Sometimes one needs to look back

Posted by Tory Historian Thursday, April 24, 2008 ,

This is not a topic that is often covered on this blog but Tory Historian feels strongly (as do all historians) that there is a tendency around to forget that some things we experience have happened before.

A look at the BBC On This Day website will remind us that today is the anniversary of the massive IRA bomb in the City that devastated a large section of it, killing one person and injuring more than 40.

We hear a lot from the anti-terrorist squad in the police and elsewhere that it is very difficult to deal with the people who are threatening us now because they are not like the IRA in their intentions or structural set-up. Indeed, not, but then the IRA was quite unusual in both. They had a definite aim and they were organized like the army they thought themselves to be.

Other terrorist organizations in the seventies were very different, much nearer to the ones around now with many of them trained by the same people. Today is also the anniversary of the explosion in the West German embassy in Stockholm where three people were killed before and during it. Many were injured.

The embassy's staff had been taken hostage by off-shoots of the Baader-Meinhof gang, 26 of whose members were at this time imprisoned and awaiting trial. The demands for their release were not met by the West German government who had, in fact, been humiliated by this band of terrorists before. The result was the killing of two attaches and the explosion.

Eventually, members of the Baader-Meinhof gang were imprisoned and many of them committed suicide in gaol. There were so many of such gangs at the time. It would pay people to study their operation and how they were dealt with, what were the successes and failures. Above all, it is worth recalling that nihilistic, destructive, apparently aimless because the aims are so general terrorist groups are not new. It's jsut the IRA is not one of them.


  1. The word "terrorist" describes a person who can murder an innocent human being with no hesitation, remorse, or regret.

    Members of the IRA (or Radical Islam) that plant bombs they know will kill or maim an innocent victim - justify their action as being necessary to make a political statement more important than a human life. We are standing by and watching our century's old concept of human primacy being ground into the dust. Why?

    Granted, it's a tough world out there. Deadly force has always been necessary to protect innocent lives from harm. In general I have no problem with that. The mass bombing runs over the city of Dresden, for example, are excused as necessary. Makes sense to me.

    The single bomb set off in a crowded subway is inexcusable.


    (1) Why is it that Britain and the United States both allow evil Islamic schools to warp young Muslims with hate? Tax free mosques with ignorant mullahs teaching overthrow of our governments? Why does no one say "enough already"?

    (2) In mosques where radical Wahhabi style Islam is preached, can nothing be done? They degrade women, promote violence, justify murder, reward suicide bombing, and preach "death to all infidels" - AND - they are supported and protected by our respective governments? Does this make sense to you? Not to me.


  2. The point of the posting was that the Radical Islamists are not like the IRA but there are similarities with other terrorist groups both in the seventies-eighties and (not mentioned in this posting) at the turn of the nineteenth-twentieth centuries. You obviously disagree with that because you refer only to the IRA and Radical Islam. Fair enough. But, in my opinion, those who are trying to deal with the problems we have, and you list some of them, will get little joy by studying the IRA or the battle against it. The differences are greater than the similarities. That is where a knowledge of history can be useful

    I shall leave it to others to answer your questions.

    If it comes to wartime bombing (yes, I know you say you can live with it) Dresden was not the only city to suffer. London, Coventry, Plymouth, Bristol, Warsaw and a number of others spring to mind.

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