Interestingly enough, Hell’s Angels didn’t begin as a motorcycle gang. They got their start in airplanes in 1941 prior to America’s involvement in the war. The Flying Tigers, an air combat group of Americans, volunteered to fight for the Chinese. One squadron was named “Hell’s Angels.” The squad’s commander was named Arvid Olsen and he painted his name on all of the squadron’s fighter planes. After the war, Olsen returned to California. He missed the speed and excitement he had experienced during the war so in order to quench his desires, he bought a motorcycle. Many veterans bought motorcycles and they named themselves “Hell’s Angels,” just like the squadron of the Flying Tigers.
This group of veterans’ days of speed and excitement were far from over. In fact, they were to begin what would become the most popular and controversial motorcycle gangs of all time. Their controversial, often-violent behavior gained recognition at a rally in Hollister, California, when a riot erupted and the Hell’s Angles ended up trashing the town. Thus, according to many, the controversial and long-running reputation of Hell’s Angels was born. Their fame grew in 1954, when Stanley Kramer made a film called The Wild One. This film was based on the Hell’s Angels incident in Hollister, California, and it immediately brought worldwide fame and celebrity to Hell’s Angels. No one knew, however, that the Hell’s Angels would become in a variety of illegal and horrifying behavior, including murder, prostitution, and drug trafficking.
Why are they so fascinating? Hell’s Angels became the most dominant biker’s club—and the most feared. Their motto was “three can keep a secret if two are dead,” and this wasn’t something they took lightly . As a huge outlaw club, Hell’s Angels are definitely the largest with 1200 members in the United States and 600 in the rest of the world. “We don’t call them bikers, we call them criminal gangs,” said Claes Cassel of the Stockholm county police in response to the Hell’s Angels being described as a group of “bikers”. “As far as Scandinavia goes, we believe the bikes are only a camouflage” said Cassel. Many agree with him . Hell’s Angels have been known to organize group rides and charity activities, yet it is know that drug trafficking is really their true source of income. They have been in major wars through the East Coast of the United States and in Scandinavia. These wars have killed numerous people. In Sweden, Hell’s Angels members raided a warehouse of the Sweden army and then started a series of attacks—including ones with hand grenades and even rockets.