United States deported Luigi Galleani and eight of his adherents to Italy in June 1919, three weeks after the June 2 wave of bombings initiated by the Galleanisti, but not because of any connection to those bombings. Authorities identified him as a resident alien who had advocated the violent overthrow of the government and authored a bomb-making manual.
After landing in Italy, Galleani returned to publishing Cronaca Sovversiva.
After Mussolini came to power
in 1922, the anarchist was charged with sedition and sentenced to 14 months in prison. He was re-arrested in 1926, and sent again to the island of Pantelleria,
then the island of Lipari, and finally to Messina. Later
he was allowed to return to the Italian mainland, where he lived in the village of Caprigliola (Lunigiana) but the police surveillance continued. Galleani
died of a heart attack at age 70 on November 4, 1931.
Galleani attracted numerous radical friends and followers known as "Galleanisti", including Frank Abarno, Gabriella
Segata Antolini, Pietro Angelo, Luigi Bacchetti, Mario Buda also known as "Mike Boda", Carmine Carbone, Andrea Ciofalo, Ferrucio Coacci, Emilio Coda,
Alfredo Conti, Nestor Dondoglio also known as
"Jean Crones", Roberto Elia, Luigi Falzini, Frank Mandese, Riccardo Orciani,Nicola Recchi, Giuseppe Sberna, Andrea Salsedo, Raffaele Schiavina, Carlo Valdinoci,
and, most notably, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti.
Galleani and his group promoted radical anarchism by speeches, newsletters, labor agitation, political protests, secret
meetings, and, above all, direct action. Many used bombs and other violent means to promote their political position, practices that Galleani actively encouraged but in which he apparently did not participate, except for writing the bomb-making manual La
Salute è in voi!.
Historians believe that Galleani's followers began their bombing attacks in 1914. Galleanists were involved in at least two bombings in
New York after police forcibly dispersed a protest at John D. Rockefeller's home in Tarrytown. Over the next several months, bombings took place at several New York City sites, including police stations, churches, and courthouses. On November 14, 1914, a bomb was placed in the Tombs police court, under the chair of Magistrate Campbell, who had sentenced an anarchist for inciting to riot. In January 1915, police uncovered a plot
to blow up St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York, and a copy of La
Salute è in voi! was found at a suspect's house.
Galleanist, chef Nestor Dondoglio, known by the alias Jean Crones, laced soup with arsenic in an attempt to poison some 100
guests, all figures in industry, business, finance, or law, at a banquet in 1916 to honor Archbishop Mundelein. J.B. Murphy,
a doctor among the guests, furnished a hastily prepared emetic that induced vomiting. None of the guests died, though many
suffered greatly. Police discovered many phials of poison when they searched Dondoglio's rooms, but never apprehended him. Dondoglio left a series of taunts for the police, then fled to the East Coast. He survived in abject poverty, hidden in the
homes of other Galleanists, until his death in 1932.
On December 6, 1916, the Galleanist Alfonso Fagotti was arrested for stabbing a policeman during a riot in Boston's North Square. The next day Galleanists exploded a bomb at the Salutation Street station of the Boston harbor police. Fagotti was convicted, imprisoned, and later deported to Italy.
Some historians have also suspected the Galleanists of
perpetrating the Preparedness Day bombing in San Francisco on July 22, 1916. No known Galleanists were among those indicted for the attack, but the time bomb's design and construction – a cast steel pipe packed with explosives, a timing
mechanism, and metal slugs designed to act as shrapnel and increase casualties – was typical of later Galleanist bombing campaigns, the work of Mario Buda in particular. Additionally, in an ominous apparent reference to the earlier
mass poisoning by the Galleanist Nestor Dondoglio, San Francisco police recovered two unsigned letters urging the headwaiter at the St. Francis Hotel to poison soup served to Police Commissioner James Woods, one of the organizers of the
Preparedness Day march.
