Honors Theses and Capstones

Terrorism Endgame: Understanding Exogenous and Endogenous Viability Breakdown in European Terrorist Organizations

Date of Award

Spring 2013

Project Type

Senior Honors Thesis

College or School



Political Science

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

First Advisor

Chris Rearon


Terrorist organizations deactivate when confronted with a collective though not necessarily simultaneous external and internal breakdown. External breakdown is marked by the loss of a cause and the loss of popular support, while internal breakdown is marked by a loss of leadership and deteriorating unit cohesion. Using three case studies, the Red Brigade (BR) from Italy, the Red Army Faction (RAF) from Germany, and the Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) from Spain, this paper draws a relationship to explain why terrorism ends, and ultimately observes hardline counterterror policies tend to preserve terrorist movements.

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