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Assassinations That Changed The World

Author: Alex Pined

Assassinations That Changed The World

Book Series: True Crime

1. The world is a constantly changing place

Most of us consider the world to be a fairly stable environment, outside of the possibility of a skirmish here or there or some local problems that affect a minimal amount of people. The fact of the matter is, however, the world is a very complex and changing environment and it is one that can quickly change within a blink of an eye. This is due to the fact that life is very fragile and an individual who holds a significant amount of prominence can have his or her life taken away through an assassin, producing problems for all of us for generations to come.

Where's The Deer?

Throughout the pages of this publication, you will discover that there were assassinations that occurred in the distant past as well as in our recent history. Those assassinations have significantly affected all of us – past and present. More significantly, however, is the fact that our children, grandchildren and even future generations are going to be affected by those assassinations as well. Understanding more about the assassinations and what took place will help you to further appreciate just what those murderers did to everyone involved.

Some of the more recent assassinations that will be discussed include those of Martin Luther King Jr., Franz Ferdinand and John F. Kennedy. Those individuals were leaders within the community, including political leaders that had an influence over a vast part of the world. You will find that those assassinations are still discussed today, although they may have occurred up to a century ago. In fact, those assassinations still have a deep impact on us and have affected generations of individuals around the world.

There are also assassinations that occurred centuries ago that still have an impact on the world today. An example of this is Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States of America. He was a very popular president at the time of his assassination and was responsible, in part, for the abolishment of slavery in the United States. His assassination is often compared to that of John F. Kennedy, but it actually had an impact that was very significant on its own. It is still something that affects us down to this day.

Even assassinations that occurred in the very distant past, including Julius Caesar are things that can have an impact on the world. Most of us don't really consider it, because it is something that has affected the world for centuries or perhaps even millennia, but the impact does exist. We will discuss the assassination of Julius Caesar and the impact that it may have had on the world of that time as well as what it has done in shaping the world on a continual basis.

Along with discussing some of the better-known assassinations, we will also discuss some of the near misses and assassination attempts that took place. You will find that these near misses would have had a significant impact, if the outcome would have been slightly different. As a matter of fact, the world would likely be a very different place today if the assassin would've been on target or if situations would have changed that made it unlikely for the assassination to be successful.

When it all comes down to it, assassinations are a terrible part of human existence. Like any type of murder, it equates to a loss of life and it has an effect on the family and those that are closest to those individuals. In the case of an assassination, however, it goes far beyond the central impact to those that have a personal interest in the individual. In fact, the assassination can have an effect on the entire world, along with an even more significant effect on the country where the assassination occurred.

You will discover what took place behind the scenes in many of these assassinations, including some of the possible scandalous activities and even conspiracy theories that may be associated with them. In some cases, there is no clear line as to what took place, although there may be an official stance on what occurred. Regardless of why it occurred or how it occurred, however, the impact that it has on us is the same and it has shaped our world and made us who and what we are today.

2. Assassinated: Martin Luther King, Jr

During the 1960s, the civil rights movement was very strong in the United States and it was also strong around the world. There were a number of prominent individuals that took part in the civil rights movement, but none that had the impact that was felt through Martin Luther King Jr.

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Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929 and eventually, he became a very famous individual because of the role that he played in the civil rights movement and the fact that he was a clergyman who was able to speak both religiously and politically. He was also a peer of John F. Kennedy, who was the president of the United States during the time of the civil rights movement. Kennedy was assassinated during Mr. King’s lifetime as well.

There was a lot of civil unrest during those times, although Martin Luther king, Jr was certainly someone that tried to maintain an order of peace during that time. He was often involved in the marches of that day and was well known for his outspokenness and his ability to stir the crowds at such occasions.

It is also significant to recognize that the assassination of Martin Luther King is not something that was totally unexpected. As a matter of fact, he received death threats on almost an ongoing basis and he recognized the possibility that it could occur to him. He even told his wife that they were living in a sick society and that the assassination that occurred with JFK was the same thing that was going to occur to him as well. Unfortunately, Mr. King was very close to the mark.

One of the areas where there was a significant struggle in civil rights was in the southern United States, so King made a trip to Memphis, Tennessee, where there was a strike taking place among the city sanitation workers who were African-American. On February 11, 1968, the black sanitation workers staged a walkout on their jobs because of the working conditions that existed and the unequal wages that were being paid to African-Americans in comparison with white workers. In fact, if a black worker were to stay home because of the weather or because he was sick, he would receive no pay, but white workers who missed work due to those same conditions would receive pay.

Memphis was also the site of one of the most famous speeches delivered by Martin Luther King, Jr, known as the "I've been to the mountaintop" speech. It was during this speech that he referred to a bomb threat that was given on the airline that he used to travel to Memphis during the trip, saying, "I'm not worried about anything, I'm not fearing any man. My eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!"

He stayed at a motel known as the Lorraine Motel, located in Memphis, during his April stay in 1968. He frequented that motel when he was in the area and it was rumored that his room, room 306, was actually named the "King-Abernathy suite".

It was on the day after his famous speech, April 4, 1968, that the assassination of Martin Luther King, Junior took place. He was on the balcony of his hotel room at 6:01 PM when he was struck by a single bullet from a .30-06 Remington Model 760 rifle. The shot entered into his right cheek, traveling down the spinal cord and severed the jugular vein and other major arteries in the process. It broke his cheek and several vertebrae and eventually came to a rest in his shoulder. The shot was so violent that it caused his necktie to come off and he collapsed onto the balcony, unconscious.

