Assassinations That Changed the World

The History Channel Premiered Jan 01, 2009 Unknown


No Editor

User Score: 0

Episode Guide


  • Season 1
    • U.S. Presidents, who are among the most powerful leaders in the world, have often been targets for assassination. Many times the assassin is a lonely outcast of society who, by means of killing the President, looks to achieve some sort of fame or celebrity. There are also assassins who seek to kill Presidents because they are unhappy with government policies or have some sort of political agenda of their own. And sometimes they are obsessed individuals who look to impress someone they admire. This was the case with John Hinckley who successfully shot President Reagan in March of 1981. Reagan survived and Hinckley claimed that he tried to kill the President to gain the attention of actress Jodie Foster. Other Presidents who survived assassination attempts include: Andrew Jackson, who miraculously avoided being shot at point blank range by a disgruntled political office seeker whom Jackson had dismissed; after he left office, Theodore Roosevelt was shot and seriously wounded by a demented man; and, Harry Truman, whose guard was shot and killed by Puerto Rican nationalists in 1950. There have been four U.S. Presidents who have been killed by an assassin's bullet. The first was Abraham Lincoln who was shot and killed by John Wilkes Booth in April of 1865. Booth was an ardent confederate sympathizer and was unhappy with the surrender of General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox just eight days before the assassination. Presidents James Garfield and William McKinley were shot and killed by assassins who disagreed with or felt slighted by their political beliefs and actions. However, probably the most dramatic assassination of a U.S. President was the shooting death of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. Kennedy's assassin, presumed to be Lee Harvey Oswald, was an avowed Marxist who was shot and killed two days later by Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby. Theories and rumors abound regarding whether or not Oswald was the lone gunman, however, Oswald does fit the profile of manymoreless
    • Focuses on the assassinations of three men who were at the peaks of their careers, but whose deaths came before their full impact had had been realized: Huey Long, Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King Jr. Conclusion.
    • The word "assassin" comes from the European name for the member of a secret order of the Ismaili sect of Islam. The order was founded by Hasan ibn al-Sabbah when he gained control (c.1090) of the mountain fortress of Alamut near the Caspian Sea. The order spread over Persia and Syria, gaining control of many strongholds, and it soon inspired terror throughout the Muslim world. The order was organized into strict classes, the most important of which were the devotees, who sought martyrdom and were used as instruments of assassination. It is generally believed that these devotees were given hashish and treated to great sensual pleasures as a foretaste of the pleasures of paradise that they were promised if they died during their duties. The term assassin came into English and is used today to mean murderer and particularly one who kills for political motives. Sometimes, the assassin will die in his attempt to kill, but often he does not and is brought to justice or flees into hiding. However, the traits of today's assassins and the original order are sometimes very similar. Often, the attempt to kill, in an assassin's mind, will be rewarded by martyrdom or eternal paradise if they are successful or die trying.moreless
    • 0.0
      The assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand on June 28, 1918, in Sarajevo, Bosnia (later Yugoslavia) by Gavrilo Princip. This assassination set in motion a number of diplomatic manuevers in Europe that resulted in the beginning of World War I. The assassination of Grigori Rasputin on December 30, 1916. A Russian monk, Rasputin was killed by a group of right-wing patriots after he rose to political power and challenged the authority of the Czar. Czar Nicholas II, killed on July 16, 1918. Corruption and scandal during his reign in Russia eventually led to the shooting deaths of him and his family by the revolutionary Bolsheviks at Ekaterinberg. Vladimir Lenin, Russian revolutionary. An attempt on his life was made after he became involved with the Bolsheviks, who were trying to overthrow the imperialist Russian government. The attempt was not successful. Lenin is also credited for being the instigator for the attempts and eventual assassination of Leon Trotsky. Leon Trotsky, killed on August 20, 1940 by Ramon Mercador del Rio near Mexico City. A former Russian revolutionary and war commissioner, Trotsky was exiled by Stalin in 1928. During his exile he advocated for a program of world revolution that would result in pure communism and challenge the power of Stalin in Russia. His assassin was possibly a Stalinist agent but that was never proven. He was, however, convicted of the crime and sentenced to 20 years in a Mexican prison. Adolf Hitler, Chancellor of Germany 1933-1945. An attempt was made on his life in 1944 by several of his trusted aides. However, Hitler escaped a bomb explosion with some injury and summarily killed all of the conspirators. His survival of this attempt only...moreless