Today In History: November 1

On November 1, 1950, a group of armed men attempted to assassinate the President of the United States, Harry S. Truman, at Blair House in Washington D.C. Truman was staying at Blair House while the White House was undergoing renovations. The assassination attempt was orchestrated by a group of Puerto Rican nationalists who were fighting for independence from the United States.

The group, led by Griselio Torresola and Oscar Collazo, planned to storm Blair House and kill Truman. They believed that by killing the President, they would draw attention to their cause and gain support from other Puerto Ricans. Torresola and Collazo were armed with guns and hand grenades and had been trained in marksmanship and bomb-making.

As Truman was taking a nap in his second-floor bedroom, the assassins approached Blair House and opened fire on the guards stationed outside. The guards returned fire, and a shootout ensued. One guard was killed, and two others were injured. Truman, who was alerted to the situation by the gunfire, took cover in his bedroom. He was unharmed during the attack.

The assassins attempted to enter Blair House but were unable to breach the front door. They then tried to enter through a side door but were met with even more gunfire from the guards. Torresola was killed during the shootout, and Collazo was wounded and captured. He was later tried, convicted, and sentenced to death. However, Truman commuted Collazo’s sentence to life in prison, and he was eventually released in 1979.

The attempted assassination of Truman shocked the nation and raised concerns about the security of the President. It was the first time in over thirty years that the President had been the target of an assassination attempt.

In response to the attack, the Secret Service increased security measures for the President and other high-ranking officials. The incident also led to a crackdown on Puerto Rican nationalists and a renewed debate about Puerto Rican independence.

Despite the attempt on his life, Truman continued to serve as President for another two years. He would go on to make several important decisions during his presidency, including the desegregation of the armed forces, the establishment of NATO, and the recognition of Israel as a state. The attempt on his life serves as a reminder of the dangers faced by those in positions of power and the importance of protecting them from harm. It also reminds us that violence is never the answer.

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