1789 TO 1968stopover. A ﬁrst attempt was planned to take place in Marseille; if thatfailed, a second would be undertaken in Paris.Once their preparations were complete, Kvaternik left Marseille,while Vlada and Krajli, a trusty Ustasa hired hand, remained behind. Thetwo were armed with handguns and grenades. The attack was to be un-dertaken at point-blank range during the motorcade procession throughthe streets of Marseille, a little like the Sarajevo assassination. On Octo-ber 9, at 4:15 p.m., “Vlada” boldly leaped onto the runningboard of theking’s vehicle, a Delage cabriolet, and shot him dead. The assassin tookseveral bullets and a saber to the head, dying later that night. In the con-fusion, the French foreign minister, Louis Barthou, took a policeman’sstray bullet in the shoulder, from which he later died. The other threemembers of the commando unit who had remained in France were cap-tured and confessed.The political nature of the crime provoked the intervention of theLeague of Nations, which in 1937 adopted a resolution that was the ﬁrstpiece of international legislation on terrorism. The Convention on thePrevention and Punishment of Terrorism, signed at Geneva on Novem-ber 16, 1937, by twenty-ﬁve countries (not including Italy and theUnited States), deﬁned terrorism as “criminal acts directed against aState and intended or calculated to create a state of terror in the mindsof particular persons, or a group of persons or the general public.” Theseinclude “[w]ilful destruction of, or damage to, public property or prop-erty devoted to a public purpose belonging to or subject to the author-ity of another High Contracting Party,” and, ﬁnally, “[t]he manufacture,obtaining, possession, or supplying of arms, ammunition, explosives orharmful substances with a view to the commission in any country what-soever of an offence falling within the present article.”Once their culpability had been established, the Ustase were unable toexploit the assassination, the crowning achievement of their struggle, tofurther their ends. A paradox of terrorism is that when an attack suc-ceeds too well, the perpetrators are caught up in the ensuing politicalmaelstrom that they had sought to unleash. The September 11 attacksare a further illustration of this: the enormity of the attacks on New Yorkand Washington, D.C., triggered the American response that broughtdown the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and dealt a very serious blowto al Qaeda. No matter how spectacular a strike may be, there is no guar-antee that its results will be those sought by the terrorists. The death ofAlexander I did nothing to help Croatia’s cause, and September 11brought down neither the United States nor the moderate Muslim
THE “ GOLDEN AGE” OF TERRORISM / 193regimes that bin Laden had hoped it would. Terrorists almost alwaysdemonstrate a greater aptitude for orchestrating violence than politicalacumen.Like al Qaeda today, the Ustase managed by hook or by crook to keepgoing. They lost the support they had previously enjoyed from Italy andHungary. Ante Pavelic and Eugen Kvaternik were arrested by the Ital-ians, who declined, however, to extradite them. The assassination causeda great sensation in Croatia, as well as in the world media.The Croatians were brieﬂy able to beneﬁt from events that were be-yond their control. In 1941, following the German advance into theBalkans in April, the Croatian state declared independence for itself andfor Bosnia and Herzegovina. Pavelic took power, with German support,while Josip Broz, known as “Tito,” went underground. Croatia’s fatewas dependent on the outcome of the war, so Pavelic’s success was nec-essarily short-lived; in 1945, the former dictator and Ustasa leader ﬂedto South America, and Tito took control of Yugoslavia.Among all the independence movements of the ﬁrst half of the twen-tieth century, that of the Armenians ended most tragically. Like otheranti-Turkish nationalist movements, it took off in the late nineteenthcentury. Young Armenian students studying in Geneva, Paris, and SaintPetersburg, ﬁred by Enlightenment ideas and socialist ideals, were in-spired to ﬁght against despotism upon their return home, some of themby force of arms. Between 1890 and 1908, several thousand Armenianfedais led a small-scale armed revolt against the empire. The earliestgroups, made up for the most part of young urbanites, were quickly sup-pressed, but core cells gradually sprang up throughout eastern Anatolia,their aspirations nourished by the example of the Balkan insurrectionsagainst the empire. The Bulgarian uprising seemed to provide a particu-larly useful model. Armenia, however, was at the very center of the em-pire, unlike the peripheral Balkan states of Europe. The Ottoman empiremay well have been “sick,” but it remained a military power with a fear-some apparatus of repression.On August 26, 1896, a commando unit of twenty-six Armenians un-dertook a terrorist operation intended to snap the European powers toattention. Militants overran the empire’s primary ﬁnancial center, theOttoman Bank. The raid was strategically successful, in that foreignpowers interceded to ensure the unit’s escape, and the Turkish govern-ment pledged to undertake reforms. That did not, however, prevent thesultan from ordering massacres in Constantinople and numerous townsof Anatolia that claimed between 100,000 and 200,000 victims. The
