January 15, 2006
Photo credit: New York World-Telegram and Sun archives, Library of Congress.
Long before 9/11 became the date most identified with terrorism, New York's Wall Street District suffered through a massive bombing on September 16, 1920 that shocked the world. Italian anarchists orchestrated the bombing five days after Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were indicted on charges of first-degree murder.
by Lona Manning
Out of a clear blue sky, a deadly terrorist attack in New York City brought grief and outrage. Initially, the country rallied in a wave of patriotism and vowed revenge on the perpetrators. But critics said that the government was using the terrorist threat as an excuse to curtail civil liberties. They warned that aggressive action against the terrorists would only provoke more violence and was harming America's reputation in Europe. And some charged that the president was just a puppet and the decisions were really being made by a handful of government officials who lied and twisted intelligence reports to carry out their repressive agenda. Supporters of the government policy countered that these critics were aiding and abetting the enemy while posing as champions of free speech. Strong measures were needed to crush a dangerous enemy, not naïve and craven appeasement.
The year was 1920.