At first, it was thought that Mr. King was dead but he was actually still conscious and was rushed to the St. Joseph's Hospital but he never regained consciousness. At 7:05 PM, April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was pronounced dead.

The short-term impact of the death of Martin Luther King Jr. was significant. Many of his colleagues pleaded with the population to have a peaceful reaction to his assassination, stating that King would never have wanted his death to cause additional violence and bloodshed. Other individuals, who were involved in the civil rights movement, including Stokely Carmichael, were not so interested in a peaceful reaction and called on black people to get guns in order to react.

The long-term effects of the assassination are still being felt, to a limited extent, down to this day. It fueled additional separation between the Blacks and the whites in the United States, giving rise to additional movements, including the Black Panther party and the black power movement. Unfortunately, the peace that Martin Luther King Jr. sought to obtain through his activities eventually led to additional violence because of his assassination.

Today, Martin Luther King Jr. is still considered to be one of the great African-American leaders of his time. Many people remember the peaceful actions of Martin Luther King Jr. and the way that he influenced many people of his day. Currently, there is a memorial to King that is to be permanently located in Washington DC in the area of the Lincoln Memorial. This area was where King gave his "I have a dream" speech, also in 1963.

3. Assassinated: Julius Caesar

Although assassinations have taken place throughout history, one of the older of those assassinations that we will discuss in this publication is the assassination of Julius Caesar. The actual date of the assassination occurred on March 15, 44 BC, a date that has been made famous by the play "Julius Caesar" by William Shakespeare in which a soothsayer comes up to warn Caesar to "Beware the Ides of March". Whether that event actually occurred or not is up for debate but what is not debatable is the fact that March 15, 44 BC was one of the most significant dates in history.


Julius Caesar was a very aggressive ruler, and in 49 BC the Roman Republic was plunged into civil war because of his actions in taking his army into northern Italy. During that movement, Caesar's army was able to take almost full control of the Italian peninsula, and he continued to pursue his rival, Pompey, who had fled into Greece. His victory during this war was significant, because Caesar was significantly outnumbered, although his military prowess allowed him to be victorious during the battles.

Pompey escaped into Egypt, but Caesar pursued him and eventually caught up with him. Caesar was given Pompey’s head as a token of friendship from the Egyptians. Cleopatra was set up as the surrogate ruler of Egypt during that time and Caesar continued to fight throughout North Africa until 47 B.C.E. At that time, Caesar returned to Rome.

Because of his victories during that time, Julius Caesar felt as if he was the ultimate power, so he declared himself to be such in February, 44 BC. The official title that he gave to himself was dictator for life but many of those in the Roman Senate did not agree with his decision. In fact, it was estimated that there were 60 members within the Senate that not only disagreed with Caesar’s decision to be dictator for life, but felt that the answer was to assassinate him.

Of course, planning for such a large assassination would require discretion on the part of the assassins, so they did not assemble openly in order to discuss it. It was thought that some of the possible plans were to assassinate him during the elections, where Ceasar could be pushed off of a bridge that he was obliged to cross, and then he could be killed below it. Another option was to assassinate him as he was walking on one of his favorite paths, known as the Sacred Way. The most preferred method of assassination was simply to kill Ceasar when he was in the Senate. After all, nobody was permitted into the Senate other than senators, and they could easily hide a dagger under their clothing.

Although the conspirators did their best to hide their decision to assassinate Julius Caesar, it apparently had leaked out to others. It was reported that there were friends who were aware of the rumors and tried to stop him from appearing in the Senate house on that day. Even his wife, Calpurnia, claimed to have a dream that was a forewarning of the event and requested that her husband not go to the Senate. Brutus, however, who was considered to be a friend of Julius Caesar, convinced Caesar to overlook the warnings and to take his rightful place in the Senate on that day.

There were even some problems that occurred when Caesar got to the Senate, because the sacrifice that he was to make before he entered the Senate proved to be unsuccessful. The priests continued to provide other sacrificial victims for Julius Caesar, but those were unsuccessful as well. It was suggested that Julius Caesar should not go into the Senate on that day, but again, Brutus came forward and talked Caesar into taking his place, even taking him by the hand and leading him into the Senate.

As Caesar walked into the Senate, the Senate rose to their feet, which was customary, and a man by the name of Tillius Cimber came forward and got hold of the toga of Julius Caesar near the mantle. This presented a problem for Caesar, because it did not allow him to move his arms freely but during that time, every man with a dagger hidden under his toga came forward quickly and begin to stab at Caesar.

According to reports of the day, he was first struck in the left shoulder by Servilius Casca, who missed his intended target. That gave Caesar the opportunity to try to defend himself, but it wasn't long before he was stabbed in the area of the ribs, slashed in the face and stabbed in the side. Brutus was struck in the hand during an errant attempt by Cassius Longinus. Caesar fell in the area of Pompeii statue and eventually was stabbed 35 times until he died.

Although most of us would not consider the death of Julius Caesar, which happened over 2000 years ago to be a significant event, it probably has more of an impact on our life than other assassinations. After all, it did reshape the world of the time and that is something that we continue to deal with down to this day.

