Nov 1, 1950: Second Attempted Assassination of Harry S. Truman

This is a compendium of articles and facts on the second attempted assassination of President Harry S. Truman.

Per Wikipedia: The second of two assassination attempts on U.S. President Harry S. Truman occurred on November 1, 1950. It was carried out by militant Puerto Rican pro-independence activists Oscar Collazo and Griselio Torresola while President Truman resided at Blair House during the renovation of the White House. Both men were stopped before gaining entry to the house. Torresola mortally wounded White House Police officer Leslie Coffelt, who killed him in return fire. Secret Service agents wounded Collazo. President Harry S. Truman was upstairs in the house and not harmed.

In the 1940s, the Nationalist Party of Puerto Rico had little political power in the country, where voters had elected the Popular Democratic Party of Puerto Rico (PPD) as the majority in the legislature. Nationalists believed that Puerto Rico suffered under American colonialism and wanted independence. The Popular Democratic Party of Puerto Rico (PPD) was supporting negotiations with the United States to create a “new” political status for the island.[citation needed]

The Puerto Rican Nationalist Party Revolts of the 1950s were an armed protest for independence from United States Government rule over Puerto Rico. The Party repudiated the “Free Associated State” (Estado Libre Asociado) status that had been enacted in 1950, as the Nationalists considered it to be a continuation of colonialism.

The revolts began on October 30, 1950, upon the orders of Pedro Albizu Campos, president of the Nationalist Party. Uprisings occurred in Peñuelas, Mayagüez, Naranjito, Arecibo and Ponce. The most notable uprisings occurred in Utuado, Jayuya, and San Juan. These were suppressed by strong military force, including the use of planes.

In New York City, Nationalists Griselio Torresola and Oscar Collazo developed a plan to assassinate President Harry S. Truman in order to raise awareness of the drive for independence. They wanted to show that the October 30 uprising had not been an “incident between Puerto Ricans” as described by President Truman, but was an act of rebellion and war between two countries. They had learned that Truman was living at the Blair House, while the White House was being renovated.

The two men realized that their attempt was near-suicidal, and that they likely would be killed. They wanted to bring world attention to the government killings of rebels and associates in Puerto Rico, and the drive for independence. Torresola, a skilled gunman, taught Collazo how to load and handle the guns they would use, as his experience had been with other types. They took the train from New York to Washington, DC to reconnoiter the area. On November 1, 1950, they moved into action.

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Leslie William Coffelt (August 15, 1910 – November 1, 1950) was an officer of the White House Police, a branch of the Secret Service, who was killed while successfully defending U.S. President Harry S. Truman against an armed attack on November 1, 1950, at Blair House, where the president was living during renovations at the White House.
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