Famous People Executed by Firing Squads Part 1

About famous people who were executed by firing squads, biography and history of men like Maximillian and Mata Hari.



Overshadowed by his older brother, Emperor Francis Joseph of Austria, Maximilian accepted the crown of the ill-conceived and highly unpopular Mexican Empire, created in 1863 by Napoleon III. When the French withdrew from Mexico in 1867, Maximilian was left with virtually no military support for his weak government. He took personal command of his troops, which were concentrated at Queretaro. There, after a lengthy siege, he was captured by the forces of the Mexican Republic and shot by a firing squad on June 19, 1867. His wife, Empress Carlota, broke under the strain and was for the remaining 60 years of her life hopelessly insane.


This famous American labor leader and songwriter was born Joel Emmanuel Haagland in Sweden. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1901 and worked at a series of unskilled jobs. In 1910 he joined the labor movement and was a leader of the San Pedro dockworkers' strike in 1912. He soon earned the workers' fervent admiration while incurring the hatred of business and political leaders. In 1914 he was accused of the murder of a Salt Lake City businessman. The evidence brought against him was flimsy and circumstantial, but he was found guilty and sentenced to death. Despite mass protests, he was shot by a firing squad on Nov. 19, 1915.


After helping to organize the IWW in the U.S., Connolly returned to his native Ireland, where he became an outspoken radical writer and labor leader. Convinced of the need for Irish independence, he joined the Easter Rebellion of 1916. He was wounded in the uprising and subsequently court-martialed. Unable to walk because of gangrene, Connolly was seated in a chair when executed by a British firing squad on May 12, 1916.


Born Gertrud Margarete Zelle in 1876, Mata Hari began her stage career--billing herself as a Javanese temple dancer--after concluding an unhappy marriage to a Scottish officer in the Dutch army. When her career in Paris began to wane, she joined the German secret service and, from 1907 on, wheedled highly classified military secrets from the dozens of high Allied officers she slept with. She was brought before a French court-martial on July 24, 1917, sentenced to death by unanimous vote, and executed on Oct. 15, 1917, at Vincennes, 5 mi. outside of Paris.

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