If JFK Had Lived: An Alternative History

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By Jack Limpert

The Washingtonian, in November 1981, published an alternative history of what might have been if President John F. Kennedy had not been assassinated in Dallas on November  22, 1963. The 10,000 word story, by Victor Gold, imagined the nation’s history year-by-year from 1963 through 1980, when JFK’s brother, Ted, would have been the Democratic nominee for President.

In 1974, JFK, then an ex-president after eight years in the White House, would have bought the Washington Star and hired his pal Ben Bradlee away from the Washington Post to edit it. In 1977, People magazine would have named JFK the nation’s most desirable single man—Jack and Jackie would have separated in 1970 and then divorced after stories surfaced about the President’s philandering in the White House.

As  for Vietnam, the story says that in 1966 President Kennedy replaced Secretary of State Dean Rusk with Senator William Fulbright and Defense Secretary Robert McNamara with McGeorge Bundy, leading to a negotiated settlement of the war in Vietnam and a Nobel Peace Prize for Fulbright and Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh.

In his White House memoirs, titled In the Arena and published in 1971, Kennedy explained why he had extricated the nation from the war in Vietnam: “Roosevelt had been an effective peacetime president, then an effective wartime leader. But it was impossible, I had decided, to be both at the same time. We could either build the Great Society at home or carry on the war in Southeast Asia. To me, there was but one answer. It was to extricate ourselves from Vietnam honorably and without jeopardizing American power and prestige on a global scale.”

In 1968, after a sniper assassinated Dr. Martin Luther King, President Kennedy would have been interviewed by Ebony magazine and asked whether King was killed by a lone gunman or was the victim of a conspiracy.

JFK: I’d rather we not go down that road, because I’m not much of a conspiracy buff. I think the murder of Martin Luther King was a national tragedy, and I also happen to think the authorities got the man who did it.

Q. Then you believe there was only one man involved, despite the fact that he had enough money to travel overseas…

JFK: As I say, there’s not much point going down that road. Right after the assassination, someone suggested I appoint a blue-ribbon panel to investigate Martin’s murder, to resolve all doubts. I thought about it, but finally decided that a special commission would end up raising more questions than it answered.

Q: Why so?

JFK: There are always conspiracy theories in cases like that. Some people are still writing books about whether or not the assassination of President Lincoln was a conspiracy. I just think there’s a limit, that’s all.



  1. Jack, are there are any digital copies of the cover story available? I’d love to read it, and I’m sure some others would, too.


  2. Tom Berner says

    Sounds like a fun read but it doesn’t sound like JFK. Once he authorized the murder of Diem, he nailed the American flag to the embassy wall. Even before 11/22/63, it was common knowledge that we were behind the coup – Cambodia officially cited the assassination as the reason to abandon its alliance with us and to assume non-aligned status. Kennedy made the war both inevitable and doomed by his recklessness and there’s everything to suggest that he would just have made things worse had he lived.

    • Jfk was not reckless at all. If anything he showed many Americans how the government works for we the ppl not the other way around. JFK is an intelligent,good person.he was killed because he was trying to put our nation on the top,as his death resulted in why our country has fallen and DJT is finishing what JFK started. How can a person say JFK was reckless? He was far from that

  3. Nicholas Walsh says

    What’s about JFK’s relationship with Australia if he lived?

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