1789 TO 1968public outcry in Europe and America made the “Armenian question” akey factor in the “Question of the Orient.”The Young Turk rebellion, proclaiming equality among all the peoplesof the empire, was warmly welcomed in 1908. The fedais laid down theirarms, but their euphoria was short-lived. The radical elements in the gov-ernment forced the moderates into opposition. Pan-Turkism replacedOttomanism. The empire lost Libya and even loyal Albania. The Balkanwars almost entirely ousted the Turks from the European continent.The Great Powers may have hoped for reform favorable to the Ar-menians, but the Great War buried those hopes. Having met with set-backs against the Russians in the Caucasus, the Young Turks decided toresolve the problem of Armenia by eliminating its population. The Ar-menians were ordered deported and a dedicated entity was mandated tooversee the murder of a nation. Armenian soldiers in the Ottoman armywere liquidated in small groups. On April 24, 1915, Armenian politicaland intellectual leaders were rounded up and killed. Armenians through-out Anatolia were eliminated and half the empire’s Armenian populationdied in the course of the twentieth century’s ﬁrst genocide.Turkish leaders and the ringleaders of the crime were condemnedin absentia by court-martial during the Allied occupation after WorldWar I. Many had ﬂed to Germany, and Berlin refused to extradite them.In response, the Armenian socialist Dashnak Party launched “OperationNemesis,” one of the very rare instances of a terrorist undertaking toavenge the annihilation of a people and to right a wrong. The “specialmission” of Nemesis was in a direct line of descent from the tradition oftyrannicide.The attacks were planned in Boston, Constantinople, and Yerevan, re-layed through Geneva and carried out in Berlin, Rome, Tbilisi, and else-where. This little-known manhunt was one of the most extraordinary ofthe century.17Its instructions were clear: those responsible, and onlythose responsible, were to be assassinated.The ﬁrst attack took place in Berlin on March 15, 1921. Its target wasTalaat Pasha, a member of the Young Turk triumvirate with Jemal Pashaand Enver Pasha. It took four months to plan. A 24-year-old who had losthis entire family in the war shot Talaat in the head on Hardenberg Strasse.Brought to trial, the assassin was unanimously acquitted by the jury.The second assassination took place on December 5, 1921, in Rome.A 22–year-old approached the ﬁacre of Sayid Halim Pasha, former grandvizier of the Young Turk government, shot him in the head, and vanishedfrom sight. Another ﬂawless attack was carried out in Berlin, despatch-
THE “ GOLDEN AGE” OF TERRORISM / 195ing Behaeddin Shakir, one of the organizers of the genocide, and JemalAzmi, “the butcher of Trebizond.” Triumvir Jemal Pasha was gunneddown in Georgia in front of the Tbilisi headquarters of the secret police.But Operation Nemesis failed to eliminate the former police chief ofConstantinople and Dr. Nazim, another chief organizer of the massacresand deportations. The latter was hanged as a conspirator by MustafaKemal a few years later. Enver Pasha was killed in Turkestan in 1922,ﬁghting alongside the Basmachi against the Bolsheviks.TERRORISM OF THE EXTREME RIGHTBetween the two wars, several high-proﬁle assassinations received wide-spread publicity, including that of Walter Rathenau, the German foreignminister, by the Freikorps in 1922, and that of Italian deputy GiacomoMatteotti by the Fascists in June 1922. The Iron Guard succeeded inkilling two prime ministers in Romania, Ion Duca in 1933 and ArmandCa˘linescu in 1939. The extreme right, which enjoyed relatively broadpopular support in a number of countries, was particularly partial to tar-geted assassinations. Its terrorism was aimed above all at eliminating po-litical opponents. Its victims were often members of “outsider” groups,as deﬁned by the extremists. In France, for instance, the extreme right re-lied far more on the press than on terror, although some tiny, marginalgroups, such as Eugène Deloncle’s Comité secret d’action révolutionnaire(the “Cagoule”), also carried out killings. (The CSAR murdered twoanti-Fascist Italian exiles in 1937, but the cagoulards were dispersedsoon thereafter.) Unlike the Soviet system, whose basic structure was ce-mented by institutionalized terror, the Fascist project was driven by vi-olence that was motivated just as much by instinct as it was by reason.The same held true of National Socialism, in which state terror reachedits acme.NOTES TO CHAPTER 81. In 1875 and 1876, the populations of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Bul-garia had risen in revolt. William Gladstone, leader of the English Liberal Party,took up the cause of the insurgents, publishing a ringing panegyric entitled Bul-garian Horrors and the Question of the East. The 1878 Congress of Berlinstripped the Turkish empire of Serbia, Montenegro, Romania, Bosnia and Herze-govina, Thessaly, Epirus, and Bessarabia. In order to block Russian expansionin the region and to prevent the uniﬁcation of the southern Slavs, Bosnia andHerzegovina were placed under Austrian trusteeship.