The immediate effect of the death of Julius Caesar is that it may have sped up the eventual demise of the Roman Empire. Julius Caesar was very popular among the lower class citizens, and they were quite upset that a group within the Senate assassinated him. It also had severe political implications of that day, with his grandnephew being named previously by Caesar as the sole heir of his estate. Not only did this make his grandnephew a very wealthy individual, it gave him the name of Caesar, which he used to his advantage.

Cassius and Brutus, who took part in the assassination, were located in Greece and were putting together a large army in order to take charge of the empire. During the same time, however, Caesar became formally deified. Caesar's grandnephew, then known as Octavian was renamed as Divi Filius, meaning "son of the divine". Because of Octavian’s support within the Roman Empire, he eventually was able to defeat the Army of Cassius and Brutus.

This is also the time that Mark Antony was married to Cleopatra and was intending to dominate Rome from Egypt. An additional battle broke out between Antony/Cleopatra and Octavian but eventually, Octavian was victorious and became the first Emperor of the Roman Empire, Caesar Augustus.

The long-term implications of the assassination of Julius Caesar can be seen in a number of areas. First of all, it hastened the downfall of the Roman Empire and allowed the Anglo-American world power to exist today. In addition, Julius Caesar was the Emperor of the Roman Empire during the time that Jesus was born, a position that holds quite a degree of notoriety.

4. Assassinated: Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809 in Hodgins Hill Kentucky. He went on to become one of the most beloved presidents of the United States, the 16th president. During his time in office, a number of significant events took place, but one that is probably the most significant is the fact that he was assassinated. This took place on April 15, 1865, and at the age of 56 years, Abraham Lincoln died at the hand of his assassin, John Wilkes Booth.


As the 16th president of the United States, Mr. Lincoln came into office on March 4, 1861. During his early years, he served as a lawyer, and he also was in the military with the Illinois militia. Mr. Lincoln’s time in the militia was three months during 1832 where he served as captain, was discharged and then reenlisted as a private. He was also a veteran of the Black Hawk War.

Prior to the time that Abraham Lincoln was made president of the United States, seven of the southern states decided to split and to form what came to be known as the Confederate states of America. Of course, Mr. Lincoln did not have much support from the southern states, but he did have a significant amount of support from the northern states, which is how he could be elected.

Just one year later, in 1861, the Confederates made their first attack on Fort Sumter. The Union troops were widely supported by those in the north and the vast majority of the efforts of Abraham Lincoln were focused on the politics of the war, as well as on building up the military. Although the country was split in two different sections at this point, Mr. Lincoln wanted to reunite the states and to become a single nation again.

A few interesting events took place during the start of the Civil War, with one of them being the suspension of habeas corpus. Abraham Lincoln is the only president that was able to successfully suspend habeas corpus. It was also suspended in the Confederacy, and martial law was imposed. The only other president to try to suspend habeas corpus is George Bush, during the 2011 attacks, but this attempt was overturned.

Something else that many people are not familiar with is that the British may have become involved in the Civil War if it weren't for the interaction of Abraham Lincoln. This action, which came to be known as the Trent Affair, was seen in the possibility of both financial and military support in favor of the Confederacy coming from France and Britain in the name of cotton diplomacy.

Of course, one thing that Abraham Lincoln was especially known for is his work on the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863. The Union army was mobilized in order to protect slaves, who had escaped, and eventually it saw the 13th amendment to the United States Constitution being accepted, and slavery was outlawed permanently.

Although Mr. Lincoln was a popular president during the time, there were also those who disagreed with his actions and wanted to disrupt the inner workings of the United States government. One of those individuals was John Wilkes Booth, a spy for the Confederacy who lived in Maryland. Originally, the plan was that Abraham Lincoln would be kidnapped and traded for Confederate prisoners, but Booth became increasingly angry after hearing the speech in which Abraham Lincoln wanted to provide voting rights for black individuals.

Although most of us have heard about John Wilkes Booth and know that he assassinated Abraham Lincoln, you may not realize that Booth was not alone in his actions. There were other conspirators who were also involved, although it was Booth that actually pulled the trigger. It is also interesting to note that Abraham Lincoln was not the only target that was to be assassinated that night. The assassination of the vice president and Secretary of State was also to be carried out in their homes, but those assassinations did not occur.

The plan of the conspirators was not only to assassinate the president and end his life; it was an attempt to interrupt the inner workings of the United States government. Although John Wilkes Booth was never able to fully carry out his plan, it may have had a significant effect that would even last further down till this day if he was able to carry it out. It very well could have been that the assassination of several political figures during the time may have brought about a different end to the Civil War.

Abraham Lincoln was left unguarded in the theater because his bodyguard had left in order to go drink at the saloon that was next to the theater. When John Wilkes Booth saw that Abraham Lincoln was unguarded, he snuck up behind the president and fired point-blank at the back of his head. A man by the name of Major Henry Rathbone was also in the theater and struggled with John Wilkes Booth momentarily but was stabbed, and Booth was able to escape.

John Wilkes Booth was able to get out of the theater successfully, and it was 12 days before he was finally located in a Virginia farmhouse approximately 70 miles away. He still refused to surrender, so he was shot and killed.

