What If They'd Said Yes?

Unredacted, the National Security Archive’s blog, has posted Lee Harvey Oswald‘s request to the Soviet Union for citizenship. “I want citizenship,” Oswald wrote, “because I am a communist and a worker; I have lived in a decadent capitalist society where the workers are slaves.” When his request was denied, Oswald slit his wrists in the bathtub. He was later given temporary residence and lived in the Soviet Union from 1959 to 1962. (HT: FP Passport) [%comments]


I'd guess that men are more likely to have learned to drive a manual transmission. I already owned a stick-shift car when I got together with my partner, and she does not drive manuals. Thus, when we ride together in my car I have to be the driver for the car to actually move forward.

Eric M. Jones

One can never guess how history could have been different.

The November 22, 1963 would have been different. JFK might have lived out his presidency.

But I am not one who thinks this would have been a great thing necessarily. JFK led us to the brink of nuclear holocaust. His personal magnetism was a risky thing. We were in Vietnam and whether or not this would have gone better is anyone's guess. It is scary when people can be swayed so easily.

LBJ's Great Society would have gone some other way.

Nixon opened China...All great Liberal goals seem to be done by Conservatives.

Had Hitler embraced the Jews, they might have had A-bombs and ICBMs to carry them in 1944.



Why did Oswald come back in 1962? Did the soviets kick him out?


I thought the feeling was mutual. Oswald didn't very much like living there, and the Soviet Union didn't very much like having him.


@ Phil

According to the Wiki he realized that the USSR sucked big time:

'Oswald gradually grew bored with the limited recreation available in Minsk.[42] He wrote in his diary in January 1961: "I am starting to reconsider my desire about staying. The work is drab, the money I get has nowhere to be spent. No nightclubs or bowling alleys, no places of recreation except the trade union dances. I have had enough."[43] Shortly afterwards, Oswald opened negotiations with the U.S. Embassy in Moscow over his proposed return to the United States.'

Nate Jones

Thanks for the repost!!

@ Phil, Yes, the evidence points that Oswald decided to leave the USSR on his own. He likely could have stayed in the USSR as long as he pleased (to the title of this post is slightly misleading.... The USSR said no, then yes.)

Also there were a few great nyt articles about his time in Minsk. Here's one:


Mark S.

"JFK led us to the brink of nuclear holocaust. "
Aw c'mon you know better than that. The US had secretly placed mid range nuclear missiles in Turkey which they secretly dismantled at the end of the Cuban crisis.
That game was played again with the SS-20's/cruise missiles in eastern/western europe in the 80's.

But what would have happened if the US had not armed who would later became the Taliban and Al Quaeda in their fight with the Soviets in Afghanistan. Would 1989 have been the same, would anything have happened ?
What would have happened if the US hadn't pushed Mossadegh out in Iran in 1953 ?

Dave S.

Any answer to a question like this naturally has a degree of speculation to it, but they are interesting to think about. There's a book called _What If?_ that is a collection of essays by historians exploring questions like this. One of them looked at what would have happened had Alexander the Great been killed early in his career, which apparently nearly happened. Really interesting stuff. (@Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0399152385?ie=UTF8&tag=shastuonl-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0399152385)