Sunday, April 05, 2015

Terrorism Then

100 and some years ago.

The last part of the nineteenth century and the first of the twentieth saw an upsurge in terrorism across Europe, especially in France, Russia and Spain, and in the United States. Often inspired by anarchism which saw all forms of social and political organization as tools of oppression, or simply by nihilism, terrorists set off explosions, hurled bombs, stabbed and shot, frequently with spectacular success. Between 1890 and 1914 they murdered, among others, Sadi Carnot, the President of France, two Prime Ministers of Spain, Antonio Cánovas in 1897 and José Canalejas in 1912, King Umberto of Italy, President McKinley in the United States (whose assassin was inspired by Umberto’s murder), Empress Elisabeth of Austria, the Russian statesman Stolypin and the Grand Duke Sergei, an uncle of the Tsar. Their victims were not only the powerful and the prominent: bombs dropped into the audience at a performance of William Tell in Barcelona killed twenty-nine and a bomb thrown at King Alfonso of Spain on his wedding day missed him but killed thirty-six onlookers. Terrorist acts led to repression, often severe, by the authorities which for a time merely stirred up more violence. .

Macmillan, Margaret (2013-10-29). The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914 (Kindle Locations 4973-4982). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.