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Author Topic: PzLdr History Facts  (Read 9727 times)
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PzLdr
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« Reply #120 on: January 11, 2017, 05:04:56 pm »

It was the classic backroom deal, based on reality and wishful thinking. And when it was accomplished, Germany began her descent in to the long, dark night of the Third Reich.

By 30 JAN 1933, Germany was exhausted. The Great Depression had hit particularly hard [The U.S. DAWES PLAN, which propped up the German economy, collapsed with the Depression, taking the German economy with it]. German politics had become increasingly radicalized as the population saw the center failing to address the economic and societal problems, let alone  hold in place. Election cycles, starting in 1928 had increased to the point where they seemed to be perpetual. And the two greatest beneficiaries of all this were the German Communist Party, and the National Socialist German Workers Party, Nazis for short [They preferred NSDAP]. In 1932, the Communists [and Center] took heart when the Nazi Reichstag membership fell for the first time in years. the Nazis countered by staging a massive campaign in the tiny state of Lippe for the local elections, winning handily, and reestablishing their 'myth of invincibility'.

And then there was the infighting by the political class. Army General Schliecher had connived against Chancellor Franz von Papen and taken the Chancellorship. So now von Papen connived against Schliecher. And both used whatever influence they could muster to get the ear of Reichs President Paul von Hindenburg, the retired hero of Tannenburg; first to get the Chancelllorship, and then to get a degree to rule by emergency powers. But by January, 1933, Hindenburg was ill, and the public tolerance for endless campaigns was eroding rapidly.

Enter Alfred Hugenburg, a publishing magnate, head of his own right wing party, and a 'player'. Hugenburg had his own money, and access to the fortunes of many German industrialists and millionaires. Hugenburg then approached Papen with a scheme. They would make Hitler, the leader of the largest party in the Reichsstag, the offer of the Chancellorship [Hitler had already declined an offer of the number 2 job earlier]. Hitler, would, however only have two seats in the cabinet for his followers [thus assuring Hugenburg, in his own mind that Hitler would be 'controlled']. Papen would have revenge on Schliecher [who was himself dickering with Nazi Gregor Strasser], and the election cycle would end for a time.

Papen signed on, but the problem was Hindenburg, who had no use for Hitler. He was brought around through the use of his son, Major Oskar von Hindenburg, and eventually agreed.

On January 30th, Hitler assumed the Chancellorship. Within 2 months he was granted dictatorial powers. Within three, he had combined the offices of Chancellor and Reichs President [Hindenburg died of natural causes] into the office of 'Fuehrer'. Within four months more, the military swore a personal oath of loyalty to Hitler, the Night of the Long Knives settled accounts with the Nazis' enemies [one of those killed was von Schirach. Another was Gregor Strasser]. And Hugenburg's idiotic pipe dream was gone in smoke.
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PzLdr
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« Reply #121 on: January 14, 2017, 01:52:26 pm »

1929: The Chicago gang wars, endemic since 1923, come to an end in a North Clark Street garage. Five members of the notorious "Northside Mob", along with a hanger on and a mechanic working on their vehicles, are surprised by two uniformed Chicago police officers, who walk in, produce handguns, and order the seven men to face a brick wall with their hands against the wall. Assuming the police intend to frisk them, the seven comply. But they aren't frisked. Instead two other men, in overcoats and plain clothes enter the garage from another entrance, carrying .45ACP Thompson submachine guns. They proceed to fire some 100 or so rounds into the seven, who are then shotgunned while on the floor. The two shooters then 'surrender' their weapons to the uniformed 'officers', and are taken to the police car outside the garage, put in the back seat and driven away.

The principal target of the execution, George 'Bugs' Moran, the head of the Northside gang, was on his way to the  garage, but was running late. He may have been warned off by the 'police car' outside. So he was not present when his gang was murdered [one of the victims survived the shooting, but died later in the hospital, stating that nobody had shot him]. But even though he evaded execution, Moran was finished in Chicago. He left the city shortly thereafter. Years later, Moran died of cancer in Federal prison where he was doing time for counterfeiting.

The principal beneficiary of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre was the leader of the Southside Mob, one Alphonse Capone. On the day in question, however, Capone was in Florida, so he was never charged. Nor was anyone else.

The man who planned the attack, Machine Gun Jack McGurn [real name Vincenzo De Mauro] was killed almost 5 years to the day after the massacre. The question of the shooters and the 'cops' has also never been answered. Two candidates were the Mafia hitmen who worked for Capone, Scalise and Anselmo. But Capone killed them himself, with a fungo stick, when they conspired with a third party to take over the 'Outfit'. One of the machine guns used was found in the possession of one 'Trigger Burke', a bank robber when he was killed. Other possibilities include members of the St. Louis gang, 'Egan's Rats' [known for their use of police uniforms in their activities], and possibly, members of Detroit's Purple Gang, who helped set Moran up for the kill.

In any case, the St. Valentine's Day Massacre delivered Chicago to Capone's 'Outfit'. And they still own it today. But the Massacre was a mixed blessing for Al. The country was outraged. And well to do, influential Chicagoans, prevailed upon the President to order Federal agencies to bring Capone down. And they did, on an income tax rap. Capone got 11 years, but was released early on a medical compassion basis. He was dying of tertiary syphilis. And that's what ended him, at his estate, in Florida.

1939: The German battleship BISMARCK is launched. BISMARCK, lead ship in her class [which comprised BISMARCK and her sister ship, TIRPITZ] was built in clear violation of treaty. She weighed over 53,000 tons loaded, had an armor belt well over a foot thick, could turn 30 knots+, and had a main battery of eight 15" guns. Pursuant to the German Navy's construction schedule, the "'Z' Plan", BISMARCK and TIRPITZ were to be the smallest of some 8 to 10 German battleships.

As it was, BISMARCK was the largest ship the Germans ever sent into the Atlantic [the RHINE EXERCISE], and after a career of eight days, she was sunk by the Royal Navy. But she is probably the most famous battleship of World War II [along with U.S.S. ARIZONA]
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« Reply #122 on: January 17, 2017, 12:08:43 pm »

1. Roman

2. The Mongol Army

3. British Empire

4. Spanish Empire

5. US Military...when allowed to actually fight.

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« Reply #123 on: January 26, 2017, 05:13:05 pm »

He is a son of one of only two Father-son Medal of Honor recipient combinations  in American history [he and his father, GEN Arthur MacArthur, and Theodore Roosevelt and Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.]. He was first in his class at West Point, Commandant of the Academy, Chief o0f Staff of the Army during the Bonus March, Field Marshal of the Phillippene Army, Commander of  Allied Forces the Southwest Pacific, Military governor of Japan, Commander of U.N. forces in Korea, until relieved, and one of the most polarizing military figures in U.S. military history.