1789 TO 19682. Venner, Histoire du terrorisme, 37.3. Ibid., 32.4. The IRA used a helicopter to drop bombs in 1974.5. Most, “Science of Revolutionary Warfare,” in Confronting Fear, ed.Cronin, 17.6. Die Freiheit, September 13, 1884.7. Die Freiheit, July 25, 18858. Ibid.9. Laqueur, History of Terrorism, 87.10. Ibid., 85.11. Ibid.12. Ibid., 86.13. The partisans of Irish independence declared independence on January21, 1919. After three years of conﬂict, the treaty conference in London concludedthe Anglo-Irish Treaty, dividing Ireland into two entities. The Irish Free State(Éire), with twenty-six counties, became a co-equal dominion of the British Em-pire; Ulster, with its six counties, remained part of the United Kingdom. On Jan-uary 8, 1922, the treaty was ratiﬁed in Dublin over the objections of PresidentÉamon de Valera.14. Laqueur, ed., Terrorism Reader (1978 ed.), 139.15. Ibid.16. Ibid., 140.17. Derogy, Opération Némésis.
LENIN AND STRATEGIC TERRORISMIn its various forms, Russian terrorism had helped to weaken the Russ-ian state and set the stage for the 1917 Revolution, whereupon the tac-tics of terror soon merged with the Soviet state. Lenin installed a systemthat Stalin would take to extremes.For the young Lenin, terror was only one of the tools of revolution.Although he rejected its use in 1899, it was only because he believedthere to be critical organizational problems at the time. In 1901, heclaimed in an article in Iskra that he had not rejected the “principle ofterror,” yet criticized Socialist Revolutionaries (SRs) for their reliance onterrorism without having explored other forms of struggle.Lenin felt that terrorist tactics were part of a larger political-militarystrategy and that they should be deployed methodically and cautiously;he believed that the SRs, for whom terrorism had become an end in it-self, had failed to grasp this point. For Lenin, terror was not the princi-pal instrument of revolution and should therefore not become a “stan-dard tool” of the armed struggle.If terrorist tactics were to be effective, Lenin believed, they had to gobeyond attacks perpetrated by individuals or small cells. It was popularterror carried out by the masses that would ultimately lead to the over-throw of the monarchy (and capitalism) when the armed forces joinedthe people. Lenin was ﬁrmly opposed to regicidal terrorism, in which he197CHAPTER 9LENIN, STALIN, AND STATE TERRORISMGérard Chaliand and Arnaud Blin
1789 TO 1968saw no future. At the second congress of the Russian Social DemocraticWorkers’ Party (RSDWP) in 1903, he spoke heatedly against terrorism.It was at this time that the party split into two factions, the Bolshevikson one side and the Mensheviks one the other.Because he systematically denounced the terrorism practiced by theSRs, Lenin is sometimes perceived as having been unfavorably disposedtoward terrorism. In fact, he had been an apostle of terror ever since hisearliest days as a political activist, but from an entirely different angle.While he criticized such “duels” with the tsarist authorities, which ledonly to popular apathy, with the mass audience awaiting the next“duel,” his position remained unchanged right up to the Bolshevikseizure of power in 1917: “Terror, but not yet.” The delay only ampli-ﬁed the force with which terror was unleashed once power fell intoLenin’s hands. Indeed, it was not an excess of terror that he condemned,but precisely the opposite. Terror, if it was to be applied effectively, hadto be mass terror directed against the Revolution’s enemies.As of the third congress of the RSDWP, held in London in the springof 1905—the 1905 Revolution had taken place in January—Lenin begantalking of mass terror, taking his cue from the French Revolution. Leninbelieved that, once the revolution began, if any number of Vendée-typemutinies were to be avoided, it would not be enough to execute the tsar.If the revolution were to succeed, “preventive measures” would need tobe taken to nip any manifestation of anti-revolutionary resistance in thebud. Terror tactics would be the most efficient means to that end. He feltthat Jacobin-style “mass terror” would be needed to crush the Russianmonarchy.It was also in 1905 that Lenin drafted his instructions for the revolu-tionary takeover. He advocated two essential activities: independent mil-itary actions and mob control. He encouraged ongoing terrorist activi-ties but from a strategic perspective, because he continued to denounceterrorist attacks undertaken by lone individuals without connection tothe masses: “Disorderly, unorganised and petty terrorist acts may, if car-ried to extremes, only scatter and squander our forces. That is a fact,which, of course, should not be forgotten. On the other hand, under nocircumstances should it be forgotten that a slogan calling for an uprisinghas already been issued, that the uprising has already begun. To launchattacks under favourable circumstances is not only every revolutionary’sright, but his plain duty.”1The revolution of 1905 had failed because of lack of will, resolve, andorganization, Lenin believed. Revolutionaries had to go further and un-
