Gangsters are criminals who belong to organized groups that engage in illegal activities such as gambling, prostitution, drug trafficking and extortion. Gangsters have been a part of American history since the late 19th century, when immigrants from Europe formed gangs in urban areas to protect their interests and ethnic identities. However, gangsters became more prominent and powerful during the Prohibition era (1920-1933), when they controlled the illegal liquor trade and fought violent wars with rival gangs and law enforcement.
Some of the most notorious gangsters of this period were Al Capone, who ruled Chicago with an iron fist and was responsible for the infamous St. Valentine's Day Massacre; Lucky Luciano, who organized the first national crime syndicate and established the modern Mafia; and Bonnie and Clyde, who robbed banks and killed several people across the Midwest and South. These gangsters were often glamorized by the media and the public, who saw them as rebellious heroes or antiheroes.
However, gangsters also faced many challenges and enemies, such as federal agents, reformers, rival gangs and informers. Many gangsters were eventually arrested, killed or forced to retire by the end of the 1930s. The repeal of Prohibition in 1933 also reduced their profits and influence. Although gangsters continued to operate in the following decades, they became more secretive and less visible. They also diversified their activities into other areas such as labor racketeering, gambling, loan sharking and drug trafficking.
Today, gangsters still exist in America, but they are not as dominant or influential as they were in the past. They face competition from other criminal groups such as street gangs, cartels and terrorists. They also face more scrutiny and pressure from law enforcement agencies and the public. Gangsters have left a lasting legacy on American culture, as they have inspired many books, movies, television shows and video games.
Gangsters also played a significant role in the history of other countries, especially in Europe and Asia. In Italy, the Sicilian Mafia emerged in the 19th century as a way of protecting the interests of landowners and peasants from the corrupt and oppressive government. The Mafia expanded its activities to the United States, where it competed and cooperated with other criminal groups such as the Irish Mob, the Jewish Mob and the Polish Mob. The Mafia also faced challenges from law enforcement agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and from internal conflicts such as the Castellammarese War and the Mafia Wars.
In Japan, the Yakuza originated from groups of outcasts and social misfits who formed their own subculture in the 17th century. The Yakuza adopted a strict code of conduct based on loyalty, honor and hierarchy. They also developed distinctive tattoos and rituals such as finger-cutting. The Yakuza engaged in various illegal activities such as gambling, extortion, prostitution and drug trafficking. They also influenced politics, business and entertainment in Japan. The Yakuza faced crackdowns from the government and rivalries from other criminal groups such as the Chinese Triads.
In Russia, the Vory v Zakone (Thieves in Law) emerged in the Soviet prison system in the 1930s as a way of surviving the harsh conditions and resisting the authority of the state. The Vory v Zakone adopted a code of conduct based on mutual respect, solidarity and secrecy. They also developed distinctive tattoos and slang. The Vory v Zakone engaged in various illegal activities such as robbery, racketeering, kidnapping and murder. They also exploited the political and economic turmoil that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The Vory v Zakone faced competition from other criminal groups such as the Chechen Mafia and the Georgian Mafia. 061ffe29dd