Douglas MacArthur's father was awarded the Medal of Honor for action in the Civil War. MacArthur himself was raised in military camps. Soldiering his destiny, MacArthur's attendance at West Point was a foregone conclusion. His mother, 'Pinky's', taking up residence at the nearby Hotel Thayer to run interference for him with the faculty was not. [Pinky would go on to factor heavily in MacArthur's divorce from his first wife, 'Black Jack ' Pershing's ex-mistress, of whom she disapproved; and in lobbying for his receipt of the Medal of Honor].

Graduating first in his class, MacArthur went on to a stellar early career, capped by his performance with the 42d Division as a BG in WW I. Personally fearless, MacArthur led from the front, and his men loved him. Yet when many of those same men, and other veterans, marched on, and camped at Washington, D.C, in pursuit of their 'bonuses for WW I, MacArthur, now Army Chief of Staff, used military force  [against the advice of one of his staff officers, Dwight D, Eisenhower] to drive them away, and burn down their shanties.

MacArthur, upon his retirement, took up an appointment as commander of the Phillipine army, his job being to form, train, coordinate that force with U.S Army troops, and lead them against any aggressor [read Japan]. MacArthur failed spectacularly.

Under the war plan in force at the time, MacArthur was supposed to pre-position supplies, etc. in the Bataan Peninsula, and withdraw there to await relief by the United States. He didn't do that. Instead, he decided, with understrength U,S troops and the Phillipine units he had, to meet the Japanese on the beaches where they were expected to land. Result? When his troops were unable to stop the Japanese,they were forced to withdraw onto the Bataan Peninsula WITHOUT the supplies.

Additionally, MacArthur had been given a sizable force of B-17s and other aircraft. Despite a 24 window of notice of the Pearl Harbor attack, they were caught on the ground, wingtip to wingtip, on 8DEC 1941 by the Japanese and destroyed. Kimmel and Short were relieved, in part for doing the same thing [especially Short]. MacArthur sailed on.

After the Bataan fallback, MacArthur visited Bataan once, and then only going as far as adock on the southern end of the Peninsula. He never visited his troops, earning the sobriquet, "Dugout Doug". He remained on the island of Corregidor in Manila Harbor, in his HQ, until ordered to Australia by FDR to assume Supreme command in the SW Pacific. He left Corregidor in PT boats accompanied by his wife, his son, the son's Nanny, the President of the Phillipines, and a large cache of gold.

MacArthur, who now referred to himself in the third person, now engaged in a two front war; against the Japanese in New Guinea and the southwest pacific, slighting and ignoring his Australian Allies at every turn, and taking all the credit for his subordinates' successes, and fighting the Navy for primacy in men, equipment and strategy in the Pacific.

MacArthur wanted to invade the Phillipines. After all, he'd said "I shall return", and one didn't argue with a historical impulse the size of MacArthur lightly. Leyte was supposed to provide the airfields to cover the invasion of Luzon, except the terrain was really bad for building airfields. But it did allow the Navy to crush what was left of the Imperial Fleet. Luzon led to Manila, and a protracted battle with Japanese Marines and naval infantry operating in direct violation of orders from the Japanese commander in Luzon, Tomayuki Yamash*ta, the 'Tiger of Malaya'. Regardless, after the war, MacArthur had Yamash*ta tried for war crimes in Manila [using third hand hearsay], and hanged him [the principle MacArthur established almost bit the Army in the ass in Viet Nam. See William Calley].

MacArthur presided over the surrender of the Japanese in Tokyo harbor. One of the generals present was Jonathan Wainwright, whom MacArthur had left in command in the Phillipines when MacArthur left. Wainwright was awarded the MOH for his actions. MacArthur did everything in his power to deny Wainwright the Mesdal. He failed.

MacArthur governed Japan as Military Governor [read SHOGUN], for almost five years. And then on June 25th, 1950 the INMUN GUN, the North Korean People's Army [NKPA] crossed the 38th parallel and invaded the Republic of South Korea. Put in charge of U.N. forces, MacArthuir watched the U.N lines hold at Pusan, and then he launched the nmost brilliant move of his career, the Inchon landing. Using U.S. Marines to land to the west of Seoul, and drive to that city, while Walton Walker's 8th Army broke out of the Pusan perimeter, MacArthur shattered the NKPA and drove north. Despite Chinese veiled threats of intervention, MacArthur drove toward the Yalu River and China. He also split off the Xth Corps under his C/S, GEN Almond to make an amphibious landing on the east coast of North Korea at Wongsan [the South Koreans got there first, overland]. With his army operating in two, non-mutually supporting wings, MacArthur was ripe for the plucking, especially when he willfully disregarded the intelligence he was receiving about the vast number of Red Chinese troops in North Korea.

The Chinese eventually threw the U.N. troops back south of Seoul [it would change hads again]. But MacArthur wasn't there to see it. He had been reklieved. Always the most political of generals, he had sdecided to open a front against his commander in chief, President Truman, in the Congress. He lost.

MacArthur spent the rest of his days in the Waldorf-Astoria. A Republican General did replace Truman. But it was IKE, not Dougie [MacArthur commented Ike was the best clerk he'd ever had; Ike reminisced he'd studied drama under MacArthur in the Phillipines].

But that long march to glory, failure and oblivion began on this day in 1880.
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« Reply #124 on: January 28, 2017, 01:22:22 pm »

MacARTHUR WAS AN OVER RATED PEACOCK.

If it wasn't for Marshall, he would have been relieved during WWII and forgotten years earlier.
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« Reply #125 on: January 29, 2017, 08:26:49 pm »

His name was Salvatore Lucania. But when he arrived as a child, at Ellis Island with his family, the immigration officer processing the family was apparently weak in his Italian. By the time he exited Ellis Island, Salvatore was now Savatore [Charles] Luciano. And as Charley Luciano he would be known until a return from a one way ride earned him the sobriquet 'Lucky'. And as Lucky Luciano he has gone down in America's crime annals as America's greatest gangster.

