“I want no prisoners”-General Jacob Smith, Balangiga Massacre 1901
My Lai, drone strikes in Afghanistan -- the spilling of civilian’s blood. Yet these atrocities find their ancestors in the Philippines as early as 1901. Following an attack on an American regiment by insurgent guerrilla forces protesting the American “pacification” of the Philippines, the commandant of the island of Samar, Jacob H Smith ordered his soldiers to make the island “a howling wilderness.” He wanted all killed who were “capable of bearing arms in actual hostilities against the United States” When asked by a subordinate what limit of age to respect Smith replied “ten years.”
An Elephant's Faithful, One Hundred Percent!
Execution by Elephant 1868
Designed to demonstrate to the people that even the awe-inspiring power of nature was under the iron grip of the emperor, execution by elephant -- or gunga rao, as it was called in India -- became a choice method for capital punishment during the Middle Ages and continued well into the 19th century. In an expedition in India in 1868, Louis Rousselet described the execution of a criminal by elephant, “This punishment is one of the most frightful that can possibly be imagined. The culprit, bound hand and foot, is fastened by a long cord, passed round his waist, to the elephant’s hind leg. The latter is urged into a rapid trot in the streets, and every step gives the cord a violent jerk, which makes the body of the condemned wretch bound on the pavement. The only hope that remains for the unhappy man is to be killed by one of these shocks; if not, after traversing the city, he is released, and, by a refinement of cruelty, a glass of water is given him. Then his head is placed upon a stone, and the elephant executioner crushes it beneath his enormous foot.”
Jesus Enters the Hitman
Orin Porter Rockwell, Nicknamed Old Port and labeled "the Destroying Angel of Mormondom”, displayed a zealous religious fervor that he often expressed with gunfire. He was reputed to have killed many men as a gunfighter, and as a religious enforcer for Brigham Young, and once told a crowd, "I never killed anyone who didn't need killing". On a job to protect the Mormon faith, Rockwell sees a portrait of Jesus and is brought to his knees in a moment of religious clarity
The Degredation of Alfred Dreyfus 1895
In 1894 Alfred Dreyfus, a Jew and a captain in the French army was accused of selling military information to the Germans. Convicted of treason on flimsy evidence, Dreyfus was sentenced to spend the rest of his life on a malarial infested insalubrious island. Forced to undergo a ritual degradation ceremony in the courtyard of the Ecole Militaire, his rank insignia, buttons and braid were cut from his uniform and his sword broken. One person who would be present at the degradation listening while the crowds screamed “Kill the Jew” was Theodore Hertzl. It would be this moment that would catalyze Herzl’s conversion from a fanatic supporter of Jewish assimilation into Gentile society into the leader of a Zionist movement calling for the restoration of Jewish State within the biblical homeland in Israel. Two years later it was discovered that another French soldier, Ferdinand Esterhazy, was the real traitor. But with Dreyfus already in prison, the military managed to keep the new evidence quiet and Dreyfus was not exonerated until 1906 but by then his name had been ruined and much of France had been divided by the scandal surrounding the affair.
"The Epidemic of Bloody Insanities" -Mark Twain
A lynching in Alabama 1911
Mallory and Irvine Attempt the Summit 1924
George Leigh-Mallory and Andrew C. Irvine were less than a thousand feet below the peak of Everest on June 8, 1924. Then swirling, wind-driven snow and mist hid them from the telescope in the base camp below – and they were never seen again. Tantalizing evidence suggests they made it to the top but as Sir Edmund Hillary the official conquerer of Everest would say years later, “If you climb a mountain for the first time and die on the descent, is it really a complete first ascent of the mountain?”
Robert Falcon Scott’s Ill-Fated Pole Expedition 1913
Robert Falcon Scott's Terra Nova Expedition reached the South pole only to find they had been beaten there by Norwegian Roald Amundsen 5 weeks prior. Over the next 3 weeks all the members of the team would die on their return to base camp. Scott’s last journal read, “... We are weaking, writing is difficult, and but for my own sake I do not regret this journey which is shown that Englishmen can endure hardships, help one another, and meet death with as great a fortitude as ever in the past. We took risks, we knew we took them; things have come out against us, and therefore we have no cause for complaint, but now to the will of Providence, determined still to do our best to the last. Had we lived, I should have had a tale to tell of the hardihood, endurance, and courage of my companions which would have stirred the heart of every Englishman. These rough notes and our dead bodies must tell the tale.”
Execution of Sgt. Leonard Siffleet 1943
"Siffleet was on a mission in Papua New Guinea when he and two Ambonese companions were captured by partisan tribesmen and handed over to the Japanese. All three men were interrogated, tortured and later beheaded. A photograph of Siffleet's impending execution became an enduring image of the war..."
President Mckinley Meets an Anarchist
When we think of Presidential assassinations the first that come to mind are those of Lincoln and JFK, yet we have had four presidential assassinations with one in five presidents having had an assignation attempt on them. One of these forgotten assassinations is that of William Mckinley assassinated in 1901 by an anarchist at Pan-American exposition at Buffalo.