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Warren Commission Report: Page 423« Previous | Next »

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

The Commission does not believe that the relations between Oswald and his wife caused him to assassinate the President. It is unlikely that the motivation was that. simple. The feelings of hostility and aggression which seem to have played such an important, part in Oswald's life were part of his character long before he met his wife and such a favorable opportunity to strike at a figure as great as the President would probably never have come to him again.

Oswald's behavior after the assassination throws little light on his motives. The fact that he took so little money with him when he left Irving in the morning indicates that he did not expect to get very far from Dallas on his own and suggests the possibility, as did his note to his wife just. prior to the attempt on General Walker, that he did not expect to escape at all. On the other hand, he could have traveled some distance with the money he did have and he did return to his room where he obtained his revolver. He then killed Patrolman Tippit when that police officer apparently tried to question him after he had left his roominghouse and he vigorously resisted arrest when he was finally apprehended in the Texas Theatre. Although it is not fully corroborated by others who were present, two officers have testified that at the time of his arrest Oswald said something to the effect that "it's all over now." 481

Oswald was overbearing and arrogant throughout much of the time between his arrest and his own death.482 He consistently refused to admit involvement in the assassination or in the killing of Patrolman Tippit.483 While he did become enraged at at least one point. in his interrogation, the testimony of the officers present indicates that he handled himself with considerable composure during his questioning. He admitted nothing that would damage him but discussed other matters quite freely. 484 His denials under questioning, which have no probative value in view of the many readily demonstrable lies he told at that time 485 and in the face of the overwhelming evidence against him which has been set forth above, only served to prolong the period during which he was the center of the attention of the entire world.


Many factors were undoubtedly involved in Oswald's motivation for the assassination, and the Commission does not believe that it can ascribe to him any one motive or group of motives. It is apparent, however, that Oswald was moved by an overriding hostility to his environment. He does not appear to have been able to establish meaningful relationships with other people. He was perpetually discontented with the world around him. Long before the assassination he expressed his hatred for American society and acted in protest against it.. Oswald's search for what he conceived to be the perfect society was doomed from the start. He sought for himself a place in history--a role as the "great man" who would be recognized as having been in advance of his times. His commitment to Marxism and communism appears to have been another important factor in his motivation. He
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