Luciano's family, honest, hardworking, settled on New York's lower eastside. But Charley, looking for an easier way to make money eventually ran his own gang of teenage criminals, shaking down pushcart owners in the neighborhood. Luciano also met, at the time, a young Meyer Lansky and Benjamin 'Bugsy' Siegel. They began working together, which, for a Sicilian, raised eyebrows in the ranks of the Mafia, which regarded Luciano as a prospect. But Charlie went his own way.

Luciano got pinched in the '20s for distributing heroin. His day job was delivering hats. He apparently secreted the drugs in the hat boxes he was carrying. But his maverick tendency that kept him from the Mafia stood him in good stead later. He was a member of the five Points Gang with Al Capone, Johnny Torrio and Frankie Yale. He was also affiliated with the gang of Arnold Rothstein, whose membership included Lansky, Siegel, Lepke Buchalter and Legs Diamond. Rothstein took the young Sicilian under his wing, and taught him many things about how a criminal enterprise worked. He also taught Luciano the credo he lived by, that your ethnic origins were secondary to whether you could make money together.

By the late '20s, Luciano was involved with the Mafia as underboss to Joe 'The Boss' Masseria. By now illegal liquor was the main game in town, and Charlie had learned all about it from Rothstein [killed in a card game]But there was a wrench in the smooth operation of the mob, and that wrench was the Castallamarese War between Masseria and a rival Mafia faction led by Salvatore Maranzano.

By the early '30s, the war was eating the UItalian mob in New York alive. Luciano himself weas taken to Staten Island on a 'ride', and viciously beaten and cut with a knfe [his face was scarred, and his right eye drooped after the attack. Returning seemingly from the dead, Luciano began being called "Lucky", but not to his face.

It was during this period that Luciano decided to end the war. He took his boss to lunch at Coney Island, and after some cards, Lucky went to the bathroom. While there, Albert Anastasia, Frank Costello and Bugsy Siegel walked in and murdered Masseria. Peace was restored. Maranzano was on top and set up the five families, with himself as Capo de tutti Capi ['boss of all bosses'], and Lucky as his underboss.

Maranzano, perhaps remembering the fate of Joe the Boss, also decided to eliminate Luciano. And to do the job, he reached outside the Italian mob. He hired an Irish hoodlum, Vincent 'Mad Dog' Coll for the job [Coll would later go on to start a war with his then employer Arthur Flegenheimer, Jr., a/k/a 'Dutch Schultz', resulting in Coll's demise]. But Luciano struck first.

Maranzano had offices in New York city, and while he seemed unworried about being killed by the mob, he constantly worried about IRS inspectors. Worried to the point of having his body guards unarmed. so, when IRS inspectors DID appear, Maranzano, whose public books were in order, was relieved. He shouldn't have been. He was shot, stabbed and choked by Luciano's emissaries. And then there was one. Or was there?

Luciano called a meeting in Atlantic City. The five families were there. So was Lansky, Siegel, Capone, the Mayfield road Gang, the Purple Gang, Longy Zwillman, and the Italian mobs from upstate New York and New England. By the time that meeting was over, organized crime in America was organized. Territories were set up and recognized. Cooperative ventures were undertaken. A mechanism was established for mediation and grievances. A governing board, the Commission was established. Among its first members were Luciano, Costello, Lansky and Buchalter. An enforcement arm, to be used nationally was organized from two gangs in East New York. they took their orders from Albert Anastasia. They became known as 'Murder Inc.' The only thing missing was a 'Capo de tutti Capi'. Luciano would have none of it. Like Octavian, later Augustus Carsar, Charlie saw the benefits of 'Primus inter Pares' clearly.

Luciano and the Mob ran the country and made millions. They policed themselves [The Commission even ordered Dutch Schultz murdered when he decided to kill Thomas Dewey without permission], and Charlie lived the high life. He lived at the Waldorf Astoria, and his writ ran large in New York. A senior member of the Commission, he was also the de facto boss of the five Families. His power was immense.

And then it all came crashing down. Thomas Dewey, the man whose life Luciano had saved, convicted him, on a case that wouldn't stand today, of prostitution. Luciano got 30 years, and disappeared into the prison system. Or did he?

In 1940, the French liner, NORMANDIE, taken by the Navy, and being converted into a troop ship burned at the New York docks. The Navy, concerned with sabotage and spying, sought ways to protect the docks. They wound up talking to Joseph 'Socks' Lanza, the boss of the docks who worked for Albert Anastasia. Lanza was a patriot. His son was in the service. And despite being under indictment, Lanza promised to do what he could. When the Navy sought greater cooperation, Lanza told them they'd have to talk to Lucky.

The meeting was arranged with Lansky and Luciano's lawyer in attendance. The first result was Luciano's relocation from Danamora to Great Meadows Penitentiary out side Albany. Luciano had continued to run his empire from prison. But the move made it easier. The second result was close cooperation between Naval Intelligence and the mob. When ONI needed to infiltrate a printing company they believed was printing and disseminating Axis propaganda, Union cards miraculously appeared. When ONI was curious about the tides and waters around Sicily, and the topography of the island itself, local fisherman, who had emigrated from Sicily, began filling in the maps. When the U.S Army worried about  governing the island, and guerilla assistance, Luciano sent word to help them. Result? Operation HUSKY was a success. And at the end of the war, Luciano was pardoned [by then Gov. Dewey], and deported to Italy. But that's not the end of the story.

Luciano was back in the Western Hemisphere wthin two years. He and Lansky had scoutedCubafor gambling operations in the '30s. Now, with Batista as a silent partner, business was booming.

Luciano's presence was also needed for other business, though. Bugsy Siegel had been sent to run the West Coast. While out west, he had discovered Las Vegas, and persuaded the mob to finance the FLAMINGO. There were cost overruns. Plus, there was evidence Siegel and his girlfriend, Virginia Hill, were skimming. And Siegel refused to share the west coast wire operation that reported horse races, with the mob in the East. So Bugsy had to go. And despite Meyer pleading his case, it was decided that he should be whacked. But only someone with sufficient gravitas could order the execution. That someone was Charlie Luciano.

Luciano was subsequently forced back to Italy. He then established toe system used to move Turkish poppy to the Marseilles labs to the U.S mob as heroin. He spent much of his time around Americans visiting Italy. He died of a heart attack at the rome airport. He was 68.

