1933 — Guiseppe Zangara fails to kill Franklin Roosevelt

Guiseppe Zangara was a mentally disturbed former bricklayer who had made it his mission in life to kill Presidents and Kings (followed, he claimed, by ‘all capitalists’). In 1933, while President-Elect Franklin Delano Roosevelt was giving an impromptu speech from the back of a convertable car in Bayfront Park, Miami, Zangara fired five shots at him with a .32 calibre pistol purchased at a nearby pawnshop.

His first shot missed, and bystanders tackled him, making his other four shots go wild. One of them hit Anton Cermak, the Mayor of Chicago who was part of Roosevelt’s party. Cermak died of his wounds 19 days later, and Zangara was executed for the murder a fortnight after that. Roosevelt would go on to become the single longest serving President in United States history. On the day of the shooting, Cermak had told him “I’m glad it was me instead of you” – a sentiment echoed by everyone glad of the Allied victory in World War Two.

Referenced in:
How I Saved Roosevelt — Stephen Sondheim