Abraham Lincoln was killed during a high point in his career, and he was quickly elevated to the level of political martyr after his assassination. His popularity continues to grow and just one generation later, in the early 1900s, even individuals from the south agreed that he was one of the largest heroes in American history.

5. Assassinated: John F Kennedy

John F. Kennedy, who was often known by his initials of JFK, was born in Massachusetts in 1917 and eventually became the 35th president of the United States. During his time in the office of president, a number of significant events took place, not the least of which was his eventual assassination. It is something that had an effect on many people during that time and it certainly is something that is still discussed down to this day. In fact, it is perhaps the assassination that has the most conspiracy theories that are associated with it.


JFK became president on January 20, 1961, and he was eventually assassinated on November 22, 1963. During this time in office, some of the significant events that took place included the Cuban missile crisis, the Bay of Pigs invasion and the initiation of the space race that eventually saw Americans standing on the moon. In addition, he was president during the civil rights movement and Vietnam War and during the time that he was president, the Berlin wall was built.

Although Pres. Kennedy was one of the more popular presidents of his time, there is also much information that has more recently come to light about his life while in office that may shed some doubt on his personal nature. For example, Kennedy may have suffered from some health issues that were kept secret during that time and it may also be possible that he was guilty of infidelity, something that is still talked about down to this day.

The assassination of JFK took place in Dallas, Texas at approximately 12:30 PM. It was on November 22, 1963, and JFK was in the area for political reasons. The president arrived at Dallas Love Field Airport and it was from that point that he began his trip in the motorcade that would travel through Dallas and eventually, would stop at the Dallas Trade Mart. The trip was designed to provide as much exposure as possible for the president to the general population in Dallas but also was something that left him considerably open to a possible assassination.

There were three vehicles associated with the motorcade that took the president through downtown Dallas. The first car was unmarked and had a Sheriff, Secret Service agent, Dallas police chief and a Dallas field agent inside. The second car was the 1961 Lincoln convertible that contained Kennedy, along with his wife, the governor and a number of other individuals. The third car was also a convertible that included a number of people, including Secret Service agents and presidential aides.

It was 12:29 PM when the motorcade entered into Delray Plaza, and the enthusiastic crowds prompted the first lady of Texas to comment to the president "Mr. President, you can't say Dallas doesn't love you". From that point, the motorcade traveled down Houston Street and turned left onto Elm Street, passing the building that was known as the Texas school book depository. As the motorcade was traveling down Elm Street, shots rang out from the Texas school book Depository, killing the president.

According to most eyewitnesses, there were three shots that were heard fired at the president. The first shot apparently hit Pres. Kennedy in the upper back, traveling through the neck and damaging a vertebra. That same bullet continued to travel forward and struck Governor Connelly in the back. One of the other two bullets struck the president in the back of the head, which is the shot that killed him.

Although the Warren commission report, which is the generally accepted document that outlines the assassination of John F. Kennedy, states that there were only three shots, the House select committee states that there was a fourth shot that came from a different sniper.

According to the Warren commission report, the shots were fired from the Depository's sixth floor by a man named Lee Harvey Oswald. He used an Italian Carcano 91/38 bolt action rifle to carry out the assassination. The arrest of Oswald took place about 70 minutes after the assassination. Between the time that he shot the president and his arrest, Oswald was also was involved in at least one more shooting and tried to shoot the police who were there to arrest them.

Lee Harvey Oswald was never tried for the assassination of John F. Kennedy because he was also killed. As he was being escorted to the jail from the Dallas police headquarters, a man by the name of Jack Ruby shot and killed Oswald on live television.

The president was treated at Parkland Hospital, but it was known at that time that there was no hope for his survival. The president was pronounced dead at 1 PM and vice Pres. Lyndon Johnson was sworn in as president in the back of Air Force One at 2:38 PM on the same day.

The assassination of JFK had some significant impact on individuals who lived in the United States and those around the world. One of the things that were seen as a result of the assassination of JFK is that the news media on television began to overtake the news media through traditional print and newspapers. As a matter of fact, an ongoing news report was broadcast on TV that was unprecedented, and it was not surpassed until the attacks of 9/11.

Another significant change that came about as a result of the assassination of JFK is that the American government started to be distrusted on a larger basis. In part, this is due to some of the conspiracy theories that surround the death of JFK, but it was also the right time for it, since the civil rights movement was in full swing and people were becoming more politically aware.

Finally, the death of John F. Kennedy and the inauguration of Lyndon Johnson changed the scope of the ongoing conflict in Vietnam. From that point forward, the United States became much more involved in their presence in Vietnam and that certainly had an immediate effect on those who lived in America and around the world. It also has an effect that is still being felt down to this day.

6. Assassinated: Franz Ferdinand

Although there are many different assassinations that happened throughout history, there is one that has had a profound effect on the entire world over the past century. This assassination is of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, who was heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Archduke and his wife were traveling through a Bosnian city at the time when two shots rang out, killing both of them. Those two shots sparked something within the European area that eventually escalated to what is now known as World War I.


During the time that was leading up to 1914 and the development of World War I, nationalism was at an all-time high in the European area. Most of the Europeans wanted more land, although land was of a limited amount in those smaller countries. As a result, alliances began to form between countries, and the national fervor that went along with it was very difficult to control. Some of the major alliances that occurred during the time were Great Britain allying with France and eventually, with Russia. At the same time, Germany allied with Austria-Hungary to the south.

