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On This Day



On This Day… The Wall Street Bombing

Written by: George Chittenden : 16 Sep 2019

It was on this day, 16th Sept, back in 1920 when a bomb exploded on Wall Street in New York’s Financial District, killing 38 people and injuring several hundred others. The explosion occurred at 12:01 pm when a horse-drawn wagon passed by lunchtime crowds and stopped across the street from the headquarters of the J.P. Morgan bank. Inside the wagon the bomb was made up of 45 kg of dynamite and 230 kg of heavy, cast-iron sash weights which as you can imagine caused serious damage as they were launched into the air.

So, who planted the bomb and why? The truth is nobody knows for sure, as no group claimed responsibility for the crime. Initial theories included an assassination attempt on J.P. Morgan, Jr., but this was dismissed as a motive because he was in Europe at the time of the attack. Then they considered that it was possibly an attempt to rob the adjacent Sub-Treasury Building, where $900 million in gold bars was being moved that day. The most likely theory is that the bomb was an attack on American capitalism, carried out by communist sympathisers and more specifically a group of Italian anarchists known as Galleanists, but we’ll never know for sure.

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