Where Would We Be Today Had JFK Not Been Assassinated? (UPDATED)
November 18, 2013


There’s an old parlor-game in which a person is asked: “If you had a time machine, would you go back and kill Hitler even if it meant changing history so you were never born?” (One stipulation is that you don’t worry about the obvious paradox of how you kill Hitler if you were never born.) It’s mostly a morality game but also one designed to test one’s selfishness, but the REAL fun comes in questioning how history might have changed. The war brought technological advancements. Everything from rocket-power to M&M’s to America’s rise as an industrial power were birthed by The War. No more arguments where you can compare your opponent to “Hitler” (now synonymous with “Evil”). Certain global alliances/partnerships might not exist today. The nation of Israel might not exist either. And what would The History Channel show all day? If you killed Hitler, the world would be a very different place today. The same game could be played in reverse if you prevented President Kennedy from ever being assassinated. Would we be where we are today had that terrible event 50 years ago this Friday had not come to pass?

The Space Race

Just four months into his presidency and one month after Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space (the fact his name is in my browser’s dictionary only emphasizes the significance of that event), President Kennedy delivered his famous “land a man on the moon by the end of the decade” speech before a joint session of Congress at Rice University in Houston. Less than four years earlier, Russia leapfrogged the rest of the world in Space Technology by putting the first man-made satellite, Sputnik, into orbit, and now they had put a man in space. The Cold War had already begun and now America feared “going to bed at night by the light of a Communist moon.” The two biggest space-achievements had already been claimed by the Soviet Union. Kennedy raised the bar by targeting The Moon as the next big achievement. And consider the goal: NASA was still in diapers, not even three years old yet, and had JUST put it’s first man in space not three weeks before.

The goal to land a man on the moon “by the end of the century” was seen as fulfilling Kennedy’s challenge when Apollo 11 landed on the moon on July 20, 1969. The mission carried with it the added weight of getting in just under the wire to meet that goal. But consider that this costly endeavor took place in the midst of the Vietnam War and the battle over Civil Rights. Had President Kennedy not been assassinated in 1963, the odds are the race to the moon probably would have petered out as “more pressing priorities” took over. We probably would not have the world-class space program that we have today. Russia could very well be the country the rest of the world turned to today to put their satellites into orbit (okay, with the Shuttle retired, this is indeed now the case). There likely would never have been a Space Shuttle, “International Space Station”, “GPS” or cell-phones , not even “Star Trek” had America not become obsessed with the “Space Race” and getting to the moon before December 31, 1969. If you don’t believe it, consider how quickly our interest in the Space Race waned after 1970. The TV networks didn’t even carry the launch of the third mission (Apollo-13) and the final mission, “Apollo-18” was scrapped due to lack of interest/support (and ultimately fodder for a really bad horror flick.)


One of Kennedy’s first acts as President of the United States was “The Bay of Pigs” fiasco, a botched plan to overthrow the new dictator Fidel Castro. A year later, the world was taken to the brink of nuclear war with The Cuban Missile Crisis as Kennedy ordered the U.S. Navy to blockade Russian attempts to put nuclear warheads in Cuba. The Space Race was our tamest “war” with the Soviet Union that decade.

Less than two months before he was assassinated, President Kennedy spoke out against America becoming even more involved in Vietnam, a war in which the Soviet-backed Communist North invaded the Democratic South, but added that “to withdraw” would be “a great mistake.” The fear was that Vietnam might become a “proxy war” similar to Korea where “Fighting Communism” was an euphemism for “Fighting the Russians”.

When it was learned that Kennedy’s assassin, Oswald, was an avowed Communist that once defected to the Soviet Union and trained by their military only to return to the U.S. to kill the president of the United States, Lyndon Johnson, now president, was rumored to have been absolutely convinced that the Soviets were behind the assassination of President Kennedy.