Denied any return to America while alive, Luciano was allowed to return in death, to join his family in the crypt he had purchased before the war. Charles 'Lucky' Luciano is interred in Queens, New York.

Lucky Luciano was, and still is, America's greatest criminal genius. He put the 'Organized' in organized crime. The edifice he built still exists, and makes money, today. He made a list of the top 100 Capitalists in Forbes Magazine. He was a non-pareil, a farsighted mobster, unbound byethnic prejudices. Charlie just wanted to make moneywith anyone who wanted to make money with him. And he did.
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« Reply #126 on: January 31, 2017, 11:36:31 am »

This was truly a deal with the devil. Thank you PzLdr !
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« Reply #127 on: February 03, 2017, 12:34:18 pm »

He was a geeky looking kid from Texas. A number one hit was titled from a line in a John Wayne movie [that also gave its name to Liverpool's second most popular band. And he died on a cold, windy night near Clearview, Iowa in 1959. His name was Buddy holly. And as don McLean sang, it was the day the music died.

Buddy Holly was a nonpareil in early rock. He wrote, sang, played and produced. He helped pioneer strings on rock records. He owned one of the first Fender Telecasters [Dion DiMucci owned another]. He and his group, the Crickets played the Apollo before whites were seen there often. And he was dead before he was 30, not because of any of the usual suspected causes of later rockers, but because of a poorly planned winter bus/concert tour, a cold, and a plane crash.

Holly came out of the Texas fusion of blues, 'bop', and Bob Willis. But Buddy was not going to play Texas swing. He wanted to rock, and he did. but quantifying him was tough. He rocked ['Not Fade Away', Rave On']. He did ballads ['True Loves Ways', 'Raining in My Heart']. He was a truly great guitar player. He arranged his music, and he produced it. And yet, a contract dispute, a wife with a child on the way, and sinking bank accounts forced out on a mid winter tour through middle America in an ill-heated bus.

And at Clearview, Holly had had enough of the bus. He decided to charter a plane to fly him to the next tour stop,. so he could do his laundry, get warm and get some sleep. to defray costs, he offered seats on the plane to others on the tour. Dion of Dion and the Belmonts declined, since the cost of the flight was the equivalent of a month's rent back in the Bronx. so did Holly's bassist, Waylon Jennings. But Richie Valens and J.P Richardson said 'Yes'. and the rest is, sadly, history.

After Holly's death, a local lad, was hired as a fill-in. His name was Bobby Vee. But the music industry lost, IMHO, one of its giants. Had Holly lived, only the Lord knows where his talent would have taken him.

And the song title from the John Wayne movie? "That'll Be The Day'. And the movie title and British Invasion Band name? "The Searchers". [
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« Reply #128 on: February 04, 2017, 08:43:37 am »

It was the meeting that set the history of Europe in stone for half a century. It was the ultimate betrayal of the country for which World War II had started in Europe. It was held, fittingly, in the then soviet union, hosted by a mass murderer on a scale with the soon to be vanquished [and dead] Adolf Hitler, and attended by a soon to be out of office Winston Churchill, and a soon to be dead FDR.

Yalta started with FDR working under two pre-conceptions, first that the British were not to be trusted, and second, that he, FDR, could manage Stalin better than his own State Department, and his ally. One possible contributing factor to the latter belief may have been the assistant to the largely irrelevant Sec/State traveling with Roosevelt. That assistant was one Alger Hiss, Ivy Leaguer, whiz kid of the New Deal, and secret agent of the GRU [Soviet Military Intelligence]. Was Hiss an important agent? The then NKVD tried to poach him from the 'cousins' at least twice. After Yalta, he traveled to Moscow on state Department business, and to receive [in secret] a medal for his service to the U.S.S.R.

The principal purpose of Yalta was to settle the issue of post war Europe. For Stalin, it was fairly easy. Where the Red Army went, there he stayed. For FDR and Churchill, especially the latter, it wasn't quite that easy.

Great Britain had gone to war over the German invasion of Poland. The Poles were unsympathetic to the Soviets [to say the least]. Yet the Red Army was IN Poland, and the British weren't. On top of that, the Brits had sided with the Soviets over who was responsible  for the Katyn Forest massacre of some 4,000 Poles. the Soviets, who had actually committed the murders, blamed the Germans. the Germans blamed the Soviets. It got so bad that the Polish government in exile broke relations with the U.S.S.R., which led to their estrangement from the British government, and a serious loss of input on Polish affairs. Coupled with the ill-advised Warsaw rising fo the Polish Home Army, and the resultant German destruction of both the Home Army and Warsaw, the government -in -exile was left with virtually no cards to play. And since the war was still going, and the British needed the Red Army to stay in it, Churchill sacrificed Poland to Stalin [In fairness there was little he could do. British troops were hundreds of miles from Poland, and the British Army was so low on manpower, it was cannibalizing some units to bring others up to strength].

Result? Eastern Europe was surrendered to the Soviets, with the fig leaf of free elections and multi-party participation after the war. And further discussions were held about forming the United Nations, with much of the grunt work assigned to, you guessed it Alger Hiss.

Yalta stands for an ultimate failure, a triumph of pragmatism over principle. A war started over Poland  in the end betrayed Poland - even as Polish troops fought alongside the western allies in Italy and Northwestern Europe.
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« Reply #129 on: February 05, 2017, 11:43:53 am »

He is one of the legendary names associated with the western frontier. Yet, except for one possible sighting in California, and a possible stagecoach holdup in Texas, Jesse James' criminal career was basically perpetrated east of the Mississippi River, from Missouri, to Muscle shoals, Alabama, from Minnesota to Illinois.

Jesse Woodson James was a Missouri boy, born to a traveling minister named Robert James, and his wife Zerelda. The elder James abandoned the family, and went to the California gold fields, where he died. Mrs. James remarried, to Rueben Samuels, and had a son by him, who joined Jesse, and older brother Frank, in the now Samuels family.

Missouri, during Jesse's childhood was not the best place to live. It led to contentious living conditions between slave holder, and non-slaveholding, neighbors. and Zerelda Samuels was firmly, and loudly, in the slaveholding camp [the family owned at least two slaves]. Even prior to the outbreak of the Civil War, murder, arson, robbery and anarchy reigned on the Kansas-Missouri border, with groups from both sides, raiding, rustling, astealing and killing across the line.

