Oklahoma City Bombing

Oklahoma City Bombers

In 1995, Timothy McVeigh worked alongside Terry Nichols and Michael Fortier to plan a truck bombing targeting the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. After parking the truck outside, the blast ended up killing 168 people and injuring almost 700 more.

Michael Fortier (Upper left), Terry Nichols (Upper right), Timothy McVeigh (Bottom)

What motivated the attack?

McVeigh, Nichols, and Fortier met in the military and shared a hatred toward the government. This hatred was furthered by the poor handling of the Ruby Ridge Incident and the Waco Siege. They justified their actions by claiming that the U.S. Government had "begun a war" against the American people, and by saying this loss of lives was necessary to prevent more.

Alfred P. Murrah Building (Left), Waco Siege (Middle), Ruby Ridge (Right)


The bombing led to many new gun control laws and measures against domestic terrorism to be made. These laws were a response not only to the bombing itself, but to the growing militia movement in the United States. The members of the militias formed radical paramilitary groups that targeted federal employees and the government in general. Their extreme anti-government ideologies still worry people today.


Timothy McVeigh was convicted for his crimes on June 2, 1997 and was sentenced to death by lethal injection, which eventually happened on June 11, 2001. Terry Nichols was convicted for conspiracy and manslaughter and was sentenced to life in prison. Michael Fortier was found guilty of failing to warn authorities, lying to the FBI, and handling stolen weapons and was sentenced to twelve years in prison. A memorial that displays 168 empty seats has been constructed for the bombing, and an elm tree that survived the blast has been dubbed The Survivor Tree.

The Survivor Tree (Left), OKC Bombing Memorial (Right)

Benson, Sonia, et al. "Oklahoma City Federal Building Bombing." UXL Encyclopedia of U.S. History, vol. 6, UXL, 2009, pp. 1178-1181. U.S. History in Context, link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/CX3048900460/UHIC?u=catholiccenhs&xid=2a911418. Accessed 2 May 2017

"Oklahoma City Bombing." Violence in America, edited by Ronald Gottesman and Richard Maxwell Brown, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1999. U.S. History in Context, link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/BT2350011289/UHIC?u=catholiccenhs&xid=c4e28ab8. Accessed 2 May 2017.

"The Oklahoma City Bombing Claims 168 Lives: April 19, 1995." Global Events: Milestone Events Throughout History, edited by Jennifer Stock, vol. 6: North America, Gale, 2014. U.S. History in Context, link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/KNCAXZ252888708/UHIC?u=catholiccenhs&xid=572bec13. Accessed 2 May 2017.

Netzley, Patricia D. "Oklahoma City bombing." The Greenhaven Encyclopedia of Terrorism, edited by Moataz A. Fattah, Greenhaven Press, 2007, pp. 235-236. U.S. History in Context, link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/CX3205400285/UHIC?u=catholiccenhs&xid=2595801d. Accessed 2 May 2017.

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