Normally when we talk about events that changed history we talk about wars and revolutions. Moments that played out over years with many different players. But history can be changed forever in a matter of a few minutes and the choices of one lone person with a vendetta. The assassin’s blade or bullet has an immense effect on how our world developed. The below are just a few assassinations that changed the world

5. Mahatma Gandhi – Gandhi was a leading the force behind a free and inclusive India for both Hindus and Muslims. Unfortunately many of his Hindu supporters felt he was being too soft on Islam by not condemning some of its practices and refusing to quote Hindu scripture in mosques but quoting the Koran at their temples. On the 30th of January 1948 a man named Nathuram Godse shot Gandhi as he was walking to a prayer meeting. Without Gandhi’s strict code of nonviolence and promoting peace the divide between the mostly Muslim Pakistan and mostly Hindu India became increasingly violent with religious minorities in both countries being subjugated. Now relations between the two countries are at best a cold war and at worst a nuclear tinder box ready to blow. It would have been interesting to see if Gandhi’s leadership could have led to peace.

4. JFK – Speaking of cold wars it was Kennedy’s handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis that proved diplomatic relations could solve the cold war even when at its most heated. His assassination on September 2nd 1963 in Dallas thrusted a new president Johnson into the mess. While Johnson had many accomplishments he is largely held responsible for extending the deaths during the Vietnam War and Johnson was a lot more of a hardliner when it came to the USSR. While talks did happen under Johnson’s presidency and deals reached things were always icy. It would take another 28 years the dissolving of communism in Russia to end the cold war. It’s possible that had Kennedy lived peace may have come a lot sooner and the USSR might still be around today in some form.

3. Leon Trotsky – Trotsky and Stalin never saw eye to eye. Trotsky was firm believer in the communist utopia where everyone worked together under a free and benevolent government. Stalin believed the only way to advance the communist cause was by rule with an iron fist. When Lenin died in 1923 Stalin and his political allies took power despite Trotsky being Lenin’s preferred replacement. Stalin then proceeded to engage in his purges killing many of the intellectuals that had been supporters of Trotsky. On august 1940 one of Trotsky’s bodyguards probably paid off by Stalin used an ice axe to kill him in his post exile Mexican home. Had Trotsky survived he may have been able to take back control of Stalin after the world war or at least spread a more peaceful and liberal view of communism one that might have prevented the rise of the more tolitrain version that would lead to near constant war and suffering in the years after ww2.

2. Franz Ferdinand – No war shaped the modern world more than ww1. It brought America on the world stage, threw Germany into chaos that would lead to Hitler, and created many of the nation’s we know today. The war changed the way people viewed society and their role in it and the old order of nobility was superseded by new political philosophies. Had Franz Ferdinand archduke of Austria not met his end on the 28th of June 1914 at the hands of a Serbian terrorist? A move that knocked the first domino in the chain our world would look very different. A world without ww1 is a world without the rise of fascism in the thirties, without the cold war and a world where many countries stay under the rule of powerful nobility.

1. Julius Caesar – before Cesar Rome was a republic fighting many enemy’s on its borders after Caesar Rome would become an empire. On the 15 of March the great dictator was slayed on floor of the senate’s forum. What would follow was a civil war that lead to the rise of Augustus Rome’s first emperor. No longer ruled by a politically divided senate and now by ever more ambitious emperors each striving to become like the great Cesare Rome expanded from Britain to the Middle East. This empire would eventually spread Christianity around the world. What would Rome have been if not for the rise of Augustus and the empire? Would Rome have become just another small empire only talked about in college history lectures? Would the Catholic Church even exist? We will never know but we live in a world still effected 2062 years later by its rise and fall a journey that could have played out very differently had Caesar not been killed.

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