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Ten Political Leaders Who Survived Multiple Assassination Attempts

Ten Political Leaders Who Survived Multiple Assassination Attempts
1. Fidel Castro

The number of attempts on Fidel Castro is unknown. Fabian Escalante, a retired Chief of Cuba’s counterintelligence estimated 638 assassination attempts on Castro, which he blames on the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). 8 attempts by the CIA have been substantiated by Senate Committees. It is widely believed that the number is closer to 600 than 8 because of the CIA’s desire to get rid of Castro and put a new government in place in Cuba. Castro himself once said that “If surviving assassination attempts were an Olympic event, I would win the gold medal.”

Photo: History collections

It is not just the number of assassination attempts but the assassination plots themselves that makes Castro stand out. One assassination plot involved a bacteria infested scuba diving suit that was paired with a booby trapped conch shell placed on the bottom of the sea. Another of the stranger plots included a ballpoint pen with a hidden hypodermic syringe loaded with Blackleaf 40, which can stop the heart and cause the respiratory system to shut down. The CIA was also not above involving Castro’s lovers in order to get close enough to kill the dictator. There was even an attempt to destroy Castro’s beard as a method of character assassination.

Fidel Castro died on 25 November, 2016 at the age of 90 in Havanna, Cuba.

2. Alexander II of Russia

Alexander II of Russia was the Emperor of Russia, the King of Poland and the Grand Duke of Finland from March 1855 to March 1881. He put forth a number of significant reforms such as freeing the serfs, promoting university education, abolishing corporal punishment and ending some of the privileges of the nobility.

Photo: History collections

On April 4th, 1866, Dimitry Karakozov, a member of the nobility, attempted to kill Alexander II and fired a gun at him as he left his summer garden. The shot missed. The Tsar was saved because a peasant Ossip Komissarov rushed at Dimitry and jolted his arm which threw off his aim. Dimitry was hanged for his crime on September 3rd   

On June 6th, 1867, Alexander II was enjoying the World’s Fair in Paris. A Polish man, Antoni Berezowski, who had participated in the Polish Uprising, fired a gun at the Tsar. The gun malfunctioned as it fired causing the shot to go wide and Antoni’s hand to be badly injured. Antoni was sentenced to a lifetime of hard labor.

After other several attempts , In February of 1880, a member of People’s Will attempted to kill the Tsar by setting off explosives when he entered the dining room of the Winter Palace. However, the Tsar was delayed for dinner and missed the explosion. A bomb assassination did finally kill the Tsar on March 13th, 1881.

3. Charles de Gaulle

Charles de Gaulle was one of the most famous presidents in French history, not only because of his heroism but because of his brazen attitude and inability to be killed. There are 31 recorded attempts on his life and an actual terrorist group formed with the sole purpose of bringing an end to the French leader. Many credit de Gaulle’s survival with his courage under fire and his uncanny ability to remain calm in any situation.

Photo: History collections

The first assassination attempt occurred even before de Gaulle became President and was merely a General. A petty officer who believed General de Gaulle was little more than a stooge for the British aimed a gun at the General, but his attempt failed when another soldier disarmed him before he could fire. One of the more daring assassination attempts was to blow up de Gaulle’s car on September 8th, 1961. De Gaulle was driving with his wife and his chauffeur when a sand pile next to the car exploded. The bomb was filled with Napalm and shot flames across the entire road. Charles de Gaulle ordered his chauffeur to drive through the flames and keep going.

Despite the other attempts that followed, De Gaulle died at the age of 79.

4. Adolf Hitler

There were few men that more people wanted dead than Adolf Hitler. There were dozens of attempts to bring him down many of which the dictator survived by mere luck. Many within Germany that knew the dangers of the Nazi party and therefore assassination attempts started as early as 1921.

Photo: History Collections

In 1935, Henrich Grunow attempted to kill Hitler by firing into the backseat of Hitler’s car as it drove by. Heinrich succeed in shooting the person sitting in the backseat, but at the time Hitler was driving the car and it was his chauffeur in the backseat. 

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