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Statements consisting only of original research should be removed. This article or section possibly contains previously unpublished synthesis of published material that conveys ideas not attributable to the original sources. Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page. The Apalachin meeting was a historic summit of the American Mafia held at the home of mobster Joseph “Joe the Barber” Barbara, in Apalachin, New York, on November 14, 1957.
Allegedly, the meeting was held to discuss various topics including loansharking, narcotics trafficking, and gambling, along with dividing the illegal operations controlled by the late Albert Anastasia. An estimated 100 Mafiosi from the United States, Italy, and Cuba are thought to have attended this meeting.
Vito Genovese, then head of the renamed Genovese family, initially called the meeting as a way to recognize his new power as capo dei capi. Local and state law enforcement became suspicious when numerous expensive cars bearing license plates from around the country arrived in what was described as “the sleepy hamlet of Apalachin”. After setting up roadblocks, the police raided the meeting, causing many of the participants to flee into the woods and area surrounding the Barbara estate.
More than 60 underworld bosses were detained and indicted following the raid. One of the most direct and significant outcomes of the Apalachin Meeting was that it helped to confirm the existence of a nationwide criminal conspiracy, a fact that some, including Federal Bureau of Investigation Director J. Edgar Hoover, had long refused to acknowledge. Boss Vito Genovese, who had fled from the United States to Italy to avoid a 1937 murder indictment, was living in Naples at the end of World War II when he was arrested and returned to the United States in 1946 to face trial.
After his release, Genovese began competing with Frank “The Prime Minister” Costello for control over the biggest and most powerful underworld crime family, the Luciano family of New York. Once Genovese obtained control of the Luciano family, his intentions were to take control of The Commission and the Mafia, but to accomplish this he had to remove the long-established “Conservative Faction,” or old guard Mafia, which controlled the Commission. The Commission’s “Conservative Faction” of bosses Bonanno, Profaci, Mangano, Gagliano and Magaddino had exerted a major influence over Cosa Nostra’s politics, policies and rules since the Commission’s formation in 1931 and had dominated since the 1936 imprisonment of boss Charles “Lucky” Luciano.
By 1951, the New York underworld and the Commission were experiencing a change in the Mafia that caused the formation of factions and infighting amongst the bosses. By 1957, the new “Liberal Faction” had gained enough power and influence to rival the old Mafia power structure and had attempted to gain control of the Commission and Cosa Nostra. At the head of this new faction were Boss Genovese and allies Gaetano Lucchese and Carlo Gambino.
The events and conflicts perpetrated by Genovese and his allies from 1951 through 1957, such as the assassination of five New York mafia bosses, were designed to bring about changes in the hierarchy of the New York underworld and the Commission, but by 1957 these changes were leading to a war within Cosa Nostra. Genovese, who now controlled the most powerful family in Cosa Nostra, called for a national meeting of bosses.
Genovese elected Buffalo, New York boss and Commission member, Stefano “The Undertaker” Magaddino, who in turn chose northeastern Pennsylvania crime boss Joseph Barbara and his underboss Russell Bufalino to oversee all the arrangements. The Commission’s “Conservative Faction” began its decline and loss of power in La Cosa Nostra with the 1951 alliance of Bosses Frank Costello, Albert Anastasia and Anthony Accardo. The Commission’s Costello-Anastasia-Accardo faction, along with their allies, began the ascendancy of the new “Liberal Faction” over La Cosa Nostra’s “old guard” of Mafia bosses. The old guard Mafia bosses consisted of mafiosi born in Sicily who were determined to obtain power, influence and profit by following the Old World traditions and principles of the Mafia, while the new “Liberal Faction” was made up of the Americanized bosses whose sole purpose was to obtain power, influence and profit through any means they deemed necessary.