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Widespread alarm—a general apprehension of terrorist attacks—is more likely to occur when threats are diverse, numerous, unpredictably inconsistent, and executed by anonymous or unknown agents. It’s more complex than just that, requiring a correspondingly increased intricacy in efforts to anticipate and respond to it. Research on natural disasters has shown that, even with warnings, households formulate their own assessments of risk and actively decide whether or not to evacuate, based on factors such as perceived level of danger, job circumstances, concern for personal belongings, and social status (Dow et al., 1999; Dow and Cutter, 2000). However, limited comfort can be derived from these observations and insights, as the current terrorist scenario, as it has evolved, does not conform to “average” disaster responses. The impact of an attack may be localised (e.g., explosion) or dispersed (e.g., biological contamination). This has led some social scientists to refer to guerrilla warfare as the “weapon of the weak,” and terrorism as the “weapon of the weakest.”
The employment of terrorism in achieving a political goal has increased in recent years. Some of the most challenging issues in dealing with the nature of modern terrorism and efforts to decrease the scope of international terrorism are acknowledged.
Russia was also the first country where weakened men and women, forced to name their affianced rush, were deemed “terrorists”. Beginning in the 1870s, terrorism became an illustrious, albeit perilous profession. One of the most common responses to disaster is the confusion caused by miscommunication and lack of cooperation among different response agencies (Tierney et al., 2001:47-54). Political assassinations, kidnappings, bombings, lynchings, and hijackings have shocked the world. However, it wasn’t until the events of September 11 that there was an extreme backlash of moral outrage against easily identifiable terrorist groups. Throughout the twentieth century, countless terrorist organizations have gained notoriety through their horrific acts of terrorism. Terrorism is thus the systematic use of violence to incite fear and achieve political goals when direct military action is not an option. A terrorist is consumed by a single, exclusive concern, a singular fixation, a relentless rage—the revolution. He must suppress all feelings of compassion, love, gratitude, even loyalty. For him, only one measure of right and wrong exists: “Everything that aids the revolution is moral; everything that impedes it is criminal.” Without hesitation, the revolutionary uses other people, including fellow revolutionaries, as tools to achieve his goals. By comparison, Machiavelli appears soft-hearted. In 1866, Dmitri Karakozov, a member of a radical organization called “Hell”, attempted to assassinate the czar and was arrested. Although terrorism is not a recent phenomenon in this country, its frequency is increasing—as is the fear of it. The extent to which targets are symbolically significant (e.g., main streets at one extreme, iconic sites like the Statue of Liberty at the other), and whether the attacks are isolated or numerous, all add to the complexity. Understanding and responding to the modern terrorist threat requires the constant evaluation and revision of our ideas about, preparation for, and prevention of future events and situations.
As we currently interpret it, terrorism encompasses numerous variations along the following overlapping lines: specific examples of tattered infrastructure—like buildings, food and water supplies, electrical and other energy systems—, transportation systems, communication systems, large human populations (involving bombings as well as chemical and biological viruses), financial systems, and governing institutions. You cannot recount the history of czarist Russia in its last half-century without the presence of terrorism. Political assassinations, kidnappings, bombings, lynchings, and hijackings have rocked the globe. It reflects the changing nature of terrorism in the 20th century, with special emphasis from the 1960s to the present, spotlighting the intervention methods of the American response strategy. Localized attacks, particularly if they involve the killing of fleeing individuals, are more likely to incite terroristic reactions. Terrorism in the 20th Century 1998 by Jay Robert Nash reviews countless nefarious organizations that have earned notoriety through their violent acts of terrorism. Generalized attacks, like poisoning and viruses, are likely to provoke reactions of widespread panic but not localized terror. Modern terrorism largely emerged after the Second World War with the rise of nationalist movements in the former empires of the European powers. The contemporary trend of scapegoating reactions is aimed primarily at individuals thought to be responsible for allowing the disaster to occur and for failures in response to the crisis. It was often a familial process of perpetuating violence through generations. Although in this region terrorism is an age-old phenomenon, it is one that is growing— and the fear of terrorism is intensifying at an even quicker pace. The progression of 19th and 20th-century Russian terrorism supports this point. The aftermath of a terrorist attack can result in a variety of reactions, such as instances of irrational fear, a rapid expansion of people in an attempt to control and protect loved ones, some disordered behavior and some “descending” behaviors, such as looting and crime in the event of a temporary breakdown of societal norms. This notion of unpredictability, moreover, involves maximizing the shock, uncertainty, novelty, and variety of attack, thus limiting the effectiveness of specific efforts to prevent, prepare for, and respond to different types of terrorist attacks. Regardless of whether the attacks occur once or repeatedly, their impact or “momentum” is potentially devastating. Reports from the Strategic Bombing Survey in 1947 and the civil defense era of the 1950s and 1960s provide a rich source of information about behavior during and after disaster situations. As we now associate terrorism with radical Islam, Europeans then associated it with “Russian nihilism.” By the early 20th century, no occupation, except literature, enjoyed more prestige among educated Russians.
