Successes and Failures of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre

Let’s take a look at the successes and failures of the St. Valentine’s Day massacre.

First, what is the St. Valentine’s Day massacre?

The event known as the St. Valentine’s Day massacre occurred in North Chicago. Seven well-dressed men were found riddled with bullets inside the S.M.C Cartage Co. garage. They had been lined up against a wall, with their backs to their executioners and shot to death. Six of these seven men were members of a mob family led by “Bugs” Moran. The seventh was Reinhardt H. Schwimmer a mechanic. These men were mobsters and were killed by mobsters of a different family, Al Capone’s family.

The massacre was planned by the Capone mob in retaliation for an unsuccessful attempt by Frank and his brother Peter Gusenberg (from Moran’s family) to murder Jack McGurn (a high up in Capone’s family) earlier in the year; the North Side Gang’s complicity in the murder of Pasqualino Lolordo as well as Antonio Lombardo, and Bugs Moran trying to take over a Capone-run dog track in the Chicago suburbs, and the rivalry they had in the bootlegging industry.

Four of Al Capone’s men set it up and killed six of Moran’s; let’s now take a look at the successes and failures:

A look at the successes:

One of the big success stories is that the idea was to take down Moran, and the massacre definitely crippled him to a point that within a few short years he gave up his position.

They were successful at luring Moran’s men into the warehouse.

Another success as far as the standpoint of what they were trying to do versus what happened is that they were able to fool Moran’s men into thinking they were police officers, and thus had no resistance when they brutally shot them all to death.

A success as far as the civilized world goes is that this event lead to a stronger stand against mobs and underground crime by the federal government.

The four members of Capone’s family were able to shoot these seven men and leave without getting caught, initially. They had two dressed as police officers, and two dressed as civilians, so they tricked the witnesses by having the two dressed as police officers escort the other two out, hands up. This meant they had time to get away before the cops were called because those that heard the gun shots saw police on the scene.

A look at the failures:

The biggest failure is that they did not kill Moran. That was the goal of the St. Valentine’s Day massacre. One of their lookouts mistakenly thought one of Moran’s men was him, and signaled the others to move in. It was not him, so while they were able to kill a large part of his crew, he was not a part of the deaths.

Another big failure is the massacre led to the downfall of Capone himself as it brought a wider awareness, and bigger motivation to control this underground crime. So while trying to eliminate his rival, he eliminated himself as well.

Many of the men involved were later murdered because of their involvement, which would be considered a failure.

The whole event was tragic; many people lost their lives as a result of it, however, in retrospect, this event also led to two major crime families being brought down. So, what is success and what is failure depends on who is asking.



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