So, what did Arthur Schlesinger think when he heard Jackie Kennedy tell him that there were 5 shots and that one of them went through the freeway sign and one of them hit her husband in the throat? And that he was struck on the right side of his head close to his eye? I can tell exactly what he thought.
He thought: "The government says that Oswald did all the shooting himself alone from the Book Depository Building, and they have also made it clear that all good, loyal, and patriotic Americans are expected to believe and accept it without question. I am a good, loyal, and patriotic American, so I shall believe and accept it. So, I will assume that Jackie is mistaken and confused. But, I'm still going to be nice to her."
That is what he thought, and that is what I hate about what is involved in being a "good American."
The official story of the JFK assassination hit the American people like a wave; like a tsunami. And the higher up you were in the social order, the more you had to gain by supporting it, because you got credit and respect for that. And likewise, the more you had to lose if you disputed it. But, in addition to that, the fact was that Arthur Schlesinger, like so many others, wanted to believe the official story. On a very personal level, he wanted to believe it. Because: what was the alternative? That the government is lying because they actually killed Kennedy themselves? But, if that's true, then it means that America, as we know it, doesn't exist, and our reality is really a living nightmare. Who wants to believe that? Isn't it more comforting to believe the official story?
He didn't necessarily have to think it through as explicitly as that either. Subliminally, he may have figured it out as much as he needed to.
So, Arthur Schlesinger knew which way the wind was blowing, and he surrendered to it. He surrendered his mind to what the government was saying, and not just the government, but to what the whole established order was saying. It was what all the institutions of civilization were saying, to believe, believe, believe. Resisting it was unthinkable. He didn't have the courage, the independence, and the strength to even visit it mentally. It was a forbidden place. It was a social offense to even breathe it. And no one as steeped in the pomp and circumstance of American officialdom, in all its glory, as Arthur Schlessinger was, could possibly do it.
But, the thing is: he worked for John F. Kennedy. He was part of the Kennedy White House. He was "Special Assistant to the President" and he attended Cabinet meetings. So, where was his loyalty to John F. Kennedy? What happened to it? The tsunami rolled over it. The tsumani decimated everything, including his judgment.