History is made by prominent people and their untimely deaths. Assassination attempts that changed history as we know it has been the popular topics of history buffs around the world. These are your top 5 most important political assassinations.
1. Archduke Franz Ferdinand
Archduke Franz Ferdinand was a central and integral character in what would be known as the First World War. Born on December 18, 1863, he was the heir to the Austrio-Hungarian throne. It was on June 28, 1914, that Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife were assassinated by Gavrilo Princip under the orders of a group of an assassin called The Black Hand. The archduke’s assassination happened at Sarajevo which was the capital of an Austro-Hungarian province in Bosnia and Herzegovina. His death triggered the first World War.
It was on that Sunday morning when the Archduke and his wife Sophie went to see those who were in the hospital that the assassination plot took place. The driver took the wrong turn and when they were about to go back, Princip intercepted them and shot Sophie in the abdomen first and then shot Franz in the jugular vein.
His men could not do anything as he slowly died bleeding. Sophie also died on her way to the hospital. His assassination precipitated the Central Power’s decision to declare war against the Allies of World War I in which Serbia and their allies were in partnership. The Central Power consisted of Germany, Austria, and Hungary.
2. Reinhard Heydrich
Reinhard Tristan Eugen Heydrich was born on March 7, 1904, and was a high ranking Nazi official during World War II. He is one of the main propagators of the Holocaust and was the chief of the main security office. He was supposedly the heir to Adolf Hitler’s vast organization. He also formalized the plans to deport and exterminate all Jews in any German territory. He was known as the man with the iron heart based on what Hitler dubbed him. He was also charged as the founding head of an organization that seeks and destroys any resistance to the Nazi Party by arresting and killing the captives. Heydrich was attacked in Prague on May 27, 1942, when a team of Czech and Slovak soldiers was sent to kill him. He was able to defy death but later died from his injuries a week after his assassination attempt.
Some might think that the inclusion of Heydrich would not be relevant to this list but Heydrich was considered to be heir to the throne that Hitler has set up. He was the right-hand man and that Hitler was singing praises for his loyalty and innovation that he has presented to his vast organization.
With a vast knowledge of how the Nazi Party works, he was in line to become the successor to Hitler in case something happened to the leader. With his immense talent and leadership skills, he could have led the Nazi Party to reach new heights in exterminating Jews. Fortunately, the Allies were able to get to him and prevent it from happening.
3. John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy or JFK was the 35th President of the United States serving from 1961 to 1963. JFK was assassinated in 1963. He represented the state of Massachusetts from 1947 to 1953 as a Democrat and later served as a senator in the US Senate from 1953 to 1960. In the 1960 Presidential Election, he defeated Richard Nixon and became the youngest US President at 43 years old. He is the only president to have won a Pulitzer Prize. JFK was assassinated on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas. He was shot first in the throat, another one in the upper back, and the fatal shot hit him in the head. Lee Harvey Oswald was accused of the crime but before he testified in court, he was shot dead by Jack Ruby. This started a round of controversies regarding the death of the president as well as the assassin. JFK’s death became known worldwide as an assassin riddled with conspiracy theories.
The death of a president is always an issue to its country. It is not uncommon for a nation to have assassination attempts to its president especially if the country itself is filled with political unrest. But what made JFK’s assassination more prominent is that conspiracy theories abounded at that time.
The death of the US president commenced different conspiracy theories that changed the way the world viewed the political organization of the country. JFK’s assassination left a mark in history forever as no president or human being is safe from assassination plots – not even the most powerful man in the most powerful country in the world.
4. Mahatma Ghandi
Mahatma Ghandi was a leader of Indian Nationalism and a prominent figure for peace in the war-torn nation of India. Ghandi led the independence of India and was the central figure for the peace movement against freedom and civil rights. He was the son of a senior government official which opened his eyes to the intricacies of politics in his war-torn country. He became popular when he fought for the rights of both Muslims and Hindu Indians in South Africa and later turn to his country to fight the same battle. He became the leader of different religious groups who sought to unify the country and was against communism. He was later assassinated on January 30, 1948, by a Hindu Indian who thought that he was very sympathetic to the Muslims of India. Years later, India would commend his efforts for peace by declaring January 30 as Martyr’s Day.
The assassination of a peaceful leader became an issue in a country filled with the war against hate and discrimination. As a leader, Ghandi was very pragmatic about his practice and that he would always resolve conflicts through acts of non-violence. The assassination of this great leader changed the way the world viewed violence and that peace can be achieved even without a single drop of blood.
5. Benigno Aquino Jr.
Benigno Aquino Jr. was a Filipino senator and a leader of the opposition against the government of President Ferdinand Marcos. Shortly after the imposition of the Martial Law by the president, he was arrested together with other opposing leaders of the country.
He was imprisoned for seven years but was later permitted to travel to the United States to seek treatment for his heart attack. After returning from his self-imposed exile, he was assassinated at the Manila International Airport that sparked the entire nation to go out into the streets to protest against the imposition of Martial Law in the country.
Aquino’s death signaled the end of the iron fist rule of Marcos in the 1980s. The entire nation marched across the streets of the capital city of Manila protesting the government to oust Marcos. The protest was successful and Marcos was driven out of power without any form of violence.