October 15, 1920: Anarchists target League of Nations talks in Italy

On October 15, 1920 two bombs were thrown at a hotel in Milan hosting the UK delegation to the Milan International Conference: no one was hurt

MILAN, ITALY – We humans have tried and tried to create international institutions that transcend borders: terrorists like to stand in the way of that.

Yes, you know I am a big Star Trek fan. Does that make me a nerd? Probably, I don’t care. My dad got me hooked way back in the 1960s with the original series (you remember: Kirk, Spock, Bones….) and I have watched every iteration since.

One of the more fascinating and hopeful signs in this futuristic tale of humanity is the notion of the ‘United Federation of Planets’. There is actually a whole ‘history’ of this fictitious beast on fan pages! The basic premise is that humans (and Vulcans and Tellarites and Andorians) got together to agree to peaceably explore the galaxy. How cool is that?

To boldly go and split infinitives! (Photo: JD Hancock on flickr, CC BY 2.0)

We on lowly earth have not done so well. Sure, we have the United Nations (UN) but that has been bogged down in rivalries and obstruction by the so-called P5 (the permanent five members US, UK, France, Russia and China) which often are at odds, ensuring that little beyond wordy condemnations of whatever are issued.

Before the UN we had the League of Nations, born out of the ashes of WWI but doomed to fail when the government of one of its creators (President Woodrow Wilson’s US) refused to join! Funny that a great idea was destroyed by politicians in Congress, no? Not that THAT ever happens in the US anymore!

It appears that US representatives were not the only ones who were not League fans.

On this day in 1920

Two bombs were thrown at the Hotel Cazor in Milan, where the British delegation to the Milan International Conference to discuss the League was staying. Fortunately no one was hurt. Investigations uncovered a link to Italian anarchists and a member of the Syndicalist Party.

These Italian national syndicalists held a common set of principles: the rejection of bourgeois values, democracy, liberalism, Marxism, internationalism and pacifism and the embrace of heroism, vitalism and violence.


So yet again efforts to promote peace and understanding were undermined by terrorists. What else is new?

Star Trek, where are you????

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By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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