and harmless person, he sometimes imagined himself as "the Commander" 5 and, apparently seriously, as a political prophet--a man who said that after 20 years he would be prime minister.6 His wife testified that he compared himself with great readers of history. Such ideas of grandeur were apparently accompanied by notions of oppression.7 He had a great hostility toward his environment, whatever it happened to be, which he expressed in striking and sometimes violent acts long before the assassination. There was some quality about him that led him to act with an apparent disregard for possible consequences.8 He defected to the Soviet Union, shot at General Walker, tried to go to Cuba and even contemplated hijacking an airplane to get there. He assassinated the President, shot Officer Tippit, resisted arrest and tried to kill another policeman in the process.

Oswald apparently started reading about communism when he was about 15. In the Marines, he evidenced a strong conviction as to the correctness of Marxist doctrine, which one associate described as "irrevocable," but also as "theoretical"; that associate did not think that Oswald was a Communist.9 Oswald did not always distinguish between Marxism and communism. 10 He stated several times that he was a Communist but apparently never joined any Communist Party.11

His attachment to Marxist and Communist doctrine was probably, in some measure, an expression of his hostility to his environment. While there is doubt about how fully Oswald understood the doctrine which he so often espoused, it seems clear that his commitment to Marxism was an important factor influencing his conduct during his adult years. It was an obvious element in his decision to go to Russia and later to Cuba and it probably influenced his decision to shoot at General Walker. It was a factor which contributed to his character

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