National Geographic : 2004 Nov
era, in which a new breed of terrorist, armed with fearsome new weapons, has acquired the means to challenge even the most powerful nations on Earth. How did the world come to this point? What in the world has changed? Terrorism is as old as the story of mankind. It appears in the history of ancient Greece and Rome-the murder of Julius Caesar was an act of terror-and in practically every century since then, and in every part of the world. But much has changed in just the past century, starting with the choice of targets. In the past the typi cal victim of terrorism was an emperor or a king, a president, a general, or at least a government official. Terrorists would actually call off an attack in order to spare innocent lives, because indiscriminate killing was considered both immoral and politically unwise. Many of today's terrorists feel no such inhibitions. Motives have also changed. A century ago terrorism was mainly used by groups and indi viduals whose aims were either revolutionary or anarchist or, in the case of Ireland and the Balkans, nationalist. A look at the geography of terror around 1970 still showed the same basic trends-left-wing terrorism in Europe and Latin America; nationalist or separatist terrorism in Northern Ireland, Spain's Basque region, and the Middle East; and a few right-wing terrorist groups in Italy, Turkey, and other countries. Today, however, extreme Islamist groups such Death of a Tsar Balkan Bloodshed Radicals in Russia assassi- Some of the national nated Tsar Alexander II groups encompassed by after failing to start a peas- the Austro-Hungarian 1 ant uprising in opposition Empire resented their sub- ' to the monarchy. Soon servience to the Austrian after, the government elimi- monarchy. When a radical nated the group responsible Serbian nationalist shot -Narodnaya Volya, or Archduke Ferdinand of People's Will-amid wide- Austria, heir to the throne, spread antirevolutionary and his wife as they toured sentiment. But Russia the Balkans, it provided had not seen the end of the spark that ignited revolutionary terror. World War I.