Al Capone gained a large powerbase during the height of Prohibition, where he smuggled alcohol into Chicago and the United States. He was notorious for his numerous executions of enemies, such as the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre in 1929, which was one of the reasons why he was not permitted to join the Commission. Vito Corleone saw Capone's public arrogance and rejection of any political shielding as outright stupidity, and believed that Capone's empire could and would be easily shattered.
Capone was an associate of Salvatore Maranzano, who called upon his help during the Olive Oil War of 1933, between Maranzano and Vito Corleone. Capone secretly sent two assassins to eliminate Vito Corleone, but they were both found out early and savagely killed by Luca Brasi, Vito's merciless enforcer. The shock came not so much from the brutality, but how quickly the hit was anticipated and intercepted.
A few days later, Capone received a message from Corleone: "You know now how I deal with enemies. Why does a Neapolitan interfere in a quarrel between two Sicilians? If you wish me to consider you as a friend I owe you a service which I will pay on demand. A man like yourself must know how much more profitable it is to have a friend who, instead of calling on you for help, takes care of his own affairs and stands ever ready to help you in some future time of trouble. If you do not wish my friendship, so be it. But then I must tell you that the climate in this city is damp; unhealthy for Neapolitans, and you are advised never to visit it." With the possibility that every assassin he sent would end up the same way, Capone ceased to interfere in the matter. Shortly after, Capone was convicted for tax evasion (the only crime that law enforcement officials could pin on him), passing his empire on to Paul Ricca and later Louie Russo, who negotiated a seat on the Commission for Chicago.
Capone died of syphilis in 1947.
Behind the scenes
- In The Godfather novel, Al Capone participates in the Olive Oil War by sending two of his hitmen, while in reality he was already in prison at the time.
- In reality, Capone sided with Joe Masseria, Maranzano's rival in New York during the Castellammarese war.
- Robert De Niro played Al Capone in The Untouchables.
- As a teenager, Capone had been a juvenile delinquent, taking little interest in school and being involved in petty crimes, eventually "progressing" to organized crime. As a teen, he was hitting on a woman who was at the bar that Capone worked at. Her brother was angered by Capone's remarks, and after Capone refused to apologize, the man slashed Capone with a pocket knife. This led to his famous nickname of "Scarface".
|Boss of the Chicago Outfit|