CLIO 7 (1) - page 57

If one was asked when the American Ma-
fia was at its prime, it would be incredibly hard to
answer. Could it be the 1920s, the Prohibition Era,
when Italian immigrants fleeing Mussolini’s reign
made a life for themselves, ruling the underground
business of alcohol trading and raging war on the
Irish? Or was it the 30s and 40s, the age of Charles
‘Lucky’ Luciano, which has been drowned out in his-
tory by the massive event ofWorldWar II? This was
when American mafia involvement in construction,
casino building, the Havana Conference of 1946 and
the Commission, when the bosses of the most pow-
erful families had equal say and voted on important
matters, were brought into play. It would be sensi-
ble to say, however, that it was the 1950s and 60s
when the American Mafia was at its most power-
ful. They had established a large organized crime
network across the United States by this point,
involving themselves in loan-sharking, prostitu-
tion, and other businesses without being bothered
by the law. By the mid-20th Century, there were
24 known crime families in America and the Mafia
was an unstoppable underworld force. Now, in the
21st Century, they are rather out-of-date.Yes, they
still exist and may rise again in the future, but they
do not have the influence they once relied upon. It
could be said that the first half of the 20th century
was the American Mafia’s rise, and the second half
was its decline. From the 1950s onwards, the under-
world crime syndicate faced many challenges, from
the advancement of technology and the changing
world to events such as the enactment of the RICO
act and the most important event of all, the Apala-
chin affair. These potential turning points have all
played a major role in defeating the largest crime
organization in modern American history.
The most significant event, which initiated
the decline and crackdown on the Mafia, despite it
occurring during what many say was the golden era
of the Mafia, was the Apalachin affair. It was a case
that involved 20 of more than 60 Mafia members
who had attended a summit meeting on Novem-
ber 14, 1957. The meeting was held at the estate
of ‘Joe the Barber’ Barbara in Apalachin, NewYork.
Before any business could go down, the estate was
raided by federal agents and police and dozens of
mobsters were arrested, with 50 escaping into the
woods. The 20 men at the case were charged with
conspiracy to obstruct justice as they all gave false
reasons why they were at Barbera’s house that
night. However, the court could find no evidence of
any conspiracy and despite the judge imposing 3-5
year sentences, they were all rejected by the
The Decline of The American Mafia:
What was the most significant turning point?
1...,47,48,49,50,51,52,53,54,55,56 58,59,60,61,62,63,64
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