LENIN, STALIN, AND STATE TERRORISM / 199leash widespread violence. At that time, however, Lenin was powerless,restricted to composing virulent critiques of the revolutionaries from hisdistant exiles in Finland and Switzerland. In 1907, he sent the followingmessage to the SRs: “Your terrorism is not the result of your revolu-tionary conviction. It is your revolutionary conviction that is limited toterrorism.”The following year, he endorsed the assassination of King Carlos ofPortugal and his son, but lamented that such attacks were isolated phe-nomena without speciﬁc strategic goals. It always came down to the rev-olutionaries’ lack of strategic perspective, despite their courage. The1917 Revolution substantiated his warnings: at precisely the right mo-ment, when the situation was sufficiently “ripe,” direct action succeededin tipping the scales.When war erupted, Lenin distanced himself even further from theother socialist movements, with which he rejected all collaboration. Helaid out his position in his classic essay, “Imperialism, the Highest Stageof Capitalism”: socialist revolution can be achieved in an economicallybackward country only when it is led by a vanguard party prepared togo the distance—that is, prepared to resort to extreme violence and un-daunted by massive bloodletting. The time was ripe for the dictatorshipof the proletariat—that is, de facto, of the vanguard party.The Bolsheviks, with Lenin at their head, plunged headlong into thevast abyss suddenly opened up by Russia’s dramatic collapse. In this po-litical vacuum, the Bolsheviks, with fewer than 25,000 members, wereable to seize power because the other revolutionary political partiesproved incapable of bringing events under their control following theFebruary revolution.To a certain extent, the historiography of the October Revolution fol-lows that of the French Revolution of 1789. Russian historians have em-braced the “accident” theory ever since the collapse of the Soviet Unionin 1991, following decades of Soviet interpretation of that event as thehistorical culmination of the people’s revolution under the guidance ofthe Bolsheviks.2Between both is the “hijacking” theory whereby the rev-olution launched by the masses was appropriated by a small group thatabused its power. We subscribe to Nicolas Werth’s analysis, according towhich the 1917 Revolution “would appear to be the temporary conver-gence of two movements: a political power play, the outcome of metic-ulous insurrectionary planning by a party whose practices, organization,and ideology set it radically apart from all other protagonists of the Rev-olution; and a vast, multifaceted, and autonomous revolution.”3
1789 TO 1968Whatever the case, the tiny Bolshevik Party found itself running animmense country in the grip of a crisis that would lead to civil war andin the middle of the most terrible conﬂict Europe had ever known. TheBolshevik Party, however, was strong enough to weather the combinedimpact of all these forces and, through the skill of its leaders, hold on topower.Lenin was quick to reveal his true character and political convictions.When, on October 26 and November 8, 1917, the Congress of Sovietsdecided to abolish the death penalty, Lenin declared this “error” to be“unacceptable” and hastened to reinstitute it. Shortly thereafter, a fewlines in Izvestia unobtrusively announced the establishment of one of themost fearsome instruments of terror ever conceived: “By decree of theSoviet of People’s Commissars is created on December 7, 1917, the All-Russian Extraordinary Commission to Combat Counter-Revolution andSabotage [the Cheka]. Cheka Headquarters at 2 Gorokhovaya Street isopen to inquiries every day from noon to 5 p.m.”4Thus was created the Soviet secret police, forebear of the KGB, thatwould send millions of people to the Gulag over the course of thirty-ﬁveyears. Only a few months later, a new decree announced the establish-ment of “local chekas to combat sabotage and counterrevolution.” Nat-urally, these chekas were mandated to “prevent counterrevolution, spec-ulation, and abuses of power, including by means of the press. . . .Henceforth, the right to undertake arrests, searches, requisitions, andother aforementioned measures attaches exclusively to those chekas,both in Moscow and in the ﬁeld.”