History of Assassinations Throughout the World Part 2

About the history of assassinations through time and the world, origins of the word, examples of famous assassins and assassinations from ancient times to modern.

Assassinations--Successful and Unsuccessful

Czar Paul I of Russia (son of Catherine the Great) felt his superiority was divinely decreed. He terrorized the population, sent a large number of persons of all classes to Siberian prisons, refused subjects the right to travel abroad, and crushed any suspicion of liberal reform. On March 23, 1801, he was strangled with a scarf by a group of highly placed conspirators, with the knowledge of his son Alexander I. Paul's removal immediately improved everyone's lot. The new Czar surrounded himself with relative liberals; he organized a national education program, gave the peasants the chance to buy their own property, issued a liberal constitution for Poland, and freed the serfs of the Baltic provinces. As one writer on assassinations, Edward Hyams, put it, "The terrible sufferings and degradation of millions were somewhat relieved and a measure of hope restored." As for communist assassinations, 2 attempts were made on Lenin's life. Trotsky was killed in Mexico, presumably by one of Stalin's agents, on August 20, 1940.

King Humbert I of Italy was tyrannical to an insane degree. He treated his associates and his subjects as slaves, he enlisted in his cabinet military men who swore allegiance to him and not to Italy, and he generally turned the country into a totalitarian monarchy. He was assassinated by an avowed anarchist named Bresci on July 29, 1900. The country was saved from complete subjugation. Bresci's act was praised by Republicans and other establishment parties as a necessary and humanitarian sacrifice.

On June 28, 1914, Austrian Archduke Francis Ferdinand was killed by Gavrilo Princip, a member of a secret Serbian assassination group seeking independence for their country from the Hapsburg empire. Ferdinand was a rabid anti-Semite, and a harsh tyrant. The assassin was captured in the street as he fired his gun. (See also: Highlights of World History, Chap. 8.)

In Japan 9 Premiers have been murdered since 1860.

In the U.S. 4 Presidents have been murdered in office. Four other U.S. Presidents have been the target of unsuccessful assassination attempts: Andrew Jackson, January 30, 1835; Theodore Roosevelt, October 14, 1912; Franklin D. Roosevelt, February 15, 1933; Harry Truman, November 1, 1950.

Other significant assassinations since W.W. I. include: Rosa Luxemburg (German Socialist agitator), January 15, 1919; Emiliano Zapata (Mexican revolutionary leader), April 10, 1919; Pancho Villa (Mexican revolutionary leader), July 20, 1923; Alvaro Obregon (President of Mexico), July 17, 1928; Engelbert Dollfuss (Chancellor of Austria), July 25, 1934; Sergei Kirov (Soviet leader), December 1, 1934; Jean Darlan (French naval officer and chief of state in French Africa), December 24, 1942; Lavrenti Beria (chief of U.S.S.R. secret police), December 23, 1953; Patrice Lumumba (1st Prime Minister of the Republic of the Congo), September 15, 1960; Rafael Trujillo (dictator of Dominican Republic), May 30, 1961; Ngo Dinh Diem (president of South Vietnam), November 1, 1963; Che Guevara (Latin American revolutionary leader), October 8, 1967; Martin Luther King, Jr. (American civil rights leader), April 4, 1968.

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