Unfortunately, as has sometimes been the case, if a group of people can’t persuade or reason with the person in power, a political assassination usually occurs. You would be surprised to know that leaders from around the world face countless assassination attempts, most of which aren’t documented. While the majority of these attacks come from conflicting groups, others are more of an inside job. This article highlights some of the unforgettable assassinations throughout history.

1. John F. Kennedy

It’s not just Americans, but the assassination of John F. Kennedy will never be forgotten because of the ripple effect it created. Kennedy’s term as president was never easy. He was involved in the Vietnam War, Cold War, and civil rights campaigns. Despite these many obstacles, he was loved by more than 70% of the population.

After leading the country for only 1,037 days, John F Kennedy was shot three times in 1963 while riding in a motorcade in Dallas. It is said that the assassin was Lee Harvey Oswald, who used a mail-order rifle and was positioned on the 6th floor of the depository building.

Interestingly, Lee Harvey Oswald was caught a day later, but as he was being transferred to court to answer the charges, he was shot by a Dallas nightclub owner called Jack Ruby. As expected, many conspiracy theories have emerged from the entire incident.

2. Martin Luther King Jr

Martin Luther King contributed significantly to promoting equal rights in the United States, making his assassination unforgettable. Famous for his “I Have a Dream” speech, Martin Luther King Jr was killed by James Earl Ray on April 4, 1968, while standing on the balcony of a motel room.

James Earl Ray was not a skilled assassin. He had been released a year earlier for mediocre offenses like robbing gas stations. After ending Martin Luther King Jr’s life, he fled to Toronto, London, Lisbon, and back to London. James Earl Ray was arrested trying to escape to Brussels, Belgium, and was flown back home. He was charged and pleaded guilty before being handed 99 years in prison. Like John F. Kennedy’s case, many believe there was more to the plot than meets the eye.

3. Mahatma Gandhi

Considered by many as the father of India, Mahatma Gandhi was a freedom fighter when the British occupied the region. Unlike most nationalists, Mahatma Gandhi advocated nonviolent demonstrations to improve India’s political prowess.

During the tension between Hindus and Muslims, Mahatma Gandhi tried to unite both communities. It was during these times that he was shot three times by Nathuram Godse on January 30, 1948. In his defense, Nathuram Godse claimed that Mahatma Gandhi liked Muslims more than Hindus. Surprisingly, Nathuram Godse bowed to Mahatma Gandhi before ending his life, and he even wished him well.

4. Abraham Lincoln

Adding to the list of politicians whose lives were wiped away by malicious beings is Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the US. He was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth, a descendant of one of America’s famous families, who disagreed with Lincoln’s view of slavery and racial equality.

This wasn’t the first attack against Lincoln. In 1864, John Booth had made arrangements to kidnap the president and even had a group ready for the task. These attempts were, however, unsuccessful, so the plan was postponed.

On April 14, 1865, the perpetrator discovered that Abraham Lincoln would be attending a “Our American Cousin” performance at Ford’s Theater. In a carefully planned attack, John Booth shot Abraham from the back of his head with a pistol.

5. Russian Tsar Nicholas II

The assassination of Tsar Nicholas II marked the end of royalty in Russia, ushering in communist rule under Joseph Stalin. In 1918, Nicholas the Second, his wife, and five kids were shot in cold blood by a revolutionary socialist group, the Bolsheviks. It was later confirmed that Yakov Yurovsky led this attack.

They had kidnapped and held royalty hostage for a couple of months, making it one of the worst assassinations because it involved kids. The children’s clothes were made using diamonds and acted as bulletproof vests, which extended the execution.

6. Patrice Lumumba

The president of Congo was assassinated in 1961 by a police unit that was under strict instructions from Belgium. This killing occurred only seven months after Congo had gained its independence from its colonial ruler. Patrice Lumumba’s assassination is celebrated all over Africa as a reminder of the tough times the region had to endure under colonialism.

Patrice Lumumba’s death attracted controversy that extended to the 21st century. To begin with, the CIA was associated with the leader’s cold-blood killing. Then, there was the question of Belgium holding onto Lumumba’s remains for 61 years. A tooth, the only thing left behind from Patrice Lumumba’s remains, was returned to Congo in 2022.

7. Ngô Đình Diệm

Before being assassinated, President John F Kennedy approved the coup in South Vietnam that was led by Generals Dương Văn Minh and Trần Văn Đôn, some of the closest officials to the president. Diem and his brother were assassinated in the back of an armored car in 1963.

After the death of the South Vietnam president, more US troops were allowed to enter the country. The Vietnamese will never forget this assassination because it marked the beginning of a war that killed 1.5 million of their people and more than 58,000 Americans.

8. Malcolm X

Malcom X will be remembered for his ferocity in empowering the African American community. He was assassinated on February 21, 1965, at the Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan. The assassins created a commotion in the crowd, which left Malcom X exposed. One of them then came to the podium and shot the renowned in the chest with a sawed-off shotgun while the other two shot him in the thighs and ankle.

Talmadge Hayer confessed to assassinating Malcolm and was sent to prison but only served for 45 years before being released in 2010. Besides the three assassins, there are rumors that the NYPD and FBI were involved in the plot.

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General Knowledge, History,

Last Update: June 10, 2024