Two weeks after the 35th president of the United States, John F. Kennedy, was assassinated in Dallas on November 22, 1963, a Gallup poll showed that 52 percent of Americans blamed a force larger than Lee Harvey Oswald for his death. And since then, polls continually indicate that a clear majority of Americans believe that Oswald did not act alone.
After spiking to 80 percent in 1983, by the 1990s, after the Oliver Stone film JFK was released, the share of the population that did not believe the generally accepted “lone assassin” theory dropped to 70 percent. Now, 50 years after the shooting, a new Gallup poll found that 61 percent of Americans believe the president’s death was a conspiracy.
The official version of Kennedy’s death was detailed in the findings of the Warren Commission’s investigation. Known officially as the President’s Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy, the body was formed by President Lyndon B. Johnson a week after the assassination and put under the leadership of Chief Justice Earl Warren. Several participants partook with great reluctance, fearing that the investigation would create more controversy than consensus.
An 889-page report was presented to Johnson on September 24, 1964, concluding that Oswald had acted alone and fired two shots at Kennedy from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository, which overlooked the presidential motorcade’s route through Dealey Plaza in Dallas. Oswald, a former U.S. Marine who spend time in Soviet Russia, was never actually arrested for the murder. Initially, he was taken into custody for the murder of policeman, and just two days after the president’s death, he was shot to death by Jack Ruby on live television. Ruby himself later died in prison.