Militant Organizations in Western Europe in the 1970S and 1980S

Authored by: Hanno Balz

The Routledge History of Terrorism

Print publication date:  April  2015
Online publication date:  March  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415535779
eBook ISBN: 9781315719061
Adobe ISBN: 9781317514879


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When looking at the postwar societies of Western Europe, we can observe a tantalizing contrast between, on the one hand, a tendency towards liberalization and, on the other, a series of domestic crises and the antagonisms and tensions of the Cold War condition. While it appears to be common sense that the student revolt of the late 1960s had a lasting liberalizing effect on most societies, its offshoots, the armed groups of the 1970s and 1980s, are regarded as their perverted epigones – the black sheep of the radical family. The threat of “terrorism” caused a considerable perception of crisis, mainly in West Germany and Italy, where in the late 1970s the threatened state became a “state of emergency,” and the mass media repeatedly created moral panics. 1

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