It is notable that bombings attributable to anarchists largely ceased in the United States in the first part of 1917, when many Galleanists heeded Galleani's advice to avoid draft registration by relocating to Mexico. Most members returned
to the U.S. late that year.
Mario Buda is thought to have constructed the large black powder bomb with an acid "delay" detonator that exploded on November
24, 1917 at a Milwaukee police station. Patrolmen had taken it there after its discovery in a church basement. The
blast killed nine policemen and a female civilian, one of the worst incidents of terrorist violence in the United States up to that time. The bomb appeared to have been directed at Reverend August Giuliana, who had recently led a street revival meeting opposed
by local anarchists.
In late 1917 and early 1918, bombings occurred in New York City, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Boston, and Milwaukee that were later attributed to Galleanists, but no criminal prosecutions followed. In February 1918, U.S. authorities raided
the offices of Cronaca Sovversiva, suppressed publication, and arrested its editors. Although a staff member hid the subscription list, officials gained more than 3,000 names and addresses of subscribers from an issue already prepared for mailing.
On January 17, 1918, a 19-year-old Galleanist, Gabriella Segata Antolini, was arrested for transporting a satchel filled with dynamite, which she had received
from Carlo Valdinoci. When questioned, Antolini gave a false name and refused to cooperate with the police; she was imprisoned for fourteen months before being released. While in prison, Antolini met the noted anarchist Emma Goldman, with whom she became friends.
On December 30, 1918, the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania homes of the President of the Chamber of Commerce, the Acting Superintendent
of Police, William B. Mills, and Judge Robert von Moschzisker were heavily damaged by explosive bombs filled with metal slugs, an act later attributed to the Galleanist group. A woman standing across the street from Superintendent Mills'
home was struck above the eye by a metal slug. At each site leaflets were scattered denouncing "the priests, the exploiters, the judges and police, and the soldiers" whose time was coming to an end.
On February 27, 1919, Galleani spoke to an anarchist gathering in Taunton, Massachusetts. The next night four Galleanists who had attended the rally attempted to place a bomb at the American Woolen Co. mill in nearby Franklin, whose workers were on strike. The bomb exploded prematurely, killing all four of the men.
In response to the violence and social unrest, in October 1918, Congress passed the Immigration Act of 1918, a law that expanded the list of activities that defined someone as an anarchist and justified deportation. In turn, Galleani
and his followers distributed a flyer in February 1919 that said: "Deportation will not stop the storm from reaching these shores. The storm is within and very soon will leap and crash and annihilate you in blood and fire... We will dynamite you!" A series
of bombings of prominent businessmen and officials followed, including a bomb at the home of Judge von Moschzisker, who in 1908 had sentenced four Italian anarchists to long prison terms.
In late April 1919, approximately 36 dynamite package bombs, all with identical packaging and addressed to a cross-section of politicians, justice officials, and businessmen, including John D. Rockefeller, were sent through the mail. An
early lead to the identity of the bombers was revealed when one package bomb was found addressed to a Bureau
of Investigation (BOI) field agent, Rayme Weston Finch. Finch had been tracking several Galleanists, including Carlo Valdinoci, and the agent's successes, such as leading the raid on Cronacca Sovversiva and
his arrest of Raffaele Schiavina and Andrea Ciafolo, were well known to Galleanist militants. The Galleanists intended their bombs to be delivered on May Day, the international day of communist, anarchist, and socialist revolutionary solidarity. Only a few of the packages were delivered. Because the plotters had neglected to add sufficient postage, one of the packages
was discovered, and its distinctive markings enabled the interception of most of them. No one was killed by the mail bombs that were delivered, but a black housekeeper, Ethel Williams, had her hands blown off when she opened a package sent to the home
of Senator Thomas W. Hardwick, a sponsor of the Immigration Act of 1918.
