Freak occurrences kept on saving Hitler from assassination
Between 1934 and 1944, there were over 20 documented plots to take down the Führer, but none of them succeeded. Two plots, however, got close.
The most famous was “Operation Valkyrie” in 1944, where German Officer Claus von Stauffenberg planted a bomb under a table at Hitler’s secret headquarters. Unfortunately, it was placed near a sturdy table leg that shielded Hitler from the blast. Six were injured, 4 died, and Hitler’s pants got singed.
The second was a few years earlier, in 1939, where a German worker generated a detailed plan and built a bomb that was placed in a hollowed out pillar where Hitler was to give a speech. It went off, but 13 minutes too late. He was long gone by then.
Fidel Castro survived over 600 attempt on his life
While the CIA maintains that they’re not in the business of assassinating world leaders, a senate investigation has indicated otherwise. There are at least 8 confirmed attempts between 1960 and 1965 by the agency; all failed.
They had some creative ideas too. There were attempts to poison his cigars, contaminate his wet suit with deadly fungi, hiding an explosive conch shell for him to find, a poisoned ballpoint pen, and also straight up clandestine assassination attempts. Since the 60’s, it’s been revealed that every major US president up to Clinton, tried to take him out. Instead, he lived until he was 90, and died on his own terms.
The Nazi plot to kill the “Big Three” Allied leaders with a bomb
By 1943, the German war effort was waning and they started to see a change in the tides of war. So they got desperate. They supposedly launched “Operation Long Jump,” which was meant to take out Joseph Stalin, Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt at the Tehran Conference.
The mission was sanctioned by Hitler, but Russian agents were credited with thwarting the German assassins before they could trigger the bomb. But there’s a huge historical shadow over the truth behind the events. On one hand, Russia was the hero in that situation, but on the other, they classified and destroyed all the information they had on the plot, so there’s no way for the Americans and British to verify the truth of the matter.
True or not, this would have meant us living in a Nazi world.
The Gunpowder Plot that almost destroyed British Parliament
On November 5, 1605, King James I and the rest of Parliament were almost blown up by dozens of barrels of gunpowder.
Apparently, a group of Catholics had issue with the King, so they rented a cellar beneath the House of Lords and rolled in over 30 barrels of gunpowder. When the politicians and King were called to order on 11/5, they were gonna blow the King sky high, decimate the government and put a Catholic Queen on the throne.
One man got cold feet and warned one of the Lords, who told the police and they found the barrels and Guy Fawkes. Upon torture in the Tower of London, he gave everyone up, and they were all summarily captured and executed.
A pope plots to kill the influential Medici family
This one is pretty simple; for over 300 years, one family ruled Florence, Italy. They were staunchly independent and didn’t want to succumb to the papacy, so the Pope at the time, Pope Sixtus IV ordered their assassination.
The plot failed, and the family hired to do the job was banished from the city. The pope got away with the attempted murder and put religious sanctions on the city, which only strengthened the hand of the Medicis and further fragmented the city states of Italy for a century.
A secret cabal tried to overthrow FDR
Before FDR was inaugurated in 1933, a group of powerful industrialists (including J.P. Morgan) had the notion that the incumbent president was not the right man to lead the country out of the Great Depression. Millions of dollars and weapons were accumulated, and a plan for a fascist government was planned. Even worse, they were colluding with the German government to overthrow US Democracy to create a similar dictatorship, like they were working on.
They tried to enlist popular Marine Corps General, Smedley Butler, to recruit an army for a coup d’état. He, instead, reported the plot to Congress and an investigation was launched. Oddly enough, no one was indicted or prosecuted for their role, and FDR took over the presidency without incident.
A failed bombing of Napoleon could have prevented decades of war and conquest
Napoleon didn’t start his bloody takeover of Europe until 1803, but it would have all been prevented 3 years earlier, had this plot actually worked. In 1800, Napoleon was just the First Consul of France and was working towards his goals, when a group of dissenters came up with a plot.
Calling it their Machine Infernale, they filled a barrel with explosives and shrapnel an placed it near a motorcade of carriages taking Napoleon to the Opera on Christmas Eve. Someone panicked and lit the fuse too late, and the bomb went off, killing far too many innocents, and not even impacting Napoleon. He eventually got all the power he needed, and ran rampant through Europe.
Vladimir Lenin survived two bullets to the chest
After a speech at the Hammer & Sickle factory in 1918, Russian revolutionary Fanya Kaplan fired 3 pistol shots at the leader. One entered his neck and lodged near his collar bone, another made it into his shoulder. In fear that further attempts would be taken, Lenin avoided the hospitals and was treated at home, withe the bullets remaining in his body until his death.
While Kaplan was sent to a Siberian camp and never revealed if she had accomplices, Lenin launched the Red Terror and went after all perceived enemies of the state, brutally wiping them out. It’s also believed that the bullets that remained in his body began to oxidize, causing a series of de-habilitating stokes and causing his death a few years later.
Queen Elizabeth I had a robust spy network that took out the competition
Queen Elizabeth I was a Protestant ruler, in a Catholic England. So, plenty of different power brokers attempted to have her killed and replaced with Mary, Queen of Scots, but Elizabeth’s spy network kept her on power.
There were several plans, but one, called the Throckmorton Plot, was discovered early and resulted in conspirators getting tortured and excited, Spanish ambassadors being beaten and banished, and put Mary in prison. Years later, another conspiracy resulted in the execution of Mary and the continuation of a Protestant England. Had Mary taken over the throne, who knows what the United Kingdom would be up to today?
George Washington’s army nearly quit the Revolution
In March of 1783, a fatigued Continental Army contemplated a mutiny against Washington, over unpaid wages. Called the Newburgh Conspiracy, it was the result of Congress deciding not to pay the soldiers post retirement, once they’d won the Revolutionary War. The army was planning to attack the senior officers and Washington and in true 1700’s fashion, probably murdered them.
In true Washington fashion, he got wind of the mutiny, ambushed his senior officers and gave an impassioned speech about sacrifice and the greater good, and the men decided against revolt. Washington then was able to get Congress to compromise and get his men some money.