Historical and Modern Terrorism

The new means of terrorism are perpetrated by the use of religion, which is contrasting to the predecessors’ means of ideology and nationalism. The revolutionist and separatist terrorism has also decreased. These falls have seen an increase in the religious terrorist groups that perpetrate the international terror. The motivation of terrorism by religion has risen tremendously reaching to 26 out of the 56 organizations in 1995 compared to just 2 in the 80s. The objectives of these terrorist groups have become extravagant and less selective to their targets, which means that they do not discriminate. The decrease of terror acts has led to the increase in more deadly groups. These groups indiscriminately terrorize civilians for the sake of sending the message to the government. Their attacks are fatal as the number of casualties is usually high than the historical terrorism where the number of casualties was minimal.

The deadliest attacks of terrorism was the bombing of the Indian jet that killed 329 people on bound, the bombing of the U.S embassy in Nairobi which killed 213 people and the Oklahoma Murrah federal building bombing which saw 168 people dead. The religious terrorism has taken the modern form of terrorism which reflect broader necessity to the development and recognition of the minority groups and women sidelined before. The religious extremists usually reject the recognition of any government that does not conform to their religious beliefs as illegitimate, as they view modernization as corruption of the traditional culture.

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There is the emergence of culturally specific interest groups that are radical to many legitimate causes. They use some form of violence to covey their message to the public. These groups believe that the usage of violence can be morally justifiable in the quest to achieve their objectives. These special groups include the radical environmentalists and terrorism to uphold the views of antiabortion. The evolution of terrorism started many centuries ago and has changed drastically in the implementation of terrorist tactics but the definition of this group remains the same. This is due to fact that all acts of terrorism employ violence, which is considered to be necessary to fulfill their goals. It is therefore imperative to establish the law that brings to justice any person found to commit acts of terrorism. The punishment for offenders has to be severe as it will deter other criminals to continue with acts of terrorism.

The historical terrorism is fairly the same to the modern terrorism in the way that both use terror to change social and political structures. There has been development of tactics over the years that are employed by these terrorism groups. However, the modern terrorism attacks civilians rather than their primary target. The development of terrorism is far reaching as there are the components of contemporary conflicts. Many governments have resorted to terror as a measure to run their political agenda smoothly, and this has enhanced the modern terrorism to expand beyond the goal of nationalism, revolutionist to international terrorism. Most conflicts are supplanted by terrorism which has been proved to be a far reaching tool for diplomacy and the international power for states.

The contemporary terrorism has risen with the notion of nationalism as its powerful force is the subject to colonial empires. This has resulted to nationalists as the focal point of actions of terrorism for them to gain identity. The concept of national identity thus tends to focus on race and ethnicity, which seem to be supported by the international political developments seem. These struggles are aimed at the realization of nationalistic ambitions, which separate these groups from the rest of the society, and terror is used as the mechanism for the struggle hoped to be sympathetic.

The use of total war has the justification to use terror that in essence violates the law of war. This has the tendency to intensify the opposing ideologies which leads to usage of excesses by the two forces. The development of new weapons and strategies emerges, which is targeted to the enemy’s civilians that is aimed at the destruction of their economic capacities, exposing civilians to hazards of combatants. Major powers of these partisans and resistance that use terror have been perceived as acceptable to their legitimacy with civilians being the primary targets of the legitimate, even as the law forbids it. The super power governments have changed the perception of conflicts in the world where relative confrontations take place in significant arenas.

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The powerful governments use their tool to compete with one another even at the risk of nuclear war escalation, separating war ideologies between the west and the east. Leaders have resorted to use terrorism as a mode of national insurgency, and revolutions that see the campaign for colonial rule to occur with terrorism being the major tactical support. Terrorism has been used in the framework of the major movements that is coordinated with the social, political and military objectives. Thus, terrorism has come to dominate the nationalist struggle combining it with other activities. There are direct and indirect supporting facts of these nationalist terrorism movements by powerful governments where they take the advantage of these liberations to provide weapons and training. These terrorist nationalist movements have found revolutionary extremism being the only attractive way for their struggle.

The realization of the support from the superpower had an effect on the recognition of international legitimacy that has led to these groups and individuals employing terrorism as the primary support of their political and military objectives. The support of the major powers has led the movements to employ violence and terror as the medium for their ambitions realization. The contemporary terrorism has surged to religious fanaticism which has spread all over the globe where the wave of violence is unprecedented in scope and target selection, and the wave is lethal and indiscriminate. The terror groups have the belief that their actions are divinely sectioned, even though they belong to different institutions and religious doctrines thus justifying the application of sacred violence to defend their communities.

Terrorism had not changed over the centuries, but the 9/11 attack was the incident which saw the extreme type of practices by terror groups. The more significant change to be considered in the philosophical view is the change of target by the terrorists. Contemporary terrorism targets civilians killing and maiming them while destroying their properties. This is a change of moral complexion in terms of the historical and modern terrorism having two definite targets. The historical terrorism targeted the main person or group who were of great importance toward the achievement of their objectives. The contemporary terrorism has changed from this mode, as it targets the secondary targets to intimidate the primary targets to do what terrorists please, of which otherwise could not be accomplished.[8]  The secondary and direct targets are the innocent civilians, who by the virtue of their attack enjoy immunity of the attacks. In relation to the just war theory,  no one has to lose immunity against any act of war by way of fighting unjust war or any war. The holding of political office does not lose immunity against political violence or implementation of policies to unjust government. Thus the contemporary terrorism does not consider these two targets as innocent and morally protected from any kind of violence.


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The attacks by the contemporary terrorism are seemed to have increased number of casualties with the 9/11 being described as the deadliest attack in the history. The modern terrorism can be viewed as a massacre of civilians that is aimed to terrorize those decisions and actions undertaken by the government. The government terrorism is widely spread and this is the concept used by other terror groups to affect innocent civilians inflicting as many casualties as possible. Some terror groups are focused on intangible and specific political goals which are impossible to achieve, and thus they lack the old style philosophical logics of give and take. Many of the modern terrorisms are driven by the international ideology which is primarily based on the nebulous utopia. Contrary, the earlier terrorism had objectives that were motivated by nationalism some of which were achievable to some extent.

The contemporary terrorism has been increased by the heighted global fight against terrorism. The modern terrorism has spurred terror on personal, organization and social levels targeting to wreck havoc to economic political and social systems. The wave of terrorism has been in existence from times immemorial committing violent acts that are aimed to achieve their goals. The changes in the mode of terrorism acts was not drastic until more recently when the terrorist groups resorted to target innocent civilians rather than their primary targets. Most occurrences of contemporary terrorism have become international, which have no clear ideology regarding their acts, as some of their ideologies are not achievable. Therefore terrorism has been employed as a tool to change and shape the behavior of the society at large. 

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