With the outbreak of the Civil War, Frank James, along with his cousin Coleman Younger, joined the Confederate militia. When they were defeated, he took the oath of allegiance, then promptly took to the bush, joining the guerilla band  of William Clark Quantrill [again with Younger]. Frank James stayed with Quantrill through the raid/massacre at Lawrence, Kansas. He then joined regular Confederate forces for at least the year 1864, but was with Quantrill when the latter was killed in Kentucky.

Jesse was too young to join up with Frank, but in 1864, he too took to the bush. But he didn't join Quantrill. Jesse James signed on with William, "Bloody Bill" Anderson, a former Quantrill subordinate now in command of his own band. Anderson was a psychopath, savage even by the standards of the Border War. He scalped and mutilated bodies. He gave no quarter. And Jesse James not only admired Anderson [he murdered a bank clerk during a robbery because he thought the man was one of the soldiers who killed Anderson in late 1864], he learned his lessons well.

Jesse James entered the history of crime in September, 1864, at a towen called Centralia, Missouri. Anderson, while raiding the town, a rail depot, stopped an incoming train. Among the passengers were some 25 unarmed Union soldiers going home on leave. Anderson took one, a sergeant as a prisoner for an exchange for one of his men [the man later escaped]. But the other 24 were stripped, and forced to kneel on the railroad tracks, at which point 'Little' Archie Clements and Jesse James shot them in the head. In a battle with a pursuing force of Union militia, Jesse James purportedly killed the unit's commanding officer.

Jesse James survived the war, but almost didn't survive the peace.  On his way in to ostensibly surrender, he and his companions were set upon, and fired on , by a Union cavalry unit. Jesse James took a bullet in the chest he carried to the grave [it was his second war wound. He had also had the fingertip of his left hand trigger finger shot off]. James was taken to safety and nursed to health [possibly in Nebraska] by his cousin and future wife Zerelda Mimms.

Reconstruction found Frank and Jesse back on the family farm, but within a few years, their names were linked with a new phenomenon sweeping the border states, daylight bank robbery. The first occurred at Liberty, Missouri, and the proceeds were exceedingly good. Others followed in quick succession, and with them Jesse's first post war murder [the aforementioned bank clerk]. The James gang or more correctly, the James-Younger gang, was off and running [the gang included the James' cousins, Cole, Bob, and Jim Younger, plus assorted others]. It appears Jesse, though younger than Frank or Cole, was the leader and planner of the gang's raids. They were, literally, America's first successful crime family.

By the early 1870's, the James- Younger gang had expanded their repertoire to both train [in one train robbery, Jesse James stalked a conductor the length of a Pullman car, putting a bullet in him every third step]and stagecoach robberies. And then for reasons known only to himself,James decided to raid a bank in the state of Minnesota. The stage was set for the James-Younger gang's Armageddon.

There are some who theorize that Jesse James rode into Northfield, Minnesota because the bank there was owned by a former Union General and Reconstruction governor named Adelbert Ames. The argument goes that James, an unreconstructed rebel was waging a continuation of the Civil War. But Northfield wasn't the gang's initial target. Mankato was. Andthe gang spent something like a week in Mankato, had 'cased' the bank there, and seemed on the cusp of robbing it when Jesse changed his mind. It was only at that point that they rode into Northfield.

TheNorthfield Raid has been portrayed in history books, novels, and a slew of movies. It started like the usual James-Younger robbery. the gang infiltrated the town, and while several members went into the bank, the rest took station at key points to hold horses, or to, if necessary, control the streets and 'hoorah' the locals.But from the start, problems arose.

The first thing the locals noticed was the quality of the horses the duster cloaked strangers wore. Horses like that were an uncommon occurrence in Northfield. then, in the bank, the clerk claimed there was a timelock on the safe. During the delay, the robbery was spotted by a citizen, who raised an alarm.

Jesse James had assumed the 'squareheads' of Minnesota weren't capable of resistance. He was wrong. Most were Civil War veterans of combat experience way beyond the James' and Younger's. Quickly arming themselves, they began shooting the outlaws in the streets to pieces. In the bank, with less than$30 for their efforts, Frank James shot and killed the clerk [Jesse was never in the bank. He was out in the street]. The robbers not dead in the streets then fled the town.

Unfortunately for them, the only gang member familiar with the area had been killed in the street. They promptly got lost, and traveled in circles for a week, pursued by one of the biggest manhunts in American history. Of those that escaped, Bob Younger and Jim Younger were severely wounded. Cole Younger had been hit by 11 bullets. Frank James had a minor leg wound. Jesse didn't ghave a scratch. Jesse and Frank James abandoned their cousins in Minnesota, rode west to the Dakotas, and then south, eventually returning to Missouri. Cole and his brothers pled guilty to bank robbery, and received klife sentences in Stillwater Prison. Bob duied there. Paroled after 25 years, Jim eventually killed himself. Cole was the onkly Younger to see Missouri again.

Shortly after their return to Missouri,both the James seemed to give up their life of crime. But Jesse couldn't give it up. He put together a new, and decidedly inferior operation. Paranoid, he began murdering his own men. But the times had changed. Missouri wanted investment, and the influx of new business. The reputation the James boys had laid on the state prevented that. So, eventually, an obscenely large reward was posted, with the promise of a pardon, for whoever killed or captured the James brothers.

In April, 1881, Bob and Charlie Ford collected the reward and two pardons after murdering Jesse James in his home in St. Joseph, Missouri. And Jesse James passed from history to myth.

Jesse James is probably one of the five best known Americans in the world. He is lionized as a Robin hood of the old west, and has appeared as a character in scores of novels and movies. And he ran America's first successful crime family for over a decade. But Jesse James was a thief, a psychopath and a cold-blooded killer. He deserves to be remembered that way.
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« Reply #130 on: February 07, 2017, 08:46:19 am »

He was unique in the history of organized crime. A non-immigrant, born in Brooklyn, New York. A non-Sicilian, who never joined the Mafia [his family was Neapolitan]. A gangster with a brother who was a law man. He ruled Chicago when he was 26. He was dead of tertiary syphilis when he was 48. His favored nickname was "Snorky" [which referred to a dandy]. But he comes to us with a more well-known sobriquet, "Scarface", as in Scarface Al Capone.

Al Capone was born , and grew up on Presidents Street in Brooklyn, New York. His parents were hard working, law abiding citizens. One of his brothers became a law man. Two followed him into a life of crime [one was killed]. But Al was the 'star' of the family.