“Terror” became a term evoked more and more often by politicalleaders, as seen in the following letter sent by Lenin to Zinoviev when helearned that the workers were threatening a general strike in support ofthe Bolshevik reaction (including mass arrests in late June 1918) to theassassination of one of their leaders, Volodarsky😮nly today we have heard at the C.C. that in Petrograd the workerswanted to reply to the murder of Volodarsky by mass terror and that you (notyou personally, but the Petrograd Central Committee members, or PetrogradCommittee members) restrained them.I protest most emphatically!We are discrediting ourselves: we threaten mass terror, even in resolutionsof the Soviet of Deputies, yet when it comes to action we obstruct the revo-lutionary initiative of the masses, a quite correct one.This is im-poss-ible!
LENIN, STALIN, AND STATE TERRORISM / 201The terrorists will consider us old women. This is wartime above all. Wemust encourage the energy and mass character of theterror against the counter-revolutionaries, and particularly in Petrograd, the example of whichisdecisive.5The situation in the summer of 1918 was highly precarious. Suddenly,everything seemed to be hanging in the balance for the Bolsheviks. Notonly did they control only a very small amount of territory, but they werealso ﬁghting on three anti-revolutionary fronts and were compelled toput down 140 uprisings over the course of the summer. The instructionsissued to local chekas for dealing with the crisis grew increasingly spe-ciﬁc: arrests, hostage-taking among the bourgeoisie, the establishment ofconcentration camps. Lenin asked for the promulgation of a decree tothe effect that “in every grain-producing district, twenty-ﬁve designatedhostages from among the wealthiest local inhabitants should answerwith their lives if the requisition plan is not fulﬁlled.”Throughout that summer, the Bolshevik Party undertook the system-atic destruction of legal protections for the individual. Some membersbelieved that civil war knew no “written laws,” which were reserved for“capitalist warfare.” Terror, launched long before their power was se-cure, would allow the Bolsheviks to entrench themselves deﬁnitively. Therevolutionary logic was the same as that in France in 1793–94. Leninseized the opportunity offered by two incidents to launch a terror cam-paign. On August 30, 1918, two unrelated attacks targeted the topCheka official in Petrograd and Lenin himself.6The ﬁrst was an act ofvengeance committed by a young student acting alone. The second, at-tributed to the young militant anarchist Fanny Kaplan—who was exe-cuted without trial immediately thereafter—was perhaps an act ofprovocation originating with the Cheka. Whatever the case, the Petro-grad Krasnaya Gazeta set the tone the very next day: “As we recentlywrote, we will answer a single death with a million. We have been com-pelled to action. How many lives of working-class women and childrendoes every bourgeois have on his conscience? There are no innocents.Every drop of Lenin’s blood must cost the bourgeoisie and the Whiteshundreds of lives.”7The party leaders sounded the same death knell in astatement signed by Dzerzhinsky: “May the working class use mass ter-ror to crush the hydra of the counterrevolution!”8The following day,September 4, Izvestia editorialized that “no weakness or hesitation willbe tolerated in the implementation of mass terror.”9And indeed, what would come to be known as the “Red terror”10was
1789 TO 1968embodied in the official decree released on September 5: “It is of the ﬁrstnecessity that security behind the front be maintained through ter-ror. . . . Furthermore, in order to protect the Soviet Republic from itsclass enemies, the latter must be segregated in concentration camps. Allpersons involved in White Guard organizations, conspiracies or rebel-lions must face the ﬁring squad.”11The decree ended with the followingorder: “Lastly, the names of all those who have been shot, along with thereasons for their punishment, must be published.” In fact, only a smallnumber of those who were executed was officially inventoried. As to the“reasons” for their execution, they must be sought in the arbitrary ra-tionales of institutionalized terror. There are no precise ﬁgures for theRed terror, and for good reason. Estimates of the number of its victimsbetween 1917 and 1921 place them anywhere between 500,000 andnearly two million.12Clearly, institutional terror had no need to wait forStalin to make its mark. A comparative study with the tsarist period iseven more telling: more death sentences were meted out in the ﬁrst twomonths of the Red terror—some 