Couples across the globe are celebrating Saint Valentine’s Day. Some are celebrating with gifts, some are celebrating with trips, and others are celebrating with simple fun. An all around happy holiday for all. But unfortunately it isn’t a happy day for all. The day is remembered by one of the nation’s most brutal mass murders in history. This year’s St. Valentine’s Day marks the 80th anniversary of the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre.
Many of us know the history, most of us have no memory of it, only from what we read in history books or movies. On February 14, 1929 seven people were assassinated by four gunmen in a Chicago garage, likely as part of an ongoing gangland feud between rival organizations in the Prohibition Era. The seven were lined up against the wall, in what they thought was a raid by local police, but what ensued was a flurry of machine gun fire and shotgun blast. First responders on the scene were horrified to find in the aftermath that the floor was covered in bullets, blood, and bodies. Some say that if they didn’t die from the gunshot wounds, then they’d drowned in their own blood. Truly one of the most vicious and tragic days in our nations history.
The seven men where associated with organized crime in Chicago’s Northside. Their rivals were from the Southside, a syndicate known as the Outfit led by the notorious Al Capone. Even though the crime remains unsolved to this day, it is believed that Al Capone’s gang were the perpetrators. Capone’s probable intent was to take out as many members of the rival Irish gang led by Bugs Moran (who was supposed to be there), and in doing so hurt their operations so much that his gang would be able to take over bootlegging and other rackets in Chicago. It is hard to tell why Moran’s men were there at the time, but when two men dressed as police officers showed up, they were to believe it was a raid. That’s when two others showed up with Thompson sub-machine guns.
The affect that the masscre caused were profound. For one, it brought Al Capone and his gang to the forefront of attention by the press as well as law enforcement. Everyone in the country would soon know the name and face of the soon to be public enemy number one. It would also make America aware of organized crime and the Mafia and how violent and dangerous they were. It created widespread fear and terror. Prohibition would soon start shortly afterwards and this event only marked the start of gangland violence across America; it would last for years.
Not for nothin’, but kind of scary when you realized that while this incident was immortalized in film a few different times, it actually happened.