He turned to crime early, and eventually wound up in the Five Points Gang, which was akin to being a Triple A  baseball team for organized crime. In the Five Pointers, he met three men who would figure significantly into his future: Charlie Luciano, Frankie Yale [Uale] and Johnny Torrio. Of the three, Torrio was the most significant. It was Torrio who followed Horace Greeley's advice and went west, albeit only as far as Chicago. His uncle "Big Jim" Colisimo was a major figure in crime on the South side, making his money chiefly from prostitution. Soon after arriving, Torrio sent for Capone.

The two rose quickly in Southside crimedom, and with the advent of Prohibition, they realized that the potential for making a great deal of money was at hand. Unfortunately, Colosimo didn't see it that way. Result? Colosimo was murdered in the atrium of his headquarters, possibly by Capone himself, acting on Torrio's orders.

Chicago was riven with different crime organizations, generally along geographic and ethnic lines. The Italians, including the Mafia, tended to operate on the south side. the Northside mob was generally Irish in blood, and run by Dion "Deanie" O'Bannion, a florist who carried three handguns. It was Torrio's concept that, as Luciano would do a decade later, all the gangs in Chicago would cooperate in sharing the fatted calf. O'Bannion, who purportedly referred to the Southsiders as 'greasy Dagos" [somewhat odd, since one of his lieutenants, and successors, was Vincent 'Schemer' Drucci] would have none of it. So instead, O'Bannion agreed to sell a brewery to Torrio, then tipped off the law. Torrio wound up with a conviction, the loss of the purchase price of the brewery, a minor fine, but the potential for a serious sentence for a second conviction.

And so it seemed to  go, until a third party mobster died of natural causes. By now, such occasions were observed lavishly with dozens of flower cars following the hearse. And O'Bannion's flower shop was the place to buy the arrangements.

So it was of little import to O'Bannion when three strangers walked in to pick up a floral piece for the funeral. O'Bannion even took the proffered hand of the man in the middle. He was Frankie Yale, in from New York to do a favor for his friend, All. And while Frankie firmly held O'Bannion's [gun] hand, his two companions, Maffia hitmen on loan to Capone, John Scalise and Albert Anselmo emptied two handguns into O'Bannion. The Northside mob was in need of a new boss.

The new boss was Polish, and his name was 'Hymie' Weiss. Weiss went immediately on the offensive. Johnny Torrio, who was still trying to make peace, was ambushed in his driveway, in the presence of his wife [a major no no for Italians], and shotgunned by George 'Bugs' Moran, and several other Northsiders. Torrio survived his shooting, but had had enough. He decided to return to New York, and left Capone in charge. Capone was in his early 20s.

And Capone seems to have decided to live by the old Roman adage, "Si vis pacem, para bellum". While he continued to try to work on an accord [he was successful with some of smaller mobs to the west], he went to war with the Northside.

Hymie Weiss was caught in a crossfire on the street in front of a Catholic Church. Shooters included Frank Diamond and the ubiquitous Scalise and Anselmo. Next up, Schemer Drucci.

Drucci sent a convoy of cars, led by George 'Bugs" Moran into south Chicago. They rolled up in front of the restaurant where Capone was having breakfast, disgorged shooters with Tommy guns, and fired up the diner. Capone survived [he also paid for the damages and the medical bills of the injured. Drucci's death followed shortly thereafter.

And so it went. But while all this was going on, Capone was making millions. Contrary to popular belief, he was not a fat oaf. He had a genius for talent spotting, organization, and business [albeit illegal business]. He made money from bootlegging, prostitution, gambling, loansharking, extortion, and a whole galaxy of other criminal enterprises. From his Cicero headquarters, he owned Chicago municipal government. He had connections and alliances with the Purple Gang in Detroit, the Mayfield Road Gang, Egan's Rats, the Chicago Mafia, and Lucky Luciano, the Five Points gang, and other criminal organizations in New York.

Capone also had a family. And from all accounts he was a good husband and a loving father. And when the Depression hit, Capone ran soup kitchens all over Chicago. It seems to have been a genuine impulse.

But Capone had other, less likable impulses, One was his absolute hatred of the Northside mob and their next, and last boss, George 'Bugs" Moran. Moran had shot Torrio. He had been one of those who shot up the restaurant where Capone had been breakfasting. He continued to try to expand his operations into Capone's turf. He continued to kill Capone's followers. Result? On February 14th, 1929, the Northside mob was brought to the brink of extinction in the St. Valentine's Day Massacre. Moran escaped the ambush. Most of his major followers didn't. By the time the smoke from two Tommy guns and a sawed off shot gun cleared, four gangsters, an employee and a 'groupie' were dead. A fifth gang member, one of the Gusenberg brothers was mortally wounded.

And Capone was facing trouble on two other fronts. His erstwhile friend from Five Points days, Frankie Yale, had designs on Chicago. Capone had him killed. Closer to home, one of his henchmen conspired with Scalise and Anselmo to remove Capone and take over  the  'Outfit'. Capone personally beat them to death with a fungo stick.

But Capone's downfall was caused by his bloodiest success, Valentine's Day. Several well to do Chicagoans appeakled to President Hoover to do something. So the Federal government went into action.

Al Capone was not laid low by Elliot Ness, but the IRS. Convicted of income tax evasion, Capone was sentenced to 11 years in prison. He obtained early, medical release when it was determined he was dying of tertiary syphilis. Released into the custody of his wife, Capone lived out his days on his Florida estate [there's a photo of him sitting in a bathrobe fishing in his swimming pool. Al Capone died at the age of 48.

Al Capone was one of the most successful gangsters in history. In fact he is the face of American gangsterdom. Brutal, but brilliant, he established mob rule in Chicago that exists to this day. As he said, You can get more with a smile, a handshake and a gun than you can with a smile and a handshake".
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« Reply #131 on: February 10, 2017, 11:00:14 am »

He was the son of a Rabbi, a small, diminutive child, so his mother called him "Lepkula". His given name was Louis Buchalter, but he has come down to us through the annals of crime as Louis 'Lepke' Buchalter, or simply, 'Lepke'. He was, along with tommy 'three Fingers Brown' Lucchese one of the two greatest labor racketeers in American history. He is also the only major mob figure ever executed by the government for his crimes.

