Being a world leader comes with a lot of pressure and responsibility. Sometimes, a decision that you make can lead to people even trying to take your life. While there have been countless successful assassinations of world leaders in the past, there have been other leaders that have lived to see another day. Take a look to see some of these assassination plots that have failed, the stories behind them, and those who were lucky enough to walk away from something that was meant to kill them, or at least kind of.
You’ll never guess what Pope John Paul II did to his attacker.
Franklin D. Roosevelt Was Luckier Than The People Around Him
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the 32nd President of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945. However, only a month before he took office, he survived an assassination attempt by a disgruntled bricklayer named Giuseppe Zangara. On February 13, 1933, while giving an impromptu speech in Miami, Florida, Zangara fired off five shots at Roosevelt.
He missed the President-Elect who was his target, although he injured five bystanders and mortally wounded Anton Cermak, the Mayor of Chicago. For his assassination attempt and murder of Mayor Cermak, Zangara was executed on March 20, 1933, and was enraged that his death wasn’t being filmed.
Benito Mussolini Was No Stranger To Assassination Attempts
Benito Mussolini was an Italian politician and leader of the National Fascist Party who ruled Italy as Prime Minister from 1922 to 1943. Being the fascist ruler of Italy for over 20 years, his political career was littered with assassination attempts.
He survived the first attack on his life on April 7, 1926, and then again on September 1926, when Italian anarchist Gino Lucetti threw a bomb in his car in which Mussolini came out unscathed. Another attempt happened when 15-year-old Anteo Zamboni shot at him on October 31, 1926 and failed to make contact. Zamboni was then killed on the spot.
Malala Yousafzai Was Only 15 When The Taliban Tried To Take Her Life
Malala Yousafzai has been an activist for female education in Pakistan since a young age. She survived an assassination attempt when she was just 15 years old! At that age, she wrote a BBC blog under a pen name, describing school life under the Taliban. Slowly but surely, her name became more and more important until it eventually came to the attention of the Taliban.
They then set up an assassination in which she was shot in the head while riding the bus home from taking an exam. Yet, she miraculously survived! After recovering, she’s now one of the world’s most prominent campaigners for human rights.
Pope John Paul II Forgave His Attacker
Although some of the previous assassination attempts were rather unplanned and spontaneous, the attack in 1981 against Pope John Paul II was very close to being successful. The would-be-assassin,Mehmet Ali Agca had previously murdered one Turkish left-wing journalist before he made an attempt on the Pope’s life.
Then, in 1981, he rained bullets on the leader of the Catholic Church, causing near-fatal injuries. The Pope recovered and continued his position for another 25 years before his death. Pope John Paul II even forgave his assassin after meeting him in prison while he was serving time for his crime.
See why Fidel Castro thinks he should have a gold medal in assassination survival.
Ronald Reagan Kept His Spirits High
Just 69 days into his presidency, President Ronald Reagan was shot by John Hinckley Jr. Reagan was wounded in his right arm, suffered a punctured lung, and had severe internal bleeding. However, it is reported that he had high spirits even while in the operating room.
Apparently, John Hinckley Jr. had been obsessed with actress Jodi Foster, and made an assassination attempt on Reagan in hopes of getting her attention. He called it “the greatest love offering in the history of the world!” although some might disagree.
Charles de Gaulle Is Lucky For His Car And Driver
On August 22, 1962, French President Charles De Gaulle and his wife were attacked by extremists after he allowed Algerian Independence. They were assaulted by people wielding machine guns while driving through Paris. By chance, the couple managed to survive by ducking just before they were showered with bullets.
The suspension of the Citroen DS car they were riding in is also attributed to their survival, which allowed their driver to maneuver out of a 70 MPH skid and drive the couple to safety.
Fidel Castro Walked Away From Hundreds Of Attempts On His Life
At one point, Fidel Castro claimed that “If surviving assassination attempts were an Olympic event, I would win the gold medal,” and he wasn’t lying. During the 1960s, the Cuban leader was a primary target for the CIA, meaning that his life was constantly threatened.
The attempts on his life were too many to count including things such as exploding cigars, booby-trapped seashells, poisoned pens, and more. To his belief and those that were trying to kill him, Castro survived every one. He managed to escape death hundreds of times until his demise in 2016 although the reasons were not disclosed.
See how Andrew Jackson fought off his attacker.
Vladimir Lenin’s Demise May Have Come About From A Failed Attempt Years Earlier
Vladimir Lenin was a Russian communist, politician, and political theorist, and was the head of Soviet Russia from 1917 to 1924. During his life, he survived two assassination attempts. However, the second is believed to have possibly led to his demise. On the first attempt, he car was ambushed in Petrograd in January 1918.
Miraculously, he survived, although that didn’t mean that he was safe from danger. In August 1918, he was shot three times by Fanya Yefimovna Kaplan who considered him a “traitor to the revolution.” Although he survived the initial attack, it is believed that his wounds contributed to his strokes later in life, which eventually killed him.
The Allied Forces Needed Adolf Hitler Dead
Unsurprisingly, there were numerous attempts on Adolf Hitler’s life while he was in power. He was the antagonist of World War II after all. Some of these attempts even occurred around 1930, before Hitler even rose as the leader of the Nazi party and took over Germany.
Some of the high-profile assassination attempts included Operation Valkyrie, the July 20th Plot, and the Oster Conspiracy. However, none of these attempts succeeded no matter how detailed and thought out some of them might have been. If any of them had succeeded, the world might be a very different place.
Andrew Jackson Happily Beat His Attacker With His Cane
During Andrew Jackson’s first term as president, he was walking out of the Capitol building’s east portico when a crazed man aimed and fired two percussion pistols at him. Luckily, for Old Hickory, the pistols misfired, giving him an opportunity to beat his attacker to a pulp with the cane he was walking with.
