6 Infamous Assassinations In History

6. Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, and held tenure from 1861 until his death in 1865. John Wilkes Booth, a Confederate spy, became angry and decided to assassinate Lincoln because of his support for the freedom of African Americans. On April 14th 1865, John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln in the head when he was at theatre. Lincoln was accompanied by only one bodyguard wandering through the theatre and Booth seized this opportunity. He waited until laughter filled the theatre and shot the President and escaped, but was caught and fatally shot twelve days later.

5. Mahatma Gandhi

On January 30, 1948, Gandhi was shot and killed while having his nightly public walk on the grounds of the Birla Bhavan (Birla House) in New Delhi. The assassin, Nathuram Godse, was a Hindu radical with links to the extremist Hindu Mahasabha, who held Gandhi responsible for weakening India by insisting upon a payment to Pakistan. Godse and his co-conspirator Narayan Apte were later tried and convicted; they were executed on 15 November 1949. Gandhi’s memorial at Raj Ghat, New Delhi, bears the epigraph “He Ram”, which may be translated as “Oh God”. These are widely believed to be Gandhi’s last words after he was shot, though the veracity of this statement has been disputed.

4. Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria

Franz Ferdinand Carl Ludwig Joseph Maria (18 December 1863 – 28 June 1914) was an Archduke of Austria-Este, Austro-Hungarian and Royal Prince of Hungary and of Bohemia and, from 1896 until his death, heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne.

On Sunday, 28 June 1914, at about 10:45 am, Franz Ferdinand and his wife were killed in Sarajevo, the capital of the Austro-Hungarian province of Bosnia and Herzegovina, by Gavrilo Princip, 19 at the time, a member of Young Bosnia and one of a group of assassins organized and armed by the Black Hand. The event led to a chain of events that eventually triggered World War I.

The assassinations, along with the arms race, nationalism, imperialism, militarism, and the alliance system all contributed to the origins of World War I, which began a month after Franz Ferdinand’s death, with Austria-Hungary’s declaration of war against Serbia. The assassination of Ferdinand is considered the most immediate cause of World War I.

3. Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King was the main man behind the American Civil Rights Movement. The movement was an attempt to abolish the racial discrimination of African Americans. King himself was black. On April 4th 1968, while standing on the balcony of his second floor motel room, King was fatally shot. Following the assassination there were riots in over 60 cities across the USA, and five days later, President Johnson declared a day of mourning. Two months later, escaped convict James Earl Ray was captured in London, and was extradited to Tennessee where he faced the a charge of murder against King. Ray was a white man who was opposed the African-American Civil Rights Movement.

2. Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar was a Roman political and military figure in the 1st century B.C. He was a successful military leader and following considerable success he started a civil war in the Roman Republic. Following this, he was proclaimed dictator. However, some senators in Rome were disillusioned by what Caesar had done, and so planned an assassination to take place on the Ides of March. While walking past the Theater of Pompey, Caesar was stopped by a group of Senators to read a fake bill which was allegedly to give power back to the Senate. As Caesar did this, he was stabbed. According to historical evidence, there were as many as 60 Senators present. After Caesar was stabbed he tried to run away, but fell and was stabbed repeatedly on the floor. He had 23 stab wounds. His death marked the end of the Roman Republic, and out of the bloody aftermath emerged the Roman Empire. At the time of his death, Caesar was 57 years old.

1. John F. Kennedy

John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the 35th President of the United States. He served from January 20th 1961 until his death on November 22nd 1963. His Presidency was one of the most event-filled of the 20th century. The space race, American Civil Rights Movement, Cuban Missile Crisis, the building of the Berlin Wall, and the beginning of the Vietnam War all took place during his Presidency. Despite there being hundreds of witnesses to his assassination there is a lot of confusion surrounding Kennedy’s death to this day, leading many to suspect a conspiracy. Just before 12:30 pm, Kennedy was travelling through Dallas in his open-top limousine. Three shots were then fired from a high-powered rifle, which all entered the president. Kennedy died soon after in hospital. Lee Harvey Oswald was charged with the murder of the President. This assassination in particular has had many conspiracies theorists, especially considering, until he died, Oswald maintained his innocence. Among those who have been accused are the FBI, Cuba, the CIA or the USSR. Many believe that there could have been a conspiracy among these groups. There has never been any conclusive evidence to prove that Oswald acted alone, or if he was even involved in the murder. Despite numerous investigations, the death is still shrouded in mystery.


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