Lepke got his start in the Union wars, working along with the likes of 'Little Augie' Orgen, in the confrontations between Union members and management over strikes and indeed, the recognition of the Unions themselves. And while Orgen restricted his strong arming for the unions only, Lepke and his partner, 'Gurrah [taken from his corruption of the phrase 'Get outta here'] Jake Shapiro, realized there was more money breaking legs for the highest bidder, and began working 'both sides of the street' as it were. And to achieve that end, they murdered Orgen.

Lepke soon caught the attention of Arnold Rothstein, and began working for him, and with him. It was during this apprenticeship that Lepke first came into contact with Charlie Luciano, another Rothstein prot?g?, as well as Meyer Lansky and 'Bugsy' Siegel.

Lepke and Shapiro built a criminal business based on the usuals in the '20s, bootlegging, prostitution, loansharking, and narcotics. But where Lepke split off, and opened virgin territory was labor racketeering.

During his strike breaking days, Lepke realized that controlling specific 'keystone' unions, could allow him to control not only the unions, but whole industries. By taking over the fur cuuters' union, and the rucking unions, Lepke established a stranglehold on vast segments of New York commerce. He was able to extort the businesses involved, as well as skim the union dues. His power was immense. So immense, in fact that Lepke was given a seat on the commission when Lucky Luciano organized it. If Luciano was 'primus inter pares', "Judge Louis" as he was known ran a close second.

And in the hierarchy of the mob, Lepke had a special, and eventually damning job. It was he, who after a commission vote, ordered the hits undertaken by Murder, Inc. through Albert Anastasia, aptly nicknamed "The Lord High Executioner".

For a while things ran swimmingly; so well in fact that Lepke married and adopted the child of his new wife. He was a loving husband and father at the same time he was pulling in millions and ordering the deaths of hundreds. And it was one of those deaths that led to Lepke's downfall.

Joe Rosen owned a candy store. But before that he had been a trucker, forced out of business by Lepke. Lepke had given rosen money for his store, but Rosen was a bitter man. He was also a talkative man. So Rosen had to go. And Lepke's personal button man, "Mendy" Weiss saw him off. All well and good. Not quite. Under then New York law, one couldn't be convicted of a crime unless a non-participant corroborated the evidence. While Weiss certainly didn't talk, Lepke had ordered Rosen's murder in the presence of one Abe 'Kid Twist' Reles, one of the two bosses of Murder, Inc. And Reles rolled.

Lepke went into hiding in Brooklyn, but the heat was on, big time. The mob eventually arranged  for Lepke to surrender, through the  ofices of Walter Winchell to J. Edgar Hoover, personally. Lepke got a stretch in the Federal pen for narcotics [along with Shapiro (on other charges)]. But that wasn't the end of the story, because during his forced hiding, Lepke had ordered dozens of murders on his own account, including Rosen's to immunize and insulate himself from prosecution. And the Brooklyn DA, William O'Dwyer, along with a very capable prosecuting attorney, Burton Turkus, went after both Lepke, and Murder, Inc. And they were largely successful, no more so than when they convicted Lepke of murder.

Louis 'Lepke' Buchalter was electrocuted in the electric chair at Sing Sing Prison in Ossining, New York, along with 'Mendy' Weiss, and Louis Capone, an associate [no relation to Al Capone] in 1942. As a result of the murders he ordered, Murder, Inc. was destroyed, with many of its members executed [Martin "Buggsy Goldstein, 'Happy" Maione, Frank 'The Dasher" Abbadando, Harry "Pittsburch Phil" Strauss, Victor "Chickenhead "Gurino and others]. the man who testified them all onto Death Row, Abe Reles either fell, jumped or was pushed out of a 7th story window at the Half Moon Hotel in Coney Island, where he was the sole occupant of the 7th floor, and was guarded by New York P.D. As a result of Reles' death, Albert Anastasia walked free. In the words of one mob wag, Reles was a canary that could sing, but couldn't fly.

Louis 'Lepke' Buchalter was a criminal genius, the man who almost alone, invented labor racketeering. Yet even before  his apprehension, most of his rackets had been taken over by the Italian mob, and by the time of his death, they were running New York, and soon, the nation, by themselves. 
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« Reply #132 on: February 14, 2017, 04:50:53 pm »

He started out during Prohibition as "The Beer Baron". He had an unerring ability to find new sources of income. Unlike Al Capone, he beat a tax case. He was part of one of the most notorious gang wars in New York history. And he was killed by his fellow gangsters when he went against the Commission. His name was Arthur Flegenheimer, Jr. But he has come down to us in history as Dutch Schultz.

The Dutchman, as he was known, started out in Prohibition, like many other of his ilk, in bootlegging. But Schultz was known for three things. His operation was run from the Bronx. His specialty was brewing beer. And the Dutchman worked alone. No partners, no alliances. And he was highly successful, in part because he had some truly brilliant underlings. His accountant/ bookkeeper, "Abba Dabba "Bermann  could do complex figures in his head [he was the basis for Damon Runyon's 'Nathan Regret' in "Guys and Dolls"]. His lieutenant and hit mean "Lu Lu" Rosenkrantz could kill with the best of them. And Schultz himself was hot tempered, and a stone cold killer, if need be.

Schultz's operations were recognized and sanctioned by the Commission when it was formed. But by then Schultz had moved into a BIG moneymaker, which was based in Harlem, the numbers racket. Based on the numbers of the first three finishers in a specified horse race, or the winners of three different horse races, people would bet on that number, either 'straight', or 'combination'. The bets could be for nickels and dimes, and the return made betting worthwhile. And while the individual bets were small, the aggregate being betted was worth millions. And Schultz took it over. And to increase profits, Berman figured a way to minimize the winning numbers on any given play. Life was good. and then it wasn't.

First up was the embarrassment of a 'gang war' with a disgruntled former underling, one Vincent "Mad Dog" Coll. Coll was a minor hood, but his nickname said it all. He was the go to guy Salvatore Maranzano contracted to kill Lucky Luciano [Luciano got Maranzano first]. Coll then became a Schultz employee, but somewhere along the way, he developed a grievance that flared into open war, in all senses of the word 'open'. Coll, who never really stood a chance of toppling Schultz, topped a crescendo of violence with a drive-by aimed at a Schutlz associate in a crowded street in Manhattan. One of the results was a dead baby in a carriage, hit by Coll's machinegun fire. The outrage was palpable. The publicity was worse. The Commission stepped in. Coll was caught in a phone booth and machinegunned to death.

