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NCJ Number: 65751 Find in a Library
Title: PSYCHOLOGICAL DIMENSIONS OF POLITICAL TERRORISM IN THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF GERMANY
Journal: INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF LAW AND PSYCHIATRY  Volume:2  Issue:1  Dated:(1979)  Pages:79-85
Author(s): W RASCH
Corporate Author: Pergamon Press, Inc
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 7
Sponsoring Agency: Pergamon Press, Inc
Elmsford, NY 10523
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE DYNAMICS OF TERRORIST BEHAVIOR IN THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF GERMANY ARE ANALYZED.
Abstract: BECAUSE GERMAN TERRORIST ACCUSATIONS THAT THE STATE IS FASCIST AND OPPRESSIVE ARE APPARENTLY UNSUPPORTED BY THE GENERAL CITIZENRY'S PERCEPTION OF THE STATE, TERRORIST VIEWS AND BEHAVIOR ARE LABELED ABERRATIONS OF PARANOID OR OTHERWISE SICK MINDS. PSYCHOLOGICAL EXAMINATIONS OF TERRORISTS IN CUSTODY, HOWEVER, HAVE FAILED TO SHOW PSYCHOTIC OR SEVERE NEUROTIC DISTURBANCES IN ANY BUT A FEW FOLLOWERS. THIS SUGGESTS THAT TERRORIST BEHAVIOR MUST BE EXPLAINED IN SOCIOLOGICAL AND POLITICAL SCIENCE CONCEPTS. IN THE MID-SIXTIES, THE CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATIC UNION AND THE SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY, TRADITIONAL POLITICAL RIVALS, UNITED IN AN EMERGENCY ASSOCIATION AND ESTABLISHED A COALITION GOVERNMENT, LEAVING EXTRA-PARLIAMENTARY OPPOSITION, BASED PRIMARILY AMONG UNIVERSITY STUDENTS, WITHOUT A FORMAL POLITICAL POWER BASE. FRUSTRATED BY AN INABILITY TO INFLUENCE REFORM FORCES, SOME STUDENTS SET A FIRE IN A LARGE FRANKFURT DEPARTMENT STORE (APRIL 2, 1968). THE STATE OVERREACTED WITH OPPRESSIVE TACTICS AGAINST THE STUDENTS, POLARIZING MANY OF THEM INTO A GROUP WHOSE PARTICULAR EXPERIENCES WITH THE STATE WERE IN FACT OPPRESSIVE. ANY GROUP ALIENATED FROM ACCEPTANCE BY THE STATE DEVELOPS A VIEW OF REALITY BASED UPON SUCH EXPERIENCES. PRISON EXPERIENCES FURTHER REINFORCED TERRORIST EXPERIENCES OF GOVERNMENT OPPRESSION, AS THOSE LABELED POLITICAL PRISONERS WERE PLACED IN ISOLATION BORDERING UPON EXTREME SENSORY DEPRIVATION. THE GERMAN EXPERIENCE INDICATES THAT TERRORIST BEHAVIOR AND GROUP IDENTITY ARE ONLY INTENSIFIED WHEN THE STATE STOPS COMMUNICATING WITH ITS CHALLENGERS AND TRIES TO ERADICATE THEM. OPPRESSIVE COUNTERMEASURES ONLY SERVE TO VALIDATE TERRORIST IDEOLOGY. BEFORE PRECIPITATING THE POLARIZATION OF ANTIGOVERNMENT MOVEMENTS, THE STATE SHOULD MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO OPEN LINES OF COMMUNICATION THAT MAY LEAD TO POSITIVE COMPROMISE AND CHANGE THAT WILL PRECLUDE THE ALIENATION THAT FOSTERS TERRORISM. (RCB)
Index Term(s): Baader-Meinhof Gang; Counter-terrorism tactics; Germany; Political offenders; Psychological evaluation; Sociology; Terrorist ideologies; Terrorist profiles
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=65751

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