10,000 to 15,000 executions—thanthroughout the nearly 100 years from 1825 to 1917 (6,321 political ex-ecutions, of which 1,310 took place in 1906).From the very onset of the regime of terror in September 1918, we ﬁndmost of the elements that would characterize the terror practiced notonly by Lenin—and later, far more intensively, by Stalin—but also byother political regimes claiming the Marxist-Leninist mantle, includingin China under Mao Zedong, Cambodia under Pol Pot, and, more re-cently, in North Korea. Throughout the twentieth century, state terrordirected against the masses claimed far more victims than did terrorismdirected against the state, often in the name of those self-same masses.While the toll of those who died in anti-state terror amounts to a fewthousand victims, those who fell to state terrorism number in the tens ofmillions. According to the authors of the Livre noir du communisme,state terror in the Soviet Union claimed some twenty million.13China canclaim some sixty-ﬁve million. In a very brief span of time, Nazi Germanyfar exceeded the ten-million mark.“What is terror?” asked Isaac Steinberg, who, as people’s commissar forjustice,was in thevanguard from December 1917 toMay 1918. Hisanswer:Terror is systematic violence from the top down, acted upon or ripe for ac-tion. Terror is a legal blueprint for massive intimidation, compulsion and de-struction, directed by power. It is the precise, sophisticated and scrupulouslyweighted inventory of penalties, punishments and threats employed by thegovernment to induce fear, and which it uses and abuses to compel the people
LENIN, STALIN, AND STATE TERRORISM / 203to do its will. . . . The “enemy of the revolution” assumes vast proportionswhen a timorous, mistrustful and isolated minority wields total power. Thecriterion expands without constraint, gradually embracing the entire country,ultimately applying to all but those who hold the power. The minority thatrules by terror always ends up broadening its actions by dint of the principlethat there are no rules when it comes to the “enemy of the revolution.”14And yet, state terrorism—that is, terrorism wielded by the strongagainst the weak—and terrorism wielded by the weak against the stronghave much in common. A terror campaign seeks to instil a sense of gen-eral insecurity by threatening to strike anyone at any time. During thegreat Stalinist purges, officeholders at the highest level of the terroristregime were potential victims, and no one but Stalin was safe.Once certain victims begin to be targeted over others, arbitrariness be-comes the hallmark of almost all forms of terrorism, with the exceptionof tyrannicide. A system of arbitrary hostage-taking was put in place atthe very outset of the Red terror. In Novosibirsk, for example, the au-thorities established a random periodical day of house arrest for the en-tire population to facilitate roundups. In Moscow, a raid was carried outin a department store.15The initial reaction of any victim of Soviet ter-ror was incomprehension: he or she was innocent, and would surely bereleased once the mistake had been discovered. The same holds true forthe victim of al Qaeda; in a terrorist attack in Riyadh on October 9,2003, one victim interviewed by journalists was baffled by the fact thata bomb had targeted Muslims rather than Westerners, whereas the log-ical aim of the operation was to destabilize the Saudi government. Thisis the very essence of terrorism, regardless of its origins; its strength liesin its arbitrary selection of victims. Whether he holds power or is ﬁght-ing it, the terrorist seeks to broadcast that psychosis. The only differencebetween them is that anti-state terrorism seeks to destabilize authority,while state terrorism seeks conversely to stabilize it and to destabilize thepopulation at large. A terrorist state has often been established follow-ing a struggle in which terrorism played a role, thereby preempting con-trol of that strategic and psychological weapon. The means employed bythese two forms of terrorism vary. The terrorist state enjoys every re-source of the state apparatus. The “private” terrorist, in contrast, seeksto exploit the weaknesses of the state, or of the society that he is sup-posed to be representing and protecting. To a certain extent, the terror-ist state acts preventively so as to nip in the bud any attempt to contestits power, including by terrorists.Having come to power, the terrorist state has to eradicate every ves-