Of course, it was not only the large political powers that were struggling during that time to maintain their dominance, there was also a lot of infighting, and it was in the infighting that the trouble began. A man by the name of Gavrilo Princip, who was only 19 years old at the time, thought that killing the Archduke would free the Slavic people from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. As a result, he and other conspirators decided that they would assassinate the Archduke.

There were seven different conspirators that were lining the event that was taking place in which the Archduke's car was to drive by. Although the conspirators had training in order to carry out the assassination, they did not necessarily have a final plan that would allow them to carry it out. In fact, during the time that the Royal car was traveling through the city streets, the men were just looking for an opportunity to carry out the assassination.

One of the men that were waiting for the Royal car to pass by saw that he had an opening, so he tossed a bomb at the Royal car, hoping to kill the Archduke. His aim missed the mark, however, and the bomb rolled off the back of the car and exploded near another car, injuring some bystanders. The car that carried the Archduke Ferdinand and Sophie continued at high speed to their destination at City Hall, and they went through with the political ceremonies.

What is a surprise to many people is that the car did not take an unexpected route when it was traveling away from the city hall after the ceremonies. It took the same route, and it even stopped in the area where the earlier assassination attempt had failed, which gave the opportunity for the primary conspirator to fire two shots at point blank range, killing Archduke Ferdinand and his wife Sophie.

The assassin tried to turn the gun on himself after the assassination took place, but was not permitted to do so. A bystander stopped the attempt and the assassin was then attacked by the mob of bystanders who were angry over the death of the Archduke and his wife. Eventually, the police were able to wrestle the assassin away from the mob, but according to eyewitnesses, they also tortured him and all but killed him.

The political environment in Europe was ripe for conflict, and it was the death of Archduke Ferdinand and Sophie that began to set things in motion. The Serbian government was blamed for the attack by the Austria-Hungary Empire, but they did not immediately enter into war because they were unsure as to whether Germany was going to support them in the conflict or not. The declaration of war on Serbia by Austria-Hungary took place on July 28, 1914 and World War I came to birth.

It took some time for other nations to get involved in the battle, but eventually, over 100 different nations were to take part in it. The United States formally entered World War I in 1917, and it was dubbed as the Great War, or the war to end all wars.

Europe has been the location of a number of conflicts, including the two great wars that took place in the first half of the 20th century. It is amazing to think that the death of a single Archduke and his wife would lead to such conflict, but it was just the match that ignited the flames that led to the largest war ever up until that time.

7. Assassinated: Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi was born on October 2, 1869 in British India. Although he is best known for his philosophy and his leadership in India, he had a life that was full of many interesting times as well. He was born as a Hindu and was educated as a lawyer, practicing law in South Africa. In 1915, he returned to India and began to organize the political movement that would eventually lead to the independence of India from Great Britain.


Gandhi was not only known for his political prowess in India, he was also a proponent for the individual in the country, helping to work on the rights of women and to limit some of the problems that are associated with poverty. Eventually, he was instrumental in achieving the self-rule of India away from Great Britain.

One of the ways that this took place was by a challenge that Gandhi made to the salt tax that was imposed by the British. In 1930 he led a march that lasted for 250 miles, known as the Dandi Salt March. In 1942, he also called for the British to quit India. Of course, his political views and his striving for independence from Great Britain had repercussions for him as an individual as well. A number of times he found himself in prison, but regardless of the situation, nonviolence was one of the founding principles by which he lived.

Although it was not Gandhi’s original view of what would take place, the rise of Muslim nationalism was an issue that needed to be addressed. In 1947, India was granted independence by the British Empire, but it was split into two different dominions: Muslim Pakistan and the Hindu majority India. This led to a number of difficulties, including an increase in religious violence as the Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs made their way out of their current area into the land of religious majority.

The assassination of Mahatma Gandhi occurred in the garden of the Birla House on January 30, 1948. Gandhi was on his way to a prayer meeting when the assassin, who was also working along with several conspirators, shot him with a Beretta 9 mm pistol at point-blank range with three shots. This was coming on the heels of a former (unsuccessful) attempt at assassinating Gandhi. This attempt, however, resulted in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.

The funeral procession was 5 miles long, and it took over five hours to traverse the course from the Birla house to Raj Ghat. A weapons carrier was used for transporting the body of Gandhi, but a high platform was installed on it so that more individuals who were lining the path could view the body. It is estimated that over 2 million people were involved in this funeral march. It is also interesting to note that the vehicle was not powered by an engine but rather, it was pulled by ropes that were manned by 50 people.

The assassination of Gandhi was politically motivated, and the conspirators blamed him for not transferring money to Pakistan after the split had taken place. They also felt that Gandhi's nonviolent way of doing things was not the most appropriate and that everything could've moved more quickly if things were done differently. The conspirators were eventually tried and executed.

The death of Mahatma Gandhi resulted in violence throughout India, and it is still something that is thought to have an effect on that part of the world, as well as the rest of the world down to this day.

8. Assassinated: Philip II of Macedon

Throughout this publication, we have noted a number of assassinations that occurred in more recent years and some that occurred before any of us reading this publication were born. In this chapter, we are going to discuss a political figure that was assassinated well over 2000 years ago. This man, known as Philip II of Macedon was the king of Macedon, an ancient Greek kingdom. He was king of that kingdom during the years of 359-336 BC.

