The Most Famous Failed Assassinations

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We know that successful assassinations have altered history’s trajectory. One can only wonder how different the world might have been had some failed assassinations, such as the attempt on Adolf Hitler in 1944 during World War II, had been successful. That war was the costliest in American history. Here are the other most expensive wars in U.S. history.

Because failed assassinations might have been as consequential as those that were carried out, 24/7 Tempo has created a list of the most famous failed assassinations. We compiled our list from resources such as History Collection and media reports from sources such as The New York Times and the BBC.

The act of assassination, the killing of a notable person for political, religious, or monetary motivations, goes back hundreds of years. The term assassin is derived from the Arabic phrase hashīshīn or “hashish users,” a fanatical Muslim sect that murdered the leaders of rivals during the Crusades while under the the influence of hashish.

Many historical figures of consequence, from at least the time of Julius Caesar, have been targeted for assassination by opposition groups, terror organizations, disillusioned individuals, or mentally unstable people. It wasn’t until the advent of guns and gunpowder in the Middle Ages that the method of attack became more deadly. Monarchs such as England’s James I and Napoleon were the targets of gunpowder and bomb assassination attempts.

American presidents and presidents-elect have been the targets of assassins since at least the presidency of Andrew Jackson in the early 19th century. As democratically elected heads of state, American presidents try to make themselves available to the public, thus exposing themselves to their enemies. Here is a look at how long American presidents live.

Click here to see the most famous failed assassinations.
Click here to read our detailed findings and methodology.