Eight of the Deadliest Assassin Groups in History
Eight of the Deadliest Assassin Groups in History

Eight of the Deadliest Assassin Groups in History

Natasha sheldon - November 27, 2017

Eight of the Deadliest Assassin Groups in History
The Black Hand Gang. Google Images

The Black Hand Gang

The ‘Union of Death’ or the Black Hand gang formed in 1911 with the single purpose of liberating and unifying Serbia. Army officers, headed by Colonel Dragutin ‘Apis’ Dimitrijevic, formed the gang but by 1914, its ranks had swelled. Membership now numbered around 2500 people, consisting of government officials, intellectuals, and ordinary Serbians.

Members were organized in isolated cells of only 3-5 members to protect the overall structure of the organization, and all swore oaths to kill- and be killed for their cause. These measures were essential as the gang’s campaign of terror was in full swing, and they could not afford to have it brought down. It began by exerting pressure by terrorizing government officials. However, in 1914, the group’s focus was on one, critical target.

Apis had learned that the Archduke Franz Ferdinand was planning to offer concessions to the Serbs. If this had gone ahead, the Black Hand Gang’s much longed for Serbian revolution would not occur. So a plan was hatched. Franz Ferdinand was visiting Sarajevo in June of that year. If the gang assassinated him, a war would break out between Serbia and Austria. Russia, Apis believed would side with the Serbs, and the outcome would be a liberated Serbia.

Three young Bosnian members: Gavrilo Princip, Nedjelko Cabrinovic, and Trifko Grabez, were secretly transported into Sarajevo to carry out the assassination. After learning the route of the archduke’s motorcade, the operatives were distributed along its route so that at least one of them would succeed. The authorities, although aware of the plot were unable to apprehend the men beforehand. However, at first, it seemed the assassination would fail as the assassins initially failed to carry out their mission. Yet, as the archduke began the return leg of his journey through Sarajevo, Princep killed both him and the Archduchess.

The assassins were arrested, and the ringleaders identified, and the Austro-Hungarian government demanded the Serbians hand them over to stand trial in Vienna. When the Serbian government refused, Austria declared war. However, after that, the outcome was not quite as the gang had planned. The intricate network of treaties between the various European states meant that more and more countries were drawn into the conflict, resulting in a war that went far beyond the Balkans: the First World War.


Sources For Further Reading:

ThoughtCo – Hashshashin: The Assassins of Persia

Haaretz – The Historic Mixup That Made People Fear Hashish

India TV News – How The Word Assassin Originated From Hashshashin Of Persia

AEON – Samurai, Spy, Commando: Who Were The Real Ninja?

Inside Japan Tour – Ninja Vs. Samurai

ThoughtCo – The Tale of the 47 Ronin

Quora – Is It Possible That Vishkanyas, The Poisonous Maiden Assassins, Actually Existed?

Ancient Origins – The Venomous Visha Kanyas Versus the Thugs: Which Would You Prefer Were Real?

Brewminate – The Theban Defeat of the Spartans at the Battle of Leuctra

History Net – Werewolves of Aachen

War History Online – Nazi Werewolves? The Secret Nazi Guerrilla Organization

ThoughtCo – The Black Hand: Serbian Terrorists Spark WWI

History of Yesterday – Why Did the Black Hand of Serbia Want to Kill Franz Ferdinand?

The Washington Post – What Everyone Gets Wrong About The Start Of World War I