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date: 04 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter deals with the incidence of terrorism in Europe since the 1950s. It is argued that Europe is the homegrown purest form of terrorism, where the actor and the action senses of the term fully overlap. Most terrorism in Europe has been featured by underground, urban groups that, because of the constraints imposed by secrecy, committed the kind of asymmetric attacks that are usually associated with terrorism. The two dominant types of terrorism (ideological and nationalist) are examined, including data on lethality, length of the campaigns, and target selection. In the second part of the chapter, it is shown that the determinants of these two types of terrorism are different. Whereas ideological terrorism is related to the left–right cleavage and its historical evolution, nationalist terrorism depends on the accommodating or repressive stance of central elites to peripheral ones.

Keywords: Europe, terrorism, underground groups, left-wing ideology, nationalism, target selection

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