But while free of Coll, Schultz wasn't out of the woods. Special prosecutor Thomas Dewey was after him. But in a series of trials [the last two were conducted in upstate New York], Schultz beat the rap. Unfortunately, Dewey refused to let go, and the Dutchman's temper heated up. He went before the commission [he wasn't a member], and requested that a contract be taken out on Dewey. A feasibility study was approved, and the Murder, Inc. boys reported they could do the job in a store Dewey stopped in every morning for a newspaper.

But cooler heads prevailed. Both Luciano and Lepke Buchalter assumed the heat from killing a prosecutor like Dewey would be intense, and bad for business. They told Schultz, "No". Schultz then declaimed he'd do it himself, storming out of the meeting. At that point new business was tabled...

Because of the heat from Dewey and Mayor La Guardia, Schultz had re-located his headquarters to the Palace Chop House, in New Jersey. And it was there one evening, that Mendy Weiss and Charlie 'The Bug' Workman showed up. The first victims were Berman, Rosenkrantz and a third associate in the dining room. Workman, living up to his name, entered the men's room, saw a man, and shot him. Turned out it was Schultz.

Schultz lingered in the hospital, with peritonitis. A stenographer sat in the room, taking down his ravings [A memorable line was : "A boy has never wept, nor dashed a thousand kim"]. But Schultz gave them nothing. Converted to Roman Catholicism on his deathbed, Schultz passed soon after.

Luciano and the five families took over the Numbers, adding millions to their own bulging coffers, and expanding the game's market. But Dewey soon sent Luciano upstate for 30 years on a prostitution conviction. And somewhere the Dutchman laughed his ass off.
 
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« Reply #133 on: February 15, 2017, 02:00:52 pm »

When Lucky Luciano set up organized crime in the early '30s, it was not a purely Italian organization. the Purple Gang of Detroit was Jewish. the Mayfield Road Gang and Egan's Rats were ethnically mixed. And aside from Luciano's associates, Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel, there was a strong component, especially in the New York area of Jewish criminal organizations [Lepke and Shapiro, Dutch Schultz, Longy Zwillman, etc.]

So when the Commission began to put together an enforcement team, they looked to combine both Jewish and Italian gangs in its composition. the result was the Union of two gangs from East New York, Happy Maione's Ocean Hill crew, and the Brownsville gang helmed by Abe 'Kid Twist' Reles, and 'Bugsy Goldstein. The two gangs were combined for the purposes of contract killing, and were put on retainer. They were also allowed to keep their own rackets in East New York, without 'kicking up'. In addition, the individual killers on any contract were paid for the job. Contracts in New York were passed down by the Commission through Albert Anastasia, who supervised the gang, and occasionally went along on a job. Contracts from the rest of the U.S were funneled through the commission to the gang, and then carried out nationally.

Murder, Inc., as it later became known, had a crew of "talent" unrivalled in gangland. There was Charlie "The Bug" Workman, the man who killed Dutch Schultz. There was Harry "Pittsburgh Phil" Strauss, who volunteered for contracts and favored ice picks. There was Frank "The Dasher" Abbondando, Vito "Chicken Head" Guarino, as well as Reles , Maione and a raft of others.

In an era before forensics, Murder, Inc. was a fearsome proposition. Out of New York City, they came, killed, and left, often on the same day as the murder. With no connection to the victim, they were virtually untraceable. IN New York City, they dumped bodies down sewers, sunk them in bodies of weater in the Catskills, burned the bodies in vacant lots. By the mid to late 1930s, Murder, Inc. had carried out hundreds, if not a few thousand, contract killings. They had even scouted Thomas E. Dewey for the feasibility of his murder [They decided it was possible, but the contract was never let.]

As the '30s progressed, Murder, Inc. began to evolve into a hit squad primarily for Louis "Lepke" Buchalter. Luciano and the Five families had their own killers [One of the ways you 'made your "button"', and get on the books was to kill someone], although Murder, Inc. was still contracted for Commission hits. But an increasing percentage of their work was silencing people who presented a threat to Lepke, real or imagined.

Lepke was in hiding, from both local and Federal authorities, and he began ordering murders in job lots. Bodies began turning up in greater numbers, and many had connections to Lepke. the authorities began to take notice. And a result was increased heat on the Brownsville boys

And Abe Reles, sitting in jail, and somewhat concerned about when, not if, Lepke got around to him, decided to sing for his supper. And Reles sang an aria. His first transcripted statement took over three days to record. Reles brought three things to the table. First he had been in Murder, Inc. from its founding. Second, he had an almost photographic memory for some 44 murders he had either participated in, witnessed or heard ordered. And third, he could give the DA Lepke on a murder rap, the execution of Joe Rosen. Reles, who had not participated in that homicide had been present when Lepke ordered his own button man, Mendy Weiss, to kill Rosen. But Reles, in return for immunity gave the District Attorney, William O'Dwyer so much more. By the time he finished testifying, Happy Maione, Bugsy Goldstein, Pittsburgh Phil, Frank the Dasher, Vito Guarino, and most of the rest of Murder, Inc. were awaiting an appointment with the electric chair, as was Lepke, Mendy Weiss, and Louis Capone [no relation]. Charlie the Bug was sentenced to 30 years in New Jersey.

And then O'Dwyer prepared his star witness for the "Lord High Executioner of Murder, Inc.", Albert "The Mad Hatter" Anastasia, the man who had ordered most of the contracts Murder, Inc. had carried out. But there was a problem. That problem's name was Charles "Lucky" Luciano. Anastasia was a loyal friend and follower of Luciano. He had been made underboss of a family on Luciano's orders. Hwe had helped kill Joe "The Boss" Masseria for Luciano. And Lucky was not about to let Reles bury his friend.

Abe Reles was in protective custody on the 7th floor of the Half Moon Hotel in Coney Island. He was the only occupant on the floor, and possibly that whole wing of the hotel, except for his police guards. Reles either fell, jumped or was pushed out the window [bed sheets which would have gotten him to the 5th floor were tied to the radiator]. Luciano later mentioned that Reles had cost him 50 grand to fix. But with Reles' death, Anastasia was in the clear.

Murder, Inc. died not with a bang, but a thud.
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You can get more with a smile, a handshake and a gun than you can with a smile and a handshake - Al Capone
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« Reply #134 on: February 17, 2017, 12:32:30 pm »

The one thing I didn't know about Capone until a few years ago. He didn't die in prison. These stories are a fun read Pzldr!
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