After being arrested by the authorities, the man was labeled as insane and spent the rest of his life in an asylum. Had Jackson been killed, the political direction of the United States at the time would have been completely changed.
See how chocolate almost led to Winston Churchill’s demise.
Gabrielle Giffords Survived What Should Have Been A Fatal Wound
On January 8, 2011, US Representative Gabrielle Giffords was hosting what she called “Congress on Your Corner,” a constituent meeting in a supermarket parking lot in Casas Adobes, Arizona. In the parking lot, Jared Lee Loughner pulled a gun and shot Giffords point blank in the head before firing on other people, killing six and injuring numerous others.
Congresswoman Giffords had been the target of the shooting, and although she had initially been reported as killed, she survived the gunshot wound to her head and made her first public appearance months later.
Wolfgang Schäuble Was Back To Work In Months
Wolfgang Schäuble is a German lawyer and politician of the Christian Democratic Union for over four decades, He is considered one of the longest-serving politicians in Germany and has been the President of the Bundestag since 2017. After an election campaign on October 12, 1990, Schäuble was shot three times by a man named Dieter Kaufmann.
Schäuble was severely injured in the spinal cord and face, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down since the attack. Amazingly, he returned to work after a few months even while he was still living in a rehabilitation center.
Queen Victoria Probably Rode In Closed Carriages From Then On
Over the course of her life, there were eight attempts on Queen Victoria’s life. However, one of the most notable was the first assassination attempt against her. Just four months after the royal wedding in 1840, Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert were taking an open carriage ride through Hyde Park.
It was then that an 18-year-old barkeep named Edward Oxford fired two guns at the couple in hopes of killing Queen Victoria. However, both of his shots missed, and he was taken down by the surrounding crowd. He was then sent to an insane asylum for 24 years until he was finally shipped off to Australia.
Winston Churchill Almost Died By Chocolate
During World War II, the Nazis hatched a plot to assassinate Winston Churchill with exploding chocolate. Adolf Hitler had his bomb makers create explosive devices that could be covered in dark chocolate, and packaged to make it look and feel like an ordinary chocolate bar.
The Germans planned to used secret agents in Britain to place the chocolate along with the other luxury bars that would be eaten by the War Cabinet. However, the plan failed after the British were tipped off by intelligence chief Lord Victor Rothschild that Churchill’s life could be endangered.
Nicholas II of Russia was falling in love with Japan until something unbelievable happened.
Kaiser Wilhelm II Survived Someone Shooting Directly At Him
Wilhelm II was the last German Emperor (Kaiser) and King of Prussia. He was the eldest grandchild of Queen Victoria, ascending the throne in 1888. On March 8, 1901, Kaiser Wilhelm II was injured after an anarchist opened fired on him with a gun while he was visiting the city of Bremen in northwest Germany.
If he had been killed, it is possible that his successor would have maintained a cooler head after the assassination of Franz Ferdinand 13, possibly avoiding all of World War II.
Theodore Roosevelt Said, “It Takes More Than That”
After already serving two terms as President of the United States, he ran for a third term in 1912. While campaigning in Milwaukee on October 24, 1912, he was shot while giving a speech by John Schrank. The bullet passed through the papers that his speech was written on, through his glasses case, and into his chest.
Luckily, it didn’t puncture into his lung, and he went on to deliver his speech stating that “I don’t know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot, but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose.”
Tsar Nicholas II Owes His Life To Prince George
Before Nicholas was the Tsar of Russia, he visited Japan with Prince George in 1891 for the opening of the Trans-Siberian Railroad. After visiting Kagoshima, Nagasaki, Kobe, and Kyoto, he began to fall in love with Japanese culture. However, on May 11, 1981, Nicholas was attacked by Tsuda Sanzo, one of the native escorts accompanying him.
Sanzo struck him with a saber, the first swing connecting with his forehead. The next swing was then blocked by Prince George’s cane. Nicholas was in Kyoto at the time and demanded to go back to Russia. While Russia made amends with the Japanese government, some people believe that it was an underlying reason for the Russo-Japanese War.
Pervez Musharraf Survived Two Attacks In 11 Days
In 2003, the President of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf, survived two assassination attempts in just 11 days. The first occurred when a bomb went off on a route that Musharraf was known to take frequently. Luckily, nobody was hurt or killed. However, 11 days later, two suicide bombers dove their carts into his motorcade, simultaneously setting off numerous car bombs.
Although Musharraf was unhurt, the assassination attempt killed 14 other people and injured at lead 46. This was the deadliest attempt on his life since he sided with the United States and reversed Pakistan’s support for the Taliban.
William H. Seward Was Supposed To Go Down With Lincoln
Originally, William H. Seward was intended to be assassinated on the same day as Abraham Lincoln. It was a man named Lewis Powell’s job to sneak into Seward’s house and kill him, as Seward had been bed-ridden from a carriage accident days before. Everything was going smoothly until Powell got to Seward’s home. He was confronted by Sewer’s eldest son which resulted in a brawl and caused Powell’s pistol to misfire.
Eventually, Powell made it into Seward’s room where he stabbed him numerous times in the neck and face before escaping and injuring another one of his sons and house workers. Miraculously, everyone survived the attack except for Powell, who was hanged days later.
The Attempt On Gamal Abdel Nasser’s Life Helped Him Secure The Presidency
Gamal Abdel Nasser was the second president of Egypt whose life was threatened while giving a public radio address on October 26, 1954. Eight shots were fired at him by a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, the opposing group to Nasser’s political agenda. Although all of the shots missed Nasser, it became a crucial moment on his journey to become president of the country.
After surviving the attempt on his life, he went about arresting thousands, firing others, and even executing some in extreme cases. This led to him becoming the leader of Egypt.