The Most Infamous Assassinations in History

Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand

The assassination of Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand is arguably the most impactful assassination in human history. After all, the death of the young Duke inevitably led to two world wars and incalculable terror and devastation.

The deed was carried out on June 28, 1914 in the city of Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Arch Duke was traveling in an open car with his wife when a Bosnian anarchist approached the vehicle and ended both of their lives. As it turned out, the Bosnian anarchist that pulled the trigger could be traced to the Serbian military. What unfolded was a gradual escalation involving allies, threats, and full out war.

Though WWI ended on November 11, 1918, the resulting unrest felt in Germany as a result of their WWI defeat directly led to war and atrocities of WWII.

Mahatma Gandhi

You don’t have to be a head of state to attract the unwanted attention of an assassin’s gun. All you need is an opinion that fights against the grain of the status quo and an audience large enough to intimidate your antagonists. Take Mahatma Gandhi for example. The man was the physical embodiment of peaceful protest and non-violence. And yet, even he couldn’t steer clear of those who bid him ill.


On January 30, 1948, Mahatma Gandhi’s life was stolen in the Birla House compound in New Delhi, India. During his life Gandhi often voiced many controversial opinions. His protests directly led to India’s independence and he often preached acceptance of Muslims. That last bit didn’t sit well with Hindu nationalist Nathuram Godse. Godse would go on to assassinate Gandhi in front of a crowd of his supporters.

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln built his reputation on honesty and it served him well for most of his career. After all, the man is widely regarded as the greatest President to ever hold the highest office of the United States of America. He ended slavery and spearheaded the unification of the country through the American Civil War.

But just like me and you, the history’s greatest heavyweights are only human. On April 14, 1865, Honest Abe was enjoying a Good Friday play from his balcony seat at the Ford Theatre in Washington, D.C. when John Wilkes Booth snuck in to the Presidential booth and shot him in the head. The impact of Lincoln’s death would dramatically affect Reconstruction in a manner that is still being felt to this day.

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