There are many contending theories and views about the historical and political impact and aftermath of the death of John F. Kennedy. These various perceptions range from the common view that his death was a blow to democracy and peace in the county and resulted in the escalation of the Vietnam conflict; to opposing views that his legacy was the increase of American military imperialism and cold war aggression. These views will be discussed in this paper.
However, if we are to focus on the impact of the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the importance that this had of the country per se, then the discussion should be more on the cultural and ideological implications that followed immediately after the death of the president.
The assassination of President John F. Kennedy was one of the most traumatic social episodes and cultural disasters of the last century in the United States. The death of the President of America should also be seen in the context of the fact that it took place during the Cold War and there was a great degree of fear and suspicion that the assassination was linked to Soviet aggression. The following quotation encapsulates some of the tension and trauma that people in the country felt at the time.
" (Schwab, and Shneidman 161) The projection of this ideal and the verve and passion with which he directed it, was something that was deeply felt in its loss. A dominant theme in the literature about the assassination and its aftermath is that in many respects American society and culture changed. ("An Unfinished Life: John" 66)Numerous reports and studies state that the assassination profoundly affected the public, with traffic coming to a halt in some cities and most schools in the Unite States and Canada closing. "Everything was different after President Kennedy died. Among the studies and books that have questioned the conventional view of Kennedy and his heroic qualities are The Dark Side of Camelot by Seymour Hersh and A Question of Character by Thomas Reeves. ) A study by Schwab, and Shneidman ( 1974) stresses that Kennedy initiated an aggressive mode of political sensibility. " (Students don't know impact of JFK's death, historian says) Numerous commentators such as Gore Vidal and Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. )Despite these viewpoints and criticisms, an important aspect to consider is that Kennedy in many respects prepared the ground for the future policies and political trajectory of the country. Many critics express the view that the underlying structure and fabric of the society was altered irrevocably. ) However, there have also been opposing views of Kennedy"tms administration and his personality, which has painted a very different picture of the man and his politics. " (Schwab, and Shneidman 162) The above study claims that this attitude prepared the ground for the present polices that dominate the political thinking in the country. The escalation of the Vietnam War was also an aspect that was associated with the alleged reasons that might have motivated the assassination. People began to huddle around radios and TVs for the latest bulletins.