In June 1919, the Galleanists managed to explode eight large bombs nearly simultaneously in several different U.S. cities. Targets included the homes of judges, businessmen, a mayor, an immigration inspector, and a church. The new bombs used up to twenty-five pounds
of dynamite packed with metal slugs to act as shrapnel, all contained in a cast steel pipe. Among the intended victims were
politicians who had endorsed anti-sedition laws and deportation, or judges such as Charles C. Nott, who had sentenced anarchists to long prison terms. The homes of Mayor Harry L. Davis of Cleveland, Judge W.H.S. Thompson, Massachusetts State Representative Leland Powers, and Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer, already a previous target of a Galleanist mail bomb, were attacked. None of the officials was killed, but the explosions killed William Boehner, a 70-year-old night watchman, who had stopped to investigate
the package left on Judge Nott's doorstep, as well as one of the most wanted Galleanists - Carlo Valdinoci, a former editor of Cronaca Sovversiva, and a close associate of Galleani, who blew himself up as he laid a package bomb at the door of Attorney General Palmer's home.
Though not injured, Palmer and his family were shaken by the blast and their house was largely destroyed. The blast hurled several neighbors from their beds. Valdinoci either tripped over his bomb, or it went off prematurely as he was placing
it on Palmer's porch. The police collected his remains over a two-block area. All of the bombs were accompanied by a flyer that read:
War, Class war, and you were the first to wage it under the cover of the powerful institutions you call
order, in the darkness of your laws. There will have to be bloodshed; we will not dodge; there will have to be murder: we will kill, because it is necessary; there will have to be destruction; we will destroy to rid the world of your tyrannical institutions.
Police eventually traced a flyer accompanying the bombs to the print shop where Andrea Salsedo, a typesetter, and Roberto Elia, a compositor, were arrested. Salsedo was questioned intensively (some say tortured) by federal agents. After providing some information, he was said to become increasingly distraught.
He died after jumping or being pushed by his compatriot Elia out of the window in the 14-story room where he was being held. Although Salsedo had admitted he was an anarchist and had printed the flyer, no other arrests for the bombings followed. The police
lacked evidence and other Galleanists refused to talk. Elia was deported; according to his lawyer, he turned down an offer to remain in the United States if he would deny his connection to the Galleanists, asserting that his refusal to talk "is my only title
After Valdinoci's death, Coacci and Recchi appeared to have taken more prominent roles in the group; both were bombmakers. Recchi lost his left hand to a premature explosion, but he kept making bombs.
the public and the press clamoring for action, US Attorney General Palmer
and other government officials began a series of investigations. They used warrantless wiretaps, reviews of subscription records to radical publications, and other measures to investigate thousands of anarchists, communists, and other radicals. With evidence
in hand and after agreement with the Immigration Department, the Justice Department arrested thousands in a series of coordinated police actions known as the "Palmer
Raids" and deported several hundred of them under the Anarchist Exclusion Act.
Following Galleani's deportation and the indictment of Sacco and Vanzetti for
murder, more bombings occurred in the U.S. Followers of Galleani, especially Buda, were suspected in the Wall Street bombing of
1920, which killed 38 people and severely wounded 143. In 1927 more bombings were attributed to Galleanists, especially as several court and prison officials were targeted, including Webster Thayer, the trial judge in the Sacco-Vanzetti case and their executioner, Robert Elliott. In
1932 Thayer was a target again; the front of his house was destroyed by a package bomb, and his wife and housekeeper were injured, but he was unscathed. Thayer lived in the Boston University Club until his death, guarded by a private bodyguard and police.
After being deported to Italy, Coacci and Recchi quickly departed for Argentina.
There Coacci joined forces with the Argentine anarchist Severino Di Giovanni, another advocate of violence. Di Giovanni
was executed for his crimes and Coacci was deported from Argentina. After World War II, he returned and lived there for the rest of his life. Buda returned to Italy shortly after the Wall Street bombing, and lived there until his death in 1963.