Terrorism is not legally defined in all jurisdictions; the statutes that do exist, however, collectively share some common elements. Ultimately, the spectrum of reactions varies considerably, depending on whether there are human casualties resulting from the attack and whether the impact is immediately identifiable or perceived as a concealed or distant threat. Sergei Nechaev, who authored The Possessed, not only committed murder but, more significantly, penned the dangerous Catechism of a Revolutionary, establishing a model for revolutionaries to emulate. In recent decades, terrorism has become an escalating threat, especially when it involves mass deception. Widespread panic wasn’t the most prevalent immediate response to the events. Similarly, guerrilla warfare often relies on acts of terror aimed at military targets and occasionally civilians (e.g., the Viet Cong in Vietnam and the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia). As should be evident from this list, the combination and variety of responses in a terrorist event is highly variable. Terrorism involves the use or threat of violence to induce fear, not only in the immediate victims but among a large audience. In the aftermath of the catastrophic events of September 11, 2001, all of these components were evident. The archetype of a revolutionary, according to Nechaev, “has no interests, no emotions, no attachments, no possessions, and not even a name.” These pioneer anti-establishment movements recognized the potential of terrorism to generate attention for their cause and exert widespread influence. Intense emotional reactions, including fear, worry, and terror, as well as anger, guilt, grief, and serious psychological disturbances were noticeable in a significant portion of the population. Some studies (Wolfenstein, 1957) showed that the most extreme reactions often occurred among those already suffering from mental illnesses. In such situations, there is an obligatory convergence (“convergence behavior”) of agencies officially designated to respond to crises, such as police, firefighters, and military personnel, as well as volunteers and humanitarian aid providers. However, challenges in communication and coordination among these agencies often arise, leading to disputes and legal conflicts. Conventional military powers constantly engage in psychological warfare against their enemies, their primary means of engagement being the use of force. The scenarios discussed here are only illustrative: the initial reactions usually encompass skepticism, denial, and emotional shock. Moreover, rescue and relief operations differ significantly between localized bombings and attempts to poison or harm large numbers of people. So we commence with the basic variation: terrorism involves intentional catastrophes, as opposed to natural disasters or accidental failures within complex systems of commerce, transportation, and regulatory organizations.
“This instruction notice focuses on some of the historical developments in the study of present international terrorism and the underdeveloped occurrence of recent international terrorism. Bruce Hoffman, the Director of the Centre of Security Studies at Georgetown University, suggested that, “The ability of these groups to mobilize support and function beyond the immediate reach of their current ‘theaters of action’ offers a powerful warning to similarly affected communities elsewhere, who may now see terrorism as an effective means of transforming local conflicts into international issues.” This set the stage for international terrorism in the 1960s.
How it works
In regards to disaster-like responses to attacks, behavioral and communicative art research was mainly conducted during World War II but not exclusively. This led to the formation of a strong social unity, including a collective response from affected communities to crises; the demonstration of altruistic and courageous behavior; an enhanced trust in individuals, families, and government entities; and the spread of optimistic sentiments as a counterbalance to negative emotional responses.
The history of terrorism, traditionally, is traced back to the 1860s, featuring a “valiant disruption” from 1878 to 1881, with terrorism resurging on a larger scale after a hiatus. Anna Geifman, the movement’s prime historian, claimed that terrorism affected almost everyone.
The return to routine and normalcy often involves managing heightened emotional reactions through adaptive responses relating to grief; restoration and strengthening of disrupted social ties; a return to regular routines and the completion of restoration and reconstruction efforts.
The origins of modern-day terrorism are sometimes traced back to the Carbonari of early 19th-century Italy, but it was Russia that gave it unprecedented importance. A wide range of information, both factual and symbolic, is part of the process of understanding and assigning significance to events. Much of this is disseminated through word-of-mouth or writing (if possible), but the mass media have, over time, assumed a crucial role in shaping cognitive and emotional reactions.
The extent to which terrorism relies on fear distinguishes it from both conventional and guerrilla warfare. It is relevant to discuss the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in this context, irrespective of whether the instigator of fear is known, suspected, vague, unidentified, or unknowable.”
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