101 Years Ago — The Wall Street Bombing (September 16 1920)

“Almost in front of the steps leading up to the Morgan bank was the mutilated body of a man. Other bodies, most of them silent in death, lay nearby. As I gazed horror stricken at the site, one of these forms, half-naked and seared with burns, started to rise. It struggled, then toppled and fell lifeless into the gutter.”

Reporter George Weston

A photo of the aftermath of the 1920s Wall Street bombing in New York City.

September 16 2021 — The Wall Street bombing occurred at 12:01 pm on September 16, 1920, in the Financial District of Manhattan, New York City. The blast killed 30 people immediately, and another 8 died later of wounds sustained in the blast. There were 143 seriously injured, and the total number of injured was in the hundreds. The case was never solved. The attack was possibly an act of revenge for the September 11 1920 indictment of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti.  Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY

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“For the young Bureau, the bombing became one of our earliest terrorism cases— and not the last, unfortunately, to involve the city of New York. As the decades passed, the threat from terrorism would grow and change, with different actors and causes coming and going from the scene.”

FBI History

Many investigators and historians believe the Wall Street bombing was carried out by Galleanists (Italian anarchists), a group responsible for a series of bombings the previous year.

The attack was related to postwar social unrest, labor struggles, and anti-capitalist agitation in the United States.

The Wall Street bomb killed more people than the 1910 bombing of the Los Angeles Times, which was the deadliest act of terrorism on U.S. soil up to that point. [Wikipedia]

The last official inquiry into the Wall Street attack took place in 1944, when the FBI reopened the decades-old cold case and concluded the explosion was likely the work of “Italian anarchists or Italian terrorists.”

Other investigators have since pointed to a Galleanist named Mario Buda as the most likely culprit.

Buda was an associate of the famed anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, and he may have engineered the Wall Street attack as revenge for their September 11, 1920 indictment for murder in a robbery gone wrong.

Buda fled to Italy shortly after the bombing, however, and remained there until his death.

Neither he nor anyone else was ever charged with the September 16 attack. [History]

The Wall Street bombing is often regarded as the the progenitor of the modern car bomb.

Indeed, the century of the car turned into the century of the car bomb. This weapon was often used during various 20th century conflicts such as the establishment of the Jewish state, the war between the Mafia and the Italian state, and the IRA’s bombing campaigns, both in Northern Ireland and in Britain.

The most famous cases on US soil are the 1970 car bomb attack on an army building in Madison, Wisconsin, in protest at the Vietnam war, the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing, and the notorious 1995 Oklahoma bombing.

The 1983 truck bomb attack on the US embassy in Beirut involved 2000 pounds of explosive. A total of 63 people were killed in the bombing: 32 Lebanese employees, 17 Americans, and 14 visitors and passers-by. It was the largest single-day loss in the CIA’s history

Of the Americans killed, eight worked for the Central Intelligence Agency, including the CIA’s top Middle East analyst and Near East director, Robert Ames, Station Chief Kenneth Haas, James Lewis and most of the Beirut staff of the CIA.

“The most promising lead had actually come prior to the explosion. A letter carrier had found four crudely spelled and printed flyers in the area, from a group calling itself the “American Anarchist Fighters” that demanded the release of political prisoners. The letters, discovered later, seemed similar to ones used the previous year in two bombing campaigns fomented by Italian Anarchists. The Bureau worked diligently, investigating up and down the East Coast, to trace the printing of these flyers, without success.”

FBI History

The Bombing of Wall Street

On September 16, 1920, a horse-drawn cart packed with dynamite exploded in front of Morgan Bank, leaving 38 dead and hundreds more seriously injured in the nation’s financial center.

REFERENCES

The Wall Street bombing (September 16 1920) — Wikipedia

The Mysterious Wall Street Bombing, 95 Years Ago — History

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On this Day — The Wall Street bombing (September 16 1920)

On this Day — The Wall Street Bombing (September 16 1920) [2019]

100 Years Ago — The Wall Street Bombing (September 16 1920)

101 Years Ago — The Wall Street Bombing (September 16 1920)

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