The Kennedy Assassination--24 Hours After: Lyndon B. Johnson’s Pivotal First Day as President

The Kennedy Assassination--24 Hours After: Lyndon B. Johnson’s Pivotal First Day as President

Steven M. Gillon

Language: English

Pages: 320

ISBN: 046501870X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Riding in an open-topped convertible through Dallas on November 22, 1963, Lyndon B. Johnson heard a sudden explosive sound at 12:30 PM. The Secret Service sped him away to safety, but not until 1:20 PM did he learn that John F. Kennedy had been assassinated. Sworn in next to a bloodstained Jackie Kennedy at 2:40 PM, Johnson worked feverishly until 3:00 in the morning, agonizing about the future of both his nation and his party. Unbeknownst to him, his actions had already determined the tragic outcome of his presidency.

In November 22, 1963, historian Steven Gillon tells the story of how Johnson consolidated power in the twenty-four hours following the assassination. Based on scrupulous research and new archival sources, this gripping narrative sheds new and surprising light on one of the most written-about events of the twentieth century.

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Nellie call with Johnsons regarding John call with LBJ from the Elms comforted by Lady Bird at Parkland Hospital John finally rushed into hospital in limousine with Kennedy’s in Dallas presidential limousine as “sea of horror,” pulling husband into lap when shot waiting while doctors worked on John Coolidge, Calvin Cronkite, Walter announcement of JFK’s shooting/death LBJ watching broadcast of on Air Force One LBJ’s thoughts on Air Force One return to Washington LBJ’s thoughts upon

Jackie. The police estimated that approximately 150,000 people crowded the sidewalks that day to see the motorcade. Even when driving through the less populated areas, Johnson later recalled how struck he was by “the visible enthusiasm of the people along the route and their obvious good wishes.” As they moved closer to the cluster of tall buildings in the downtown area on Main Street, the crowds grew in size and energy, and police officers struggled to keep people behind the barricades. With a

needed to make himself acceptable to the northern, liberal wing of the party, he helped craft a modest civil rights bill. For most liberals, however, it was too little, too late. Dismissing him as a self-serving political operator, liberals viewed LBJ as too closely tied to the powerful Texas oil industry, too anti-union, and too ambivalent about civil rights. Undeterred, LBJ convinced himself that he could win the nomination the same way he ran the Senate—by making deals and winning the

setting up meetings with the former presidents, Johnson remained concerned about the investigation into the assassination. At 7:12 p.m., he reached J. Edgar Hoover, who was home watching television. The two men had known each other for two decades. They lived across the street from each other, and occasionally the Johnsons would invite Hoover over for a drink. Their daughters, Lucy and Lynda, called him Uncle Edgar. Privately, Johnson dismissed Hoover, who lived alone in a house with his male

Assassination Records, National Archives (JFK-NA), College Park, MD. 14 Theodore White Notes, December 19, 1963, WM-WU. 15 Paul Landis, November 30, 1963, Warren Commission, Vol. XVIII, Exhibit 1024, 755. 16 Dave Powers Interview, April 8, 1964, WM-WU; Kenneth P. O’Donnell and Dave Powers, “Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye” (Boston: Little, Brown, 1970), 29. 17 “Statement of SAIC Clinton J. Hill,” Report of the Secret Service on the Assassination of President Kennedy, November 29, 1963, Box 3,

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