Oswald The Communist

The conventional wisdom:

  • The conventional wisdom is that Lee Harvey Oswald became a communist around the age of sixteen when he began making a display of reading communist literature and then sent a letter seeking to join the Socialist Party of America. The Warren Commission speculated that: “his study of Communist literature, which might appear to be inconsistent with his desire to join the Marines, could have been another manifestation of Oswald’s rejection of his environment.”
  • Oswald notoriously demonstrated his communist proclivities while in the Marine Corps. Most of those who knew him in the Marines, at Atsugi and at the other bases, were able to recount anecdotes that suggested to the Warren Commission that Oswald was anxious to publicize his liking for things Russian.

The evidence:

  • At age sixteen, around the time he began making a display of reading communist literature, Oswald was involved in the Civil Air Patrol where his commander was David Ferrie.   David Ferrie was a rabid anti-communist who was known to exert tremendous influence over many of the young men in his Civil Air Patrol squadron including urging several boys to join seminaries or to join the armed forces.
  • In the Marine Corps, Oswald openly flaunted himself as a Russian/communist sympathizer, to the extent that he had his name written in Russian on one of his jackets, loudly played records of Russian songs, addressed others as “Comrade” and regularly received a Russian and communist newspapers to which he had a subscription.  To quote Philip H. Melanson, Chancellor Professor of Policy Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth: “The U.S. Marine Corps in 1958 was not exactly a bastion of liberal tolerance and freethinking.”
  • Despite a weakness in the necessary qualifications, Oswald was made a radar operator at Atsugi Air Force Base, one of the homes to the super secret U-2 Spy Plane and held a “confidential” clearance throughout his enlistment. The Russians had an obsessive interest in acquiring information about the U-2 Spy Plane.

Query:

  • Were the US Intelligence agencies unaware that the Russians were seeking information as to the U-2?  Did the US Intelligence agencies have any interest in preventing the Russians from acquiring that information – or, perhaps, in acquiring incorrect information?
  • Was the Marine Corps unaware that they had this openly pro-communist prancing around the super secret U-2 Spy Plane?  If aware, were they unconcerned about the danger he posed? Or, perhaps, were they creating what is known in the spy game as a “legend?”