Terrorism. The calculated use of violence or the threat of violence to attain goals, often political,
religious, or ideological in nature, through fear, intimidation or coercion. It involves a criminal act often
symbolic in nature and intended to influence an audience beyond the immediate victim, AR 525-13.
Terrorism. Violence for effect. . . not primarily, and sometimes not at all for the physical effect on the
actual target, but rather for its dramatic impact on an audience. . . .Brian Jenkins, Rand Corporation.
Terrorism. Violent, criminal behavior designed primarily to generate fear in the community, or a
substantial segment of it for political purposes. Disorders and Terrorism, National Advisory Committee
on Criminal Justice standards and Goals, LEAA.
Terrorism stripped to its basic elements is:
o A criminal act.
o The systematic use of violence for effect.
o Aimed at the audience watching.
Terrorists consider military and police forces their opponents. The military and the police are seen as
the protectors of society. Terrorists believe that successful attacks on security force targets expose the
weaknesses of a society. They believe successful acts also help show how effective terror is as an
agent of change.
Understanding the Historical Overview of Terrorism.
This course is not designed to examine the complete history of terrorism.
However, some brief
examples of previous terrorist activity will be given for background purposes.
History is filled with examples of persons, groups, and often national leaders, who have used terror
tactics for one reason or another. Robespierre used terror tactics to destroy the French aristocracy in
the 18th century, when an estimated 40,000 people were executed. The Russian Socialist
Revolutionists attempted to use terror tactics to overthrow the Czar in the beginning of this century, only
to be thwarted by the Bolsheviks who combined the strategy of mass with tactics of terror to succeed
where pure terrorism had failed. The majority of pre-modern terrorism has been motivated by the
desire to be free from colonialism. Contemporary terrorism, however, has taken on new elements that
make it more complex.
Some commentators on terrorism appear to agree that the roots of present terrorism lie in the swell of
student unrest during the 1960's. That is when there was a general global trend towards dissatisfaction
with the establishment. Others claim terrorism is merely the violent reaction of the