August 30, 1918. After delivering a speech at a factory in Moscow, Vladimir Illyich Lenin is shot by a young revolutionary named Fanya Kaplan. Lenin survived the attack but it was thought to have contributed to the stroke that eventually killed him in 1924. Over the course of the Russian Revolution, bitter tensions arose between Lenin’s Bolsheviks, who favoured militant action to create a socialist state, and the moderate Mensheviks who were more democratically oriented. His assailant was a member of the Socialist Revolutionaries, who favoured the confiscation of land to be redistributed among the peasants, as well as the formation of a democratically elected Constituent Assembly. The closing down of the Assembly by Lenin resulted in the outlawing of the Socialist Revolutionaries, Mensheviks and the Constitutional Democratic Party. Kaplan was arrested at the scene. After a lengthy interrogation, she said that she had shot Lenin because she considered him “a traitor to the Revolution,” She was executed by a Baltic Fleet sailor and her remains were never buried. The assassination attempt is widely seen as a trigger for the Red Terror, a campaign of mass persecution by the Bolsheviks against their political rivals. (Picture: painting by Piotr Petrovich Belousov)
Also on August 29: Air France founded (1933); Hong Kong freed from Japanese occupation (1945); Thurgood Marshall becomes the first African American Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (1967); Maiden voyage of the Space Shuttle Discovery (1984).
Born on August 29: Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797), Anna Politkovskaya (1958), Hassan Nasrallah (1960), Cameron Diaz (1972).
Back in the Day: Lenin survives Kaplan's assassination attempt