1789 TO 1968tige of the old power, as the Bolsheviks did symbolically by assassinat-ing the tsar and his family. Its second objective must be to eliminate allpotential aspirants to power and all its opponents. This was the situationwith the French Revolution as early as 1793–94. Lenin drew on the les-son of Robespierre’s downfall by mastering the instrument of terrorismand got right down to the work of eliminating his political or ideologi-cal adversaries, starting with the anarchists, who were the ﬁrst to de-nounce the co-optation of the Revolution and the Bolshevik dictatorship.The anarchists became the earliest victims of the Red terror. The anti-anarchist terror began even before September 1918 and intensiﬁed oncethe state apparatus, the army in particular, was strong enough to pro-mote widespread terror. In April, Trotsky led the ﬁrst terror campaignagainst the “anarcho-bandits.” After Russia, the persecution of anar-chists spread to the Ukraine. The anti-anarchist campaign sought notonly to eliminate a political adversary; anarchist thought itself was soonoutlawed. The authorities used the repression to crush any will to resistthat might be entertained by other groups.The terror touched even those who were only vaguely associated withthe anarchists, such as distant relatives. Logically, the terror targeted allpolitical rivals of the Bolsheviks, starting with the Mensheviks and theSRs, both on the right—their most dangerous rivals—and on the left.The latter quit the government after the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in the spring of 1918, while the former were expelled from theAll-Russia Central Executive Committee. The leader of the Left Social-ist Revolutionary Party, Maria Spiridonova, denounced the terror andwas promptly removed by the Bolsheviks in 1919. Sentenced by the Rev-olutionary Tribunal, she was the ﬁrst person to be incarcerated in a psy-chiatric hospital for political reasons (she later escaped and secretly re-sumed leadership of her party, which by then had been banned). TheMensheviks and Right SRs, occasional allies, were targeted by the Chekabeginning in 1919.The workers, on whose behalf the Revolution had ostensibly beenfought, were not spared. A strike could bring an entire factory under sus-picion of treason. Its organizers, naturally, were arrested and put todeath, along with some of the workers. In November, the Motovilikhaweapons plant was subject to such repression by the local Cheka, urgedon by the central authorities. Some 100 strikers were executed.16Thesame scenario unfolded the following spring at the Putilov factory. Else-where, numerous strikes were harshly suppressed, such as in Astrakhanand Tula. Anti-worker terror reached its apogee in 1921 during the Kron-
LENIN, STALIN, AND STATE TERRORISM / 205stadt uprising, where, on Trotsky’s orders, the Red Army was sent in tomassacre the mutinous sailors of the battleship Petropavlovsk.Rebellious peasants, too, in Tambov and elsewhere, were subject tothe same law. Among the units of the Red Army, manned for the mostpart by soldiers of peasant stock, mutinies erupted and were put downwith equal brutality. The suppression of the Cossacks demonstrated thatthe terror was not limited to social and economic categories, but that itcould be aimed at speciﬁc groups as well.It became necessary to identify a legal basis for the internment of pris-oners as soon as possible, which was accomplished through the system-atic institution of concentration camps. A decree of 1919 distinguishedtwo types of camps: corrective labor camps and bona ﬁde concentrationcamps; the distinction was entirely theoretical. The concentration-campuniverse of the Gulag, with its millions of “zeks,” would become one ofthe foundations of the Soviet regime and the symbol of state terror be-queathed to posterity by the USSR.Lenin, who had been ailing since March 1923, died on January 24,1924, and from 1923 to 1927, the country enjoyed a “truce,” whichlasted until the succession could be secured. Calls went up within thegovernment for the system to be relaxed. In the context of the strugglefor succession, however, the political police came to serve Stalin’s inter-ests, which lay in eradicating his rivals, Trotsky ﬁrst among them. Oncetheir power was assured and their rivals done away with, Stalin and hiscronies were able to revive the political terror, which had temporarily,and only relatively, eased off. By the late 1920s, the terrorist system waswell entrenched in Soviet policy. Stalin made full use of the head startLenin had given him to push the limits that had been established by hismentor. It took the horrors of Nazi terror to overshadow those of theUSSR in the eyes of the world, however brieﬂy. As Hannah Arendtrightly noted, by some ideological sleight-of-hand, the vision of the hor-rors of the Nazi camps served to mask the realities of the Soviet ones.STALIN, OR STATE TERRORIn the early 1930s, Stalin experimented with using terror against thepeasantry through his infamous “dekulakization” campaign. Forcedcollectivization unleashed a famine that claimed almost six million vic-tims. The 1930s also witnessed a revival of generalized terror against cer-tain sectors of the populace, in anticipation of the Great Terror of1936–37. Stalin took the state apparatus established by Lenin—party
