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TheLoneMonk's avatar

Has terrorism ever succeeded in it's goal to deter a people from their beliefs?

Asked by TheLoneMonk (2892points) February 17th, 2010

I am no history scholar but it seems to me that terrorist attacks never seem to ever dissuade the attacked from their beliefs thereby allowing the terrorists to “win”. Car bombs, suicide bombs, multiple bombings of WTC, Hitler, Soviets has anyone ever succeeded in turning a people to the terrorist view point? Even the Crusades failed. With so much failure why do terrorists continue to use such tactics?

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21 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

Arguably, terrorism was part of what kept the USSR intact from 1917 until 1989. Arguably terrorism rid Turkey of it’s Armenian “problem. Arguable Mao Tse Tung imposed a government on the entire, previously nearly ungovernable state of China. Arguably terrorism disrupted the collaboration of the Vichy Government with Germany 1n 1943–45. Arguably, terrorism forced the French out of Algeria and French Indo-China.

TheLoneMonk's avatar

Terrorism might have kept things intact or forced people out of their country/region but did it ever change the way the people thought? You (pick one: blew the fuck out of me, dominated me in every way, forced me to starve, forced me to labor, forced me kill for you) I now believe in your system and will not resist and will go forth and spew your hatred.

Judi's avatar

The British might have said that terrorism was what stRted the Unites States. That Boston Tea Party would probably have been considered an act of terrorism, along with other efforts at inependance.

TheLoneMonk's avatar

Thanks Judi, but the Boston Tea Party didn’t change the British perspective of the colonists. What I’m looking for is a terrorist act that actually changed a viewpoint. The closest I can come to is the the protesters and terrorists of the Vietnam war era. It would seem that their acts forced a country to change it’s views. I am not convinced that is the case but it is the best I can come up with. When has terrorism changed a viewpoint?

the100thmonkey's avatar

Why do you believe terrorism is about effecting a change in belief?

Judi's avatar

@TheLoneMonk; eventually, the acts ofvwhat wevnow call war (but I’m sure they considered terrorism) DID change their minds as we are now friends, even though we got our way.

laureth's avatar

Abortion doctor George Tiller was shot through the eye at point-blank range in his Church as he handed out bulletins on May 31, 2009. He’d long been the object of terrorism, but it was this final act of coldblooded murder that finally convinced Tiller’s family to close his clinic permanently. Looks like at least in this small instance, the terrorists won.

rottenit's avatar

I hate to tell people this but how we have reacted to the 9/11 attacks have made them somewhat successfull.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Terrorism’s goal is not to convert people into being terrorists.
Their goal is destruction on a massive scale and to generate fear.

Terrorists are wildly successful in creating fear.

filmfann's avatar

@Captain_Fantasy Incorrect. Terrorism’s goal is to get you to cave to their beliefs, rather than shit yourself with fear.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

I’m not a terrorist so I don’t have any first hand info of terrorist manifestos.
However, terrorists do create fear. That can’t be denied. Fear is a weapon.

Berserker's avatar

I think it’s precisely such drastic measures and death and violence dealt by terrorists or Spanish Inquisitors that reinforce people’s beliefs.
When a great threat looms, people bind together for the cause, and one great way to get this done is through belief.

kevbo's avatar

a) Hitler, the Soviets and the Crusaders were not terrorists.

b) Terrorism is a “last best option” of a weaker force. If “the terrorists” had an army of any size, surely they would use it instead. So it’s not so much about changing your personal belief as it is harassing an imposing enemy in order to get them to change their belief about whether occupation/dominance is worthwhile.

c) Terrorism in it’s most modern incarnation has deterred Americans (if you would believe recent actions to be representative of the opinions of Americans) from believing that their rights to privacy, due process, habeaus corpus, free speech, etc. are sacrosanct.

YARNLADY's avatar

It seems to be working quite well in Columbia and along the Mexican border.

mammal's avatar

it has made some ground in Ireland, Yeah, terrorism is a very effective political tool. it should make people review their ideals, for example maybe we should ask ourselves, what could it be that motivates Terrorism? could it possibly be that these people have a reason to be angry? would we be angry if in their position? or, are we happy with oppression, humiliation, poverty and so forth. Most westerners get Pissy if the coffee machine is out of order, Lord knows how they would behave if things got really nasty.

TheLoneMonk's avatar

Thanks for all of the answers. This question came to mind while dining last night. I will do more reading on the subject.

Judi's avatar

I still maintain that if it were effective, history would not call it terrorism.

talljasperman's avatar

terrorism is about terror… it is in the word itself terror- ism

YARNLADY's avatar

It’s difficult to gauge. Did the Spanish Inquisition make more people into Christians? Who can tell?

Berserker's avatar

@YARNLADY That’s a good thought…I was going to suggest that those who didn’t die probably did, but then, people eventually fought back the Spanish Inquisition. And as far out as it was spread, it wasn’t as wide spread as some believe, because people just didn’t want nothing to do with it…even though other people’s methods really were no better. But then my history’s pretty shoddy, so I denno.

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