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5 Failed Assassinations That Could Have Changed History

Updated on January 30, 2019
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College graduate, freelance writer, cooking aficionado. Political junkie by day and screenwriter by night.

Very little has been given to those failed attempts in history, that if they succeeded, would have transformed history. While the "what if" game is always controversial. It's interesting to speculate on how history may have turned out differently. These are 5 failed assassinations, that if succeeded would have sent shockwaves through history.

5. Benito Mussolini

1926 was not the best year for the Fascist leader of Italy, who survived four attempts on his life over the span of seven months. In every attempt, the assassins ended up deader than their target. If any of these shooters managed to kill their target, the Fascist movement would have lost their leader and possibly their hold on power. It's unclear who would have replaced Mussolini, even possibly a semi-democratic republic.


4. Franklin Roosevelt

FDR helped America weather the Great Depression and World War II. In 1933, the president-elect was riding in an open car in Miami, Florida, when an Italian immigrant shot at FDR but missed him and ended up killing the mayor of Chicago. If this would-be assassin succeeded, VP John Garner would have become president and transforming the thirties. We don't know how a Garner presidency would have worked out but, it's unlikely that Garner could have gotten the New Deal, Social Security or even the Lend-Lease through Congress.

3. Abraham Lincoln

Probably one of the least known attempted assassinations was an attempt on President Lincoln in August 1864. Not many know but an unknown assailant took a shot at Lincoln as he rode around in his carriage through Washington, missing his head and putting a hole in his famous top hat. How the nation would have changed is up for debate, but many believe that the South may have fought a while longer, resulting in an armistice instead of a victory, dramatically reshaping the history of America.

2. Adolf Hitler

Many people are aware of the attempted assassination of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler by German Army Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg. In 1944, Stauffenberg attempted to detonate a bomb at the Wolf's Lair, hoping to kill Hitler and ousting the Nazis. If Stauffenberg and his conspirators succeeded, Germany may have quickly surrendered to the Allies, shortening the war by ten months saving millions of lives. Stauffenberg placed the bomb a little too far away from Hitler when it went off, sending Germany down a dark path.

1. Ronald Reagan

One of the most famous failed assassinations was the attempt on President Ronald Reagan's life in 1981. John Hinkley fired several shots at Reagan as he was getting into the presidential limo, missing Reagan but seriously wounding several people. If Reagan had been killed, it's difficult to see how Bush would have convinced the Soviet Union to tear down the Berlin Wall. Reagan's VP George H.W. actually ended up becoming president for one term.

© 2019 Lawrence

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