There have been some assassinations that shook the world and changed the course of history. Actually they are only a fraction of actual number of assassination attempts occurred in history. Many famous people have survived attempts to take their lives. If they had been successful, we would have had a different history in books. Here is the list of ten failed assassination attempts or assassination attempts that failed.
10. Gamal Nasser
Gamal Nasser – the former Egyptian president was a crusader of Arabian nationalism and the arch enemy of Israel. He had been the target of his enemies for a long time and they chose to act in 1954 October. Nasser was delivering a live radio speech when eight bullets were fired at him none of which met their target. He was instrumental in scripting seminal later chapters in Egyptian history, including various wars against Israel.
9. Benito Mussolini
Like his ally Adolf Hitler, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini had also survived many attempts on his life before eventually getting hanged after the Second World War. The year 1926 in particular witnessed many attempts on the life of the fascist leader. One of them was by an Irish woman who didn’t succeed other than in slightly injuring his nose.
8. Fidel Castro
There is a documentary titled 638 Ways to Kill Fidel Castro. It might be an exaggeration but the CIA has tried to kill the former Cuban premier hundreds of times. Due to this he had a regular brush offs with death. The most interesting among them all must be the one involving a former lover of his. She came to meet Castro with intention to shoot him but he figured out her plan and disarmed her with a psychological approach.
7. Pope John Paul II
On May 13, 1981, a man named Mehmet Ali Agca fired four bullets on Pope John Paul II, critically damaging his arms and intestine. Agca was a Turkish criminal affiliated with the party Grey Wolves Organisation. Later, he was arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment in Italy. The Pope visited him in prison and forgave him for his act.
6. Andrew Jackson
Lack of aim saved the former US president Andrew Jackson from a certain death. The attacker Richard Lawrence fired two shots at him on January 30, 1835, both of which were far off the target. What ensued is even more interesting, as Jackson proceeded to beat him with his cane until he was apprehended. Lawrence was found to be mentally unstable and sent to an asylum.
5. Vladimir Lenin
The Russian revolutionary and the founder of the Soviet Union was nearly killed on August 30, 1918, when he was shot three times by a revolutionary named Fanya Kaplan. He suffered wounds on jaw and shoulders. The assassination attempt increased his popularity further and the communist leader used it to his advantage well enough. Kaplan was caught by security guards and was shot dead.
4. Franklin D Roosevelt
The longest serving American President had a close call with death on February 15, 1933 while he was rendering a speech in Miami. His attacker was a mentally unstable Italian man named Giuseppe Zangara. Zangara misfired a bullet after which the crowd attacked him. He managed to fire four more bullets none of which met the intended target but fatally wounded the then mayor of Chicago. Roosevelt led the USA through two critical periods, the Great Depression and the Second World War.
3. Ronald Reagan
On March 30, 1981, American President Ronald Reagan was shot by John Hinkely Jr. More than the assassination attempt itself, the reason behind the attack is interesting. It was actor Jodie Foster. Hinkely was a crazy fan of the 1976 movie Taxi Driver and became crazy about Foster. After many failed attempts to get noticed by her, Hinkely decided to get her attention by shooting the president. He fired six shots at him, one of which punctured his lung. Hinkely was tried and sent to mental asylum for treatment of various disorders.
2. Adolf Hitler
One of the most infamous men in history, German dictator Adolf Hitler, himself was subjected to numerous assassination attempts, 42 to be precise. The most famous among them must be the Operation Valkyrie which became the plot of a Tom Cruise film. As part of the plan, a briefcase filled with explosives was placed next to Hitler in a meeting. It was unknowingly replaced by General Heinz Brandt, who himself was killed in the explosion. Hitler escaped with a minor injury to his ear. The man eventually had to take his own life to escape the humiliation in the hands of the allied powers.
1. Charles de Gaulle
Charles Dr Gaulle was probably the most influential president of France. He attracted many enemies with his policies and unyielding nature. As a consequence there were many attempts to take his life. In 1962, as he was travelling with his wife down the streets of Paris, his car was subjected to a heavy gunfire. He only escaped thanks to his driver’s skills and the facilities of the car. The attack was in response to Dr Gaulle’s decision to grant Algeria independence. Two policemen were killed in the attack.
Top 10 Failed Assassination Attempts
- Charles de Gaulle
- Adolf Hitler
- Ronald Reagan
- Franklin D Roosevelt
- Vladimir Lenin
- Andrew Jackson
- Pope John Paul II
- Fidel Castro
- Benito Mussolini
- Gamal Nasser
Author – Nikhil Rajagopalan