Anarchist attack on the wedding party of Alfonso XIII, Madrid 31 May 1906

This remarkable action snapshot captures the moment of the explosion of a grenade thrown from a house on the Calle Major at the carriage of Alfonso XIII of Spain after his wedding in Madrid in 1906. Twenty three people were killed and many injured. The terrorist Matteo Moral committed suicide to avoid arrest. Anarchists maintained that by such attacks on the elite they drew attention to socioeconomic inequity, styling these acts of terrorism `propaganda of the deed'. Around the turn of the 19th into the 20th centuries such attacks were a serious menace to European heads of state. In this period Italian anarchists accounted for a President of France, an Empress of Austria and a King of Italy. In the wake of the Spanish-American War the anarchist Leon Czolgosz assassinated US President McKinley. In recent times `insurrectional anarchists' in Italy have perpetrated a series of bombings in Italy, without as yet occasioning any loss of life.

Photo from Gernsheim `Historic Events 1839-1939' Longmans London 1960