Robert Dallek: JFK predicted death would protect his legacy, historian claims

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‘If anyone’s going to shoot me, it should happen now’: JFK predicted death would protect his legacy, historian claims

Remarks were inspired by assessment of career of Civil War President Abraham Lincoln

President John F Kennedy predicted his assassination would protect his legacy, according to a historian who has examined secret interviews with  his widow Jackie.

Previously unheard conversations involving Mrs Kennedy after her husband’s death in 1963 show he made the assessment after the Cuban missile crisis a year earlier, according to Professor Robert Dallek.

Mrs Kennedy’s interviews reveal the president had declared: ‘If anyone’s going to kill me, it should happen now.’.

US President John F. Kennedy Jacqueline Kennedy Dallas Texas November 22, 1963US President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline Kennedy in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas, moments before his assassination on November 22, 1963

Professor Dallek, a Kennedy expert, made the revelation after examining Jacqueline Kennedy’s Oral History – conversations the former First Lady had with historian Arthur M Schlesinger Jnr in 1964.

The series of seven undisclosed interviews are to be broadcast in September, as part of events to mark the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy administration.

Professor Dallek said they  revealed JFK’s remarks had been inspired by one of late historian David Herbert Donald’s lectures on Abraham Lincoln.

John Wilkes Booth Abraham Lincoln Coward: John Wilkes Booth shoots Abraham Lincoln in his box at the at Ford’s Theatre, in Washington, D.C., on April 14, 1865 after the South lost the Civil War

He added: ‘At that lecture, Kennedy asked Professor Donald, if Lincoln had lived, would his reputation be as great as it currently is in the  United States?

‘And predictably, Donald said probably not because he would have had to have wrestled with the problems of reconstruction, the post-Civil  War era.

‘Kennedy, remembering that, said to Mrs Kennedy after his success in the Cuban missile crisis…“if anyone’s going to kill me, it should happen now”.’

JFK was assassinated on November 22, 1963, in Dallas.

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