Weird SHC History: 45th Anniversary of Lee Harvey Oswald Speech

Posted by – July 27, 2008

Hey fellow history buffs:

Here is some very, very weird history for you all. On this day 45 years ago, July 27, 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald spoke at Spring Hill College.

He gave a speech to Jesuit seminarians discussing what daily life was like in the USSR, which he defected to. He worked there from 1959-1962, assigned to a TV manufacturing plant in Minsk. After his speech, the Jesuits asked him questions about communism, and he answered them as a committed Marxist on the one hand, and an American disillusioned with the drudgery of Soviet life on the other hand.

When I was a student at SHC (1998-2005) I never once heard Oswald mentioned. It is very interesting and more than a little creepy than I studied in a building where a presidential assassin once stood. The most likely trigger man for the biggest assassination in our recent history, held a discussion at my college mere months before JFK was killed.

I found a summary of Oswald’s speech at Spring Hill. Incredible! Here is a piece that really caught my eye:

The workers, he said, were not against him because he was an American. When the U-2 incident was announced over the factory radio system, the workers were very angry with the United States, but not with him, even though he was an American.

He made the point that he disliked capitalism because it’s foundation was the exploitation of the poor. He implied, but did not state directly, that he was disappointed in Russia because the full principles of Marxism were not lived up to and the gap between Marxist theory and the Russian practice disillusioned him with Russian communism. He said, “Capitalism doesn’t work, communism doesn’t work. In the middle is socialism and that doesn’t work either.”

For the full summary of Oswald’s remarks and the Q&A with the Jesuits click here.

I added this link to Facts About SHC on Wikipedia as well.

Reading this is also weird because it is like reviewing Exhibit Z in the criminal case against Lee Harvey Oswald.

I didn’t realize how deeply involved in communism Oswald was.
Bobby Kennedy suspected internal enemies (source) and smelled a rat, a Soviet-linked rat… and reading about this speech at SHC really makes me wonder if Oswald wasn’t caught up in some bizarre KGB-related conspiracy after all.

Update (Dec. 2nd 2013) the 50th anniversary of JFK’s murder having just passed, new research has been published on the subject.  A recently published study of President Kennedy’s last 100 days uncovers the seriousness of Kennedy’s push for rapprochement with the USSR.  Ample motive existed for hardliners against peace on the Soviet side, anti-Castro side, even the nuttier militant factions on the U.S. side, to want Kennedy taken out of the equation.  Another new book, The Interloper: Lee Harvey Oswald Inside the Soviet Union by Peter Savodnik, offers a detailed study of Oswald’s time in the USSR; Oswald had been deep, deep down the Soviet rabbit hole, and his involvement inside the USSR was more than a little strange, as was his sudden departure despite the sweet apartment Soviet authorities hooked him up with.

Nick