|Previous: Olive Oil War|
|Next: Sollozzo Intrigue|
|Pacification of New York|
|Place: New York, United States|
|Outcome: The National Crime Syndicate|
Various gangs †
Various hoodlums †
Vito Corleone spent the first year meeting with different chiefs of gangs in New York, laying the groundwork, sounding them out, proposing spheres of influence that would be honored by a loosely bound confederated council which would eventually led to the establishment of the Commission. But there were too many factions, too many special interests that conflicted. Agreement was impossible. Like other great rulers and lawgivers in history Don Corleone decided that order and peace were impossible until the number of reigning states had been reduced to a manageable number.
There were five or six families too powerful to eliminate. But the rest, the neighborhood Black Hand terrorists, the free-lance shylocks, the strong-arm bookmakers operating without the proper, that is to say paid, protection of the legal authorities, would have to go. And so he mounted what was in effect a colonial war against these people and threw all the resources of the Corleone organization against them.
The pacification of the New York area took three years and had some unexpected rewards. At first it took the form of bad luck. A group of mad-dog Irish stickup artists the Don had marked for extermination almost carried the day with sheer Emerald Isle élan. By chance, and with suicidal bravery, one of these Irish gunmen pierced the Don's protective cordon and put a shot into his chest. The assassin was immediately riddled with bullets but the damage was done. However this gave Sonny Corleone his chance. With his father out of action, Sonny took command of a troop, his own regime, with the rank of caporegime, and like a young, untrumpeted Napoleon, showed a genius for urban warfare. He also showed a merciless ruthlessness, the lack of which had been Don Corleone's only fault as a conqueror.
From 1935 to 1937 Sonny Corleone made a reputation as the most cunning and relentless executioner the underworld had yet known. Yet for sheer terror even he was eclipsed by the awesome man named Luca Brasi. It was Brasi who went after the rest of the Irish gunmen and single-handedly wiped them out. It was Brasi, operating alone when one of the six powerful families tried to interfere and become the protector of the independents, who assassinated the head of the family as a warning. Shortly after, the Don recovered from his wound and made peace with that particular family. By 1937 peace and harmony reigned in New York City except for minor incidents, minor misunderstandings which were, of course, sometimes fatal.
Don Corleone carried his message through the United States. He conferred with compatriots in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Cleveland, Chicago, Philadelphia, Miami, and Boston. He was the underworld apostle of peace and, by 1939, more successful than any Pope, he had achieved a working agreement amongst the most powerful underworld organizations in the country. Like the Constitution of the United States this agreement respected fully the internal authority of each member in his state or city. The agreement covered only spheres of influence and an agreement to enforce peace in the underworld.