James Crossland
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All towards its end
in The rise of devils
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As anarchism turned away from ‘hot-head’ violence towards collective political action, terrorism continued to flourish across the world. In Russia, the nihilist tactics of old were studied by the Socialist Revolutionaries, who unleashed a bloody campaign in the early 1900s. They were joined by anarchists, far-right anti-Semites and practitioners of ‘motiveless terrorism’, who adhered to no ideology or political goal, but simply wanted to inflict death and chaos on Russia. As this wave of terrorism reached its apogee in the land of the tsars, insurgents in India and China took instruction from French anarchists and Russian nihilists, from whom they acquired knowledge in explosives manufacture and conspiratorial planning. This diffusion of terrorist knowledge led to bombing campaigns by Anushilan Samiti in India, and the attempted assassination of the Qing regent by Wang Jingwei in Beijing. These and other acts of terrorism perpetrated across the world were not the products of a global conspiracy nor a transnationally shared belief in anarchist ideals. Rather, these attacks were the products of the decades of terrorist knowledge, myths and histories that had developed since Orsini’s bombing of 1858, the sum of which was a terrorist milieu from which any violent radical could borrow for whatever purpose – personal, political or otherwise. By the early 1900s, therefore, terrorism was normalised across the globe.

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The rise of devils

Fear and the origins of modern terrorism


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