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More than likely, you have never heard about this man, but it is likely that you heard about his successor, which we will discuss in this chapter. Philip was the youngest son of the king. During his youth he was held hostage in Thebes, a Grecian city. It was there that he got his militaristic background and received an education that would serve him well in his later years. Although the throne would have typically gone to the eldest son, the death of his brothers permitted him to take the throne in 359 BC.

The Grecian Empire was on the rise during the time, and Philip II certainly had the mindset that fit the role. In fact, he was rather popular during his early years and that allowed him to see a significant amount of success but he also suffered some defeat, which called his kingship into question. Of course, in true Grecian Empire fashion, he continued to fight against those other empires and eventually, defeated the Athenian hoplites, which were 3000 strong.

At this point in his political career, Philip II found that he was basically free of any opposition because of his military victories. It was during this time that he worked on strengthening his position as the King and also in growing his army for any future battles that may take place. He continued with his military conquests, including that of the Illyrians, in which 7000 Illyrians died in a single battle. That is true, even though he was married to the great-granddaughter of the Illyrian king.

During the succeeding years, he continued to run an aggressive campaign for world dominance. Throughout those years, he had many victories but he also suffered some defeats as well. Eventually, Philip was able to secure most of Greece and it fell under his sovereignty as the king of Macedon. It was during that time, in 337 BCE, that the league of Corinth was formed, and league members agreed that they would not war against each other, except in the case of a revolution.

Now that Greece had been brought under his rule, he turned his sights on the Persian Empire, which was the major political Empire of the day. This took place in 336 BCE, which was also the same year that Philip II of Macedon was assassinated.

The assassination itself took place in October of 336 BC at the Macedon capital of Aegae during the celebration of the marriage of Philip's daughter with Alexander I of Epirus. It was during the time that Philip II was entering into the theater that he was killed by one of his bodyguards. The king was largely unprotected during the time of his assassination. The assassin, Pausanias of Orestis, tried to escape on foot and meet up with some of the conspirators who were waiting for him on horseback, but he tripped and died at the hands of the other bodyguards.

It is not fully understood why the assassination of Philip II of Macedon took place, but it may have been because the assassin was offended by some of the individuals who were following Cleopatra (Phillip’s wife) and her uncle. Although it is not known why the assassination of Philip II took place, what is known is that it opened the way for his successor to take charge, and that was Alexander the Great.

Alexander the Great also had a short-lived political career, but during the time that he was in charge, he carried on warfare that was practically unprecedented in history. In fact, his empire extended from Egypt to Greece and even into Northwest India and during the time that he was waging battle, he was undefeated. It wasn't until he became ill unexpectedly that he died at an early age, but not before his military prowess brought about the Grecian Empire, which stayed on the world scene for many years until it succumbed to the Roman Empire.

9. Assassinated: Anwar El Sadat

Mohammed Anwar El Sadat was the third president of Egypt, and he remained in office from 1970 until October 6, 1981, when he was assassinated. He was part of the group of individuals, known as the Free Officers, who were responsible for the overthrow of King Farouk during the Egyptian revolution, which occurred in 1952. In addition, he served as vice president twice until eventually he gained the presidency in 1970.


Anwar El Sadat was responsible for a lot of change in Egypt during the time that he was president and is responsible for the multiparty system that is a part of Egypt, going away from Nasserism, which was the former type of government in Egypt. During 1973, he led the Yom Kippur war and took back the Sinai Peninsula into Egypt, taking it from Israel that had occupied the land since 1967. Although he was made a hero in Egypt as a result of his action, it did not gain any favor among the Israelis.

The tension that existed between the Israelis and Egypt continued to be a problem, but eventually the Egypt-Israel peace treaty was signed, and he ended up winning the Nobel Peace Prize along with the Israeli Prime Minister who also signed the treaty. Although the treaty was greatly heralded as being a step toward peace, not everybody in Egypt agreed with the decision to sign it. The Muslim brotherhood, as well as some political activists, was concerned about the possible rejection of the Palestinian state and they thought that Anwar El Sadat was working against it. Eventually, the Arab League suspended Egypt and they continued to be separate from it until 1989.

It is also the signing of the peace treaty with the Israelis, in part, that led to the assassination of Anwar El Sadat. The problems continued to be seen on an increasing basis, and there were a number of internal issues that occurred within the Egyptian government during the time that Sadat was president. He tended to favor the possibility that it was the Soviet Union that was behind the uprisings and was trying to relieve him of his presidency.

In 1981, however, a military coup was attempted and failed, and after that, there was a change in the political stature of Sadat. A number of those that were in opposition to him were arrested during that time. Like many political leaders that still continue to be a martyr down to this day, it is thought that Anwar El Sadat was at the peak of his popularity during the time that he was assassinated. Otherwise, history may remember him quite differently.

Many in Egypt were unhappy with what was taking place politically, and the Egyptian Islamic Jihad decided to take action on it. At one point, over 1500 people were arrested because of information that was intercepted on a potential uprising. The arrests were not a popular choice, and they proved to be something that also failed in its efforts to stop the assassination. Although many of the members of El-Jihad were arrested, there was a cell that was missed in the military and a lieutenant by the name of Khalid Islambouli was able to assassinate Sadat.