1789 TO 1968dictatorship—and transformed it into the instrument of power of justone man. In order to impose this new system—which he believed was theanswer to the problem of modernizing and industrializing the country—Stalin drew on his policy’s sole means of enforcement: terror. UnderLenin, the apparatus of repression had served the party; under Stalin, itwas the party that served the apparatus of repression.17The terror of the 1930s was organized in stages. The purges of 1933were followed by the respite of 1934. The purges resumed in late 1934and lasted until late 1935. In early 1936, a brief pause preceded the GreatTerror of 1936–38, which peaked in 1937. The Stalinist terror touchedthe base and the elite alike, assailing peasants and workers, on the onehand, and leading ﬁgures of the political and military apparatuses, on theother, along with the entire party membership. Stalin’s aim was to cre-ate a completely new political machine entirely dedicated to his cause.The old guard had managed to survive right up to 1936, when it wasstruck down headlong by the Moscow trials.These impressive trials, at which Stalin’s former companions con-fessed their “crimes” before a tribunal, seized the international public’sattention. In fact, they partially eclipsed the widespread campaign of ter-ror being waged throughout the country, striking the peoples of everySoviet province without distinction of class or nationality.For these people, this meant unremitting dread. Dread of hearing aknock on the door in the middle of the night; dread of disappearing for-ever. Collectively, the psychological toll was appalling and impossible toquantify. Insecurity, fear, and unpredictability were the order of the day.At work and even at home, suspicion was ubiquitous. The least false stepor unguarded word could mean death or the Gulag. No prospect of anend was in sight, nor was faultless behavior any guarantee of safety. Interms of actual victims, the Stalinist terror can boast of having eliminatedseveral million people, although the exact or even approximate ﬁguremay never be known.18Given the psychological impact on a nation of aterrorist attack that kills a few dozen people, it is not hard to imagine theeffects on a country in which everyone knew at least one victim of Stalin’sterror: a parent, a relative, a neighbor, or a colleague, if not all of theseat the same time.The system that Stalin set in place was of unparalleled perversity; notonly was he the grand architect of the nationwide terror, but it was alsoto him that the people looked to be protected from that terror, whosemechanisms they only dimly understood. Stalin was seen as the ﬁnal bul-wark against the arbitrary nature of the terror.19As with all totalitarian
LENIN, STALIN, AND STATE TERRORISM / 207regimes, the perversity also lay in the leaders’ resolve to impart a sem-blance of legality to a system based on the rule of fear, arbitrary power,and illegitimacy.Of all totalitarian regimes, that of the Soviet Union was, between1929 and 1953, the most perfect embodiment of state terrorism. Noother country had ever been so systematically subjected to terror im-posed by the apparatus of a police state. On the other hand, the USSRhad many emulators in Europe and Asia that occasionally rivaled it forperversity in the implementation of institutionalized terror. The pinna-cle, a combination of Soviet-inspired state terrorism and the Nazi tastefor extermination, was reached in Cambodia in the 1970s.NOTES TO CHAPTER 91. Lenin, “Tasks of Revolutionary Army Contingents” (October 1905).2. See Werth, “État contre son peuple,” in Courtois et al., Livre noir du com-munisme, 45–46.3. Ibid., 464. Izvestiya, no. 248, December 10, 1917, cited in Baynac, Les socialistes-révolutionnaires, 57.5. Lenin, Collected Works, vol. 35, letter 149.6. See Werth, “État contre son peuple,” 85.7. Quoted in Venner, Histoire du terrorisme, 61.8. Izvestia, September 3, 1918, cited in Werth, “État contre son peuple,” 86.9. Izvestia, September 4, 1918, cited in ibid.10. As opposed to the “White terror” carried out at the same time, less sys-tematically but equally brutally, by the monarchist Whites in the civil war.11. Izvestia, September 10, 1918, cited in Baynac, Les socialistes-révolutionnaires, 59.12