John F. Kennedy Assassination

Reaction to the Assassination of John F. Kennedy

When a sitting president dies, the public usually reacts strongly. However, when a president is assassinated, the debate is even more heated than when the leader dies from other reasons. In the United States of America, for example, two presidents have been slain since the country’s inception: Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy. In this article, I plan to discuss the popular reaction to the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

The Public's Mourning

The assassination rocked the country, causing people to openly cry in public locations where they had gathered to not only mourn the loss, but also to watch television coverage. The issue became the topic of discussion for a long time, both in the streets and media. Although Kennedy was a politician, with supporters and enemies alike, the death united people in mourning. On the other hand, there was an increase in viewership of television during the early times of the announcement. In particular, statistics indicate that about 74 percent were on television, a figure that was more than double of viewership in the US, at the time (Bishop, 2013). As a sign of respect and honor, there were two categories of memorial services organized, in a bid to allow the public pay their last respect to the fallen leader. The first one was unofficial one, held in haste in order to allow people from all walks of life pay tribute to the late president. Additionally, there was another an official mourning service organized for the same purpose. Lastly, the public tried to ponder what might have led to the assassination and the people behind the vice. There are various conspiracy theories associated with the speculations (Wallenfeldt, 2017). .For example, Kennedy was at the forefront in confronting the Castro regime, thus, some people tried to link Fidel Castro to the assassination although with little evidence to back the claim.

International Impact

Moreover, the assassination was felt outside the US and as such, people reacted in various ways. In particular, heads of states offered their condolences in many ways, either via live television or by writing statements, most of which demonstrated sorrow and shock. In media, there were various changes that one could easily identify. For instance, there were program adjustments meant to highlight Kennedy’s past movements, deeds and words. Although mourning was the main topic of discussion, political pundit had something to say in regard to the death and the effect that the assassination might have (Bodroghkozy, 2013). To start with, policies, there was a discussion on whether the then vice president would continue with the policies initiated by Kennedy. On the other hand, the assassination took place during the cold war. As a result of that, it triggered discussion on how things will unfold now that the president, leading one of the major players of the cold war was no longer alive.


As evident above, the death of John F. Kennedy sparked reactions from the public both inside and outside the country. Some of these reactions include but are not limited to weeping openly, mourning and increased media viewership. On the other hand, the death created a topic of discussion for pundits to look into, especially, as it occurred during the cold war.


Bishop, J. (2013). The day Kennedy was shot. Harper Collins.

Bodroghkozy, A. (2013). Black weekend: A reception history of network television news and the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Television & New Media, 14(6), 560-578. Retrieved from

Wallenfeldt, J. (2017). Assassination of John F. Kennedy. United States History. Retrieved from

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