Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
Oswald's Ghost Oswald's Ghost home page

Oswald's First Assassination Attempt

On April 10, 1963, someone tried to kill a former Army general, Dallas resident Edwin A. Walker, who was making his name as a controversial right-winger. In early December 1963, while investigating the Kennedy assassination, the FBI determined Oswald had fired the shots at Walker.

Walker held extreme political views, accusing a variety of Democrats of being "pink" Communist sympathizers and opposing the integration of Southern schools. After Attorney General Robert Kennedy issued a warrant for Walker's arrest, the general declared himself a "political prisoner" of the Kennedy administration.

Oswald's motivation to kill Walker is explained in the Warren Commission report:

"[Marina Oswald] testified that Oswald said that General Walker 'was a very bad man, that he was a fascist, that he was the leader of a fascist organization, and when I said that even though all of that might be true, just the same he had no right to take his life, he said if someone had killed [Adolf] Hitler in time it would have saved many lives.'"

The note below, translated from Russian, was delivered to investigators along with some of Oswald's books. Marina Oswald would later testify that her husband had attempted to kill Walker and had left her this note at that time, detailing what she should do if he did not return.

"The failure to hit Walker, very close failure though it was, is the Rosetta Stone of the Kennedy assassination. It showed that Lee really wanted to kill someone."

-- Priscilla Johnson McMillan, historian

[undated note from Lee Harvey Oswald to Marina Oswald; translated from Russian]

1. This is the key to the mailbox which is located in the main post office in the city on Ervay Street. This is the same street where the drugstore, in which you always waited is located. You will find the mailbox in the post office which is located 4 blocks from the drugstore on that street. I paid for the box last month so don't worry about it

2. Send the information as to what has happened to me to the Embassy and include newspaper clippings (should there be anything about me in the newspapers). I believe that the Embassy will come quickly to your assistance on learning everything.

3. I paid the house rent on the 2d so don't worry about it.

4. Recently I also paid for water and gas.

5. The money from work will possibly be coming. The money will be sent to our post office box. Go to the bank and cash the check.

6. You can either throw out or give my clothing, etc. away. Do not keep these. However, I prefer that you hold on to my personal papers (military, civil, etc.) .

7. Certain of my documents are in the small blue valise.

8. The address book can be found on my table in the study should need same.

9. We have friends here. The Red Cross also will help you. (Red Cross in English).

10. I left you as much money as I could, $60 on the second of the month. You and the baby [apparently] can live for another 2 months using $10 per week.

11. If I am alive and taken prisoner, the city jail is located at the end of the bridge through which we always passed on going to the city (right in the beginning of the city after crossing the bridge).

source: Warren Commission Report, "Chapter 4: The Assassin. Prior Attempt to Kill: The Attempt on the Life of Maj. Gen. Edwin A. Walker." pp. 183-184. http://www.archives.gov/research/jfk/warren-commission-report/chapter-4.html#walker


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Additional funding for this
program was provided by

 

 



Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this Web site do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.