Recording one week after assassination shows LBJ immediately suspected Russia
(or some other country with nuclear missiles [ie: none].)
[flv:http://www.mugsysrapsheet.com/4blog/video/LBJ_suspected_Russia.flv http://www.mugsysrapsheet.com/4blog/video/LBJ_suspected_Russia.jpg 512 288]

Johnson greatly increased U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War (but waited until just days after the election to act because he needed the support of anti-war Kennedy voters) in retribution for what I believe Johnson believed was retaliation for the assassination of President Kennedy. Had Kennedy not been assassinated, the likelihood is the U.S. never would have become so embroiled in the Vietnam War. The anti-war turmoil of the 1960’s might never have happened and we might very well still have a “military draft” today. No “Hippies”, no peace-movement, a decade of some of amazing music and protest songs. No “Kent State” Massacre, tens of thousands of American & Vietnamese soldiers would never have died. Nixon would of had no “secret war in Cambodia” and Liz Cheney might never have been born as Daddy conceived her to evade the Draft.

Civil Rights

As senator, Kennedy voted against Eisenhower’s 1957 Civil Rights Act to stay in the good graces of the (then) very racist Democratic Party, but by the 1960 presidential campaign, Kennedy backed off his 1957 vote (in a move cynics view as a way to draw black support away from Nixon and “The Party of Lincoln”). The significance of being president 100 years after Abraham Lincoln was not lost on Kennedy. As president, Kennedy appointed 40 African-Americans to senior federal positions including five federal judgeships (ibid), and tasked his brother, Robert, appointed as the new Attorney General, to pursue cases of illegal discrimination in the South (57 cases in all) including enforcing new school desegregation laws. Kennedy’s poll numbers in the South plummeted over 15-points in just a matter of months and that morning in Dallas, flyers accusing Kennedy of being a “race traitor deserving of “impeachment” (or worse) were passed out among the crowds.

Following the assassination of Kennedy, pushing through Civil Rights legislation was seen as advancing Kennedy’s will, and Johnson, who already blamed Russian involvement in his predecessors’ death, couldn’t discount the hatred of racist as wanting Kennedy dead as well (Russia has always been notoriously anti-Semitic… attracting many American racists to their folds). A Liberal Texan like Johnson pushing through “Civil Rights” after Kennedy’s assassination was one giant “screw you” to the racist South that had turned on Kennedy in his final days.

Despite advancing the rights of blacks, as president, Kennedy never called for a re-vote on the 1957 Civil Rights Act, instead using his brother to ensure that federal funds for “separate-but-equal” facilities were fully spent. He courted the black vote in 1960, but actually gave them very little in return to justify voting for him again. Had Kennedy not been assassinated, it is quite possible there never would have been a 1964 Civil Rights Act, nor a “Voting Rights Act” the following year. “Separate-but-equal” might still have been the law of the land for another decade or two. The Democratic Party might still be the Party of white Southern racists, and “The Party of Lincoln” might still actually be “The Party of Lincoln” today instead of the Modern Neo-Confederate Party of Teaagging asshats.

America would look very different today had JFK of not been assassinated 50 years ago this week. That’s the lesson boys & girls. Hitler had to live and Kennedy had to die. What a screwed up world we live in.

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November 18, 2013 · Admin Mugsy · 3 Comments - Add
Posted in: General, rewriting history, Seems Obvious to Me

3 Responses

  1. Grant in Texas - November 18, 2013

    I went from being a Goldwater worker at the RNC National Convention in 1960, even a charter member of Bill Buckley’s YAF that same year to becoming anti-war and warming up to JFK by the time of the assassination.  A big influence on me had been reading an article by Harvard economist John Kenneth Galbraith on why we should not get involved in Vietnam.  He was on the Harvard faculty when JFK enrolled there in 1937 and the professor and student became friends.  With Galbraith having the ear of Kennedy I’ve always believed that he would influence JFK to deescalate our involvement in SE Asia.http://www.johnkennethgalbraith.com/index.php?page=articles&display=10&from=12

  2. rip - November 21, 2013

    Frankly (sorry for all you Franks), I had a hard time digesting your prose, so my response is prolly not terribly relevant.Is there any way you could distill your post into some bullets? You know, Point A with supporting subpoints A.1, etc.? What is your overlying concept and how do you support/destroy it?Love your blog, however!

  3. Admin Mugsy - November 22, 2013

    Hi Rip,

    When I wrote the post, I made sure to section it up by event (“The Space Race”, “Vietnam” and “Civil Rights”). Each paragraph could be considered a bullet point.

    I’m afraid I don’t rewrite posts unless I made a gross mistake that requires correction.

    I recommend concentrating on a paragraph at a time to more easily digest the article.

    Thanks for reading! Be sure to check back every Monday for our latest post.

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