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NCJ Number: 161143 Find in a Library
Title: International Terrorism in Historical Perspective (From Comparative Criminal Justice: Traditional and Nontraditional Systems of Law and Control, P 83-96, 1996, Charles B Fields and Richter H Moore, Jr, eds. -- See NCJ-161138)
Author(s): J I Barghothi
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 14
Sponsoring Agency: Waveland Press, Inc.
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Type: Historical Overview
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Based on a literature review, this paper traces the development of some of the early terrorist movements, as well as more modern incidents of terrorist activity.
Abstract: The discussion focuses on which era of terrorism, historical or modern, has been the most effective in achieving the professed aims of the various terrorist groups. Also addressed are the effect of modern technology on terrorism, such as the media and improved transportation capabilities, and the importance of these resources to terrorists. The author also distinguishes between revolutionary terrorism and state terror. For the purposes of this paper, "terrorism" is defined as "any act or threat of violence conducted against a civilian population, whether undertaken by a state or by a group against a state, with the purpose of creating fear and anxiety in the hearts of the civilian population." The discussion considers "historical" terrorism (that which occurred before the 20th century) and "modern" terrorism (that which occurred during the 20th century). The oldest historical terrorist group examined is the Sicarii, a religious sect that consisted of men of lower order in the Zealot struggle in Palestine (A.D. 66-73). By means of provocation, the Sicarii were successful in generating a mass insurrection, an aim of most modern terrorists but one that has not been achieved. Consideration of modern terrorist movements begins with the Narodnaya Volya, which operated in Russia between January 1878 and 1881. This group was among the first of the early modern terrorist groups to develop a specific policy of terrorism conducted against the state. Although "historical" terrorist groups did not have the advantages of modern technology, they were effective in achieving their aims, probably even more so than modern terrorist groups. In terms of length of time the movement maintained itself, numbers of casualites or deaths inflicted, and success in achieving a desired aim, the "historical" terrorist groups apparently have the better record. Clearly, modern technology, including communications and transportation, do play a role in modern terrorist operations, but just how great a role is arguable. Terrorism has been present in societies almost as far back as documented history and will likely exist in future societies. 13-item bibliography
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Revolutionary or terrorist groups; State sponsored terrorism; Terrorism causes; Terrorist tactics
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