Sadat was killed on October 6, 1981 during a victory parade that was being held in Cairo. Khalid Islambouli stopped in front of the stand where Sadat was sitting and emptied his assault rifle into his body. Not only was Sadat killed in this assassination, 11 other individuals were killed as well, including the Cuban Ambassador. The funeral of Sadat received worldwide attention, and it was even attended by three former presidents of the United States (Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford).

10. Assassinated: William McKinley

William McKinley was born on January 29, 1843 and eventually became the 25th president of the United States. He began serving his term on March 4, 1897 and was assassinated on September 14, 1901. During his years in office, he was responsible for a number of events that still have an effect on us, down to this very day. He was only one of the four US presidents that were successfully assassinated, along with Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield and John F. Kennedy.

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In his early years, he attended a number of schools, including Allegheny College, Mount Union College and Albany Law School. After graduating, he worked as a lawyer and started his profession in politics as well. He also served in the United States Army under the Union Army from 1861-1865, during which time he held the rank of Brevet Major. This was during the time of the Civil War, and it was common for young men in Ohio to join the Union Army during the time to fight in the war.

During his presidency, he was responsible for a number of factors that are noteworthy. One of the factors that are often not considered because of his presidency is the fact that he was the president during the time of the Spanish-American war and was victorious. In addition, he was interested in industry in America and raised tariffs in order to protect the industry, which was in its infancy at the time.

Something that William McKinley did during his presidency that still has an effect down to this day is that he maintained the gold standard. Although we are not all using the gold standard at this time, it did help to retain some form of stability in the marketplace and that may have been quite different, if he had allowed some of the inflationary proposals to move forward. The gold standard continued to be the standard by which the world measured money for many years.

Like many presidents in that era, William McKinley enjoyed meeting with the public and being publicly available. This was becoming increasingly dangerous, however, because of assassinations that were taking place in Europe and the possibility that the violence could also spill over and affect his presidency as well. Some particular concern surrounded the event at which McKinley was assassinated, and an attempt was made to change the dates, but McKinley refused to agree to the change. Security was beefed up in order to protect the president and on September 5, the president was in front of some 50,000 individuals at a fair, giving the speech.

As it turns out, it would be the last speech that William McKinley was able to give. It outlined his view on tariffs and his interest in protecting American manufacturers and allowing them to have access to foreign markets where American business could continue to grow. In the crowd, however, was a man by the name of Leon Czolgosz, who was hoping to carry out the assassination. At one point, he was close to the podium, but he was concerned about missing the target so he did not fire.

On the following day William McKinley was at the Fair, and Czolgosz was waiting for him there with a handgun concealed in a handkerchief. He was in the line that was waiting to meet the president, and when he got to the front of the line, he shot McKinley twice in the abdomen. The mob instantly reacted, but it was McKinley himself that called for them to let him go. He also asked that his wife be told gently about his condition.

The second bullet that entered William McKinley was unable to be located, and his condition seemed to be improving over the next few days. Unfortunately, however, gangrene had set in, and on September 13, Pres. McKinley died. His vice president, Theodor Roosevelt, who had gone on a hunting trip, was rushed back in order to be sworn into office. Czolgosz was convicted of the assassination and executed by electric chair approximately one month later.

11. Assassinated: Benazir Bhutto

There are some people that hold significant importance, just by the simple fact that they held an office. One of those individuals is Benazir Bhutto, the only woman to ever serve as prime minister of Pakistan or any major political party within the country. She took the office in December 2, 1988 and was in office for two terms; she was assassinated in December 2007. During that time, Benazir Bhutto was involved in politics for the country helping to establish industry and financial growth. In addition, she was heavily involved in the national security of Pakistan as well.

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Although Bhutto enjoyed popularity in her role as prime minister, like any political station, that popularity came and went according to the surrounding circumstances. In the early 1990s, the recession was in full swing and unemployment had a strong grip on Pakistan. In addition, there was a considerable amount of corruption in the government during that time so that form of government was dismissed by the president. In 1993, however, Benazir Bhutto was elected for a second term.

Even though she was eventually assassinated, it wasn't the first attempt to do so. One of those attempts occurred during a coup d'état that took place in 1995, and Bhutto also earned the name "iron lady", which was given to her by India because of her tough stance against any political rivals and on trade unions as well. The president again dismissed her form of government and after she was defeated in the parliamentary elections of 1997, Benazir Bhutto became an exile in Dubai.

In 2007, however, she was permitted to return to Pakistan and was granted full amnesty by the then president, Perez Musharraf. Bhutto entered back into the political scene and was scheduled to take part in the general election of 2008 but was stopped short by the assassination in December 2007.

Security was rather high in the area, as could be expected, and the vehicle in which Benazir Bhutto was riding was bulletproof. After the campaign rally took place on that day, Benazir Bhutto stood up and waved to the crowds through her open sunroof. Shots were fired from the nearby area and explosives were detonated near the car. In the explosions and gunfire, 20 individuals were killed and Bhutto was mortally wounded, apparently by the explosion.

12. Near Miss: Kyūjō Incident

Up until this point in the publication, we have discussed assassinations and how they directly and indirectly affected the individuals of that time and down to today. For this chapter and the next, however, we’re going to shift gears and look at some of the assassinations that were meant to take place but fell short of the mark. In considering what could happen if they were successful, however, it can really give you pause in recognizing that the world could be quite a different place if the event had happened as it was directed.

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One of those potential assassinations came to be known as the Kyūjō incident, which was a coup d’état that was unsuccessful in Japan near the end of the Second World War. Japan was in a very difficult situation, as atomic bombs had already been dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Japanese Emperor was scheduled to sign the surrender to the Allied forces and the failed coup d’état was put into place in order to stop that surrender from occurring.

It is interesting to think how the life of one individual could have affected millions of others and would even be having an impact down to this very day. The coup d’état occurred when revolutionaries tried to place the Japanese Emperor under house arrest but they did not get the support that they needed in order to carry out their plan. After seeing that they had failed in their ability to overthrow the Emperor, they committed suicide.

Since the coup d’état was unsuccessful, the Japanese surrendered to the Allied forces and World War II came to an end. If they had been successful, however, the Japanese would not have surrendered and the war would have continued. What many people don’t realize, however, is that an invasion of Japan was being directed and it was to be carried out, similar to the way that Normandy was invaded on D-Day.

It was known as Operation Downfall and it was to come in two parts. The first part, operation Olympic, would capture the southern part of the main Japanese island of Kyushu. The Allied forces had already captured Okinawa and it was to be used as a staging area for that invasion. Operation Coronet would follow with airstrikes using the support that was available from operation Olympic.

The Japanese were aware of the fact that the Allied forces were planning such an invasion, and it was not difficult to recognize the points of entry that they would’ve used. As a result, the Japanese were able to adjust their military to defend the island properly, just in case the invasion should happen to be carried out.

According to the estimates of those who were preparing Operation Downfall, the casualties were to be nothing short of cataclysmic. The atomic bombs had already been dropped on two major cities in Japan, but it was estimated that an additional seven atomic bombs would be ready for use by the time of the invasion and would be used, in what would be known as X day. It was preliminarily scheduled for November 1, 1945. According to some estimates, millions of casualties within the Allied forces would occur and the Japanese would suffer losses in the tens of millions.

In addition to the possibility that there could’ve been a significantly different outcome to World War II, there was also the fact that Allied troops would be marching into land that had just recently been irradiated by atomic bombs. The individuals in charge had no idea what they were doing with atomic energy and they made no plans for protecting the troops that would be marching in those areas. It could’ve affected their health significantly and it obviously could’ve also affected their offspring as well.

The assassination was not carried out because the coup d’état failed. It was a near miss, and is one that could have had significant consequences if it had taken place. It is interesting to think that the plans of a small group of individuals to assassinate one person could have impacted the world of that day and may still be impacting the world down until our day and beyond, if it occurred.

13. Near Miss: FDR

When the thought of presidential assassinations crosses our mind, it is more than likely that we think about some of the more notable presidents that were assassinated, such as Abraham Lincoln or JFK. The fact of the matter is, however, there have been many presidential assassination attempts that were unsuccessful and if they were successful, they could change the course of history. One of those assassination attempts took place in 1933 on Franklin Delano Roosevelt.


The world was about to be thrown into a second world war and the political upheaval that was occurring across the world was one that was of significance. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, or FDR, is often known as an individual who was able to take a stand and to be a solid backing for a people that were struggling at the time. Unfortunately, not everyone saw him in that way.

FDR was in Miami, Florida and was giving a speech at the Bayfront Park. An unemployed bricklayer named Giuseppe Zangara shouted to the president that too many people were starving, and at that point began to fire a gun at FDR. This was during the time that FDR was the American president-elect, as he had not yet been sworn into office.

Giuseppe was a man of rather short stature, and as a result, he could not see over the crowd enough to get a clear shot at FDR. It is thought that he had to stand on a folding chair, and due to the chair’s instability, Giuseppe was unable to hit his target. Unfortunately, there were five other individuals who were hit including the Chicago mayor who died as a result of his injuries.

Immediately after the shots were fired, the crowd charged in on Giuseppe and tackled him. More than likely, they would have brought an end to his life as well, but it was FDR himself that stepped in and told the crowd to leave justice to those in positions of authority. If Giuseppe had been successful, however, it would’ve brought a quick end to a very short political career during the time when most of the country was negatively affected as a result of the depression.

Although it is not fully known and will never be known what would occur if FDR had been assassinated on that fateful day, there are those who feel that the world would be considerably different than what it is today. After all, the world was about to be plunged into the second world war, and the firm stand that was taken by FDR would’ve fallen on the shoulders of the vice president, who would’ve taken a different stand of isolationism during that time.

Since the United States would not have been involved in the Second World War, the axis powers, including Great Britain, France and the Soviet Union, would more than likely have lost to Germany. They would not stop there, however, and more than likely the powers that be at the time would then have turned their attention to the United States and may very well have conquered it by the middle of the 20th century.

Although it certainly is a matter of speculation, it is worthy of our consideration because of the different outcome that the world could have at this time. With the assassination of a single individual at the wrong time, it could’ve affected billions of people around the world down to our day and beyond. If it weren’t for the fact that the assassin was of short stature and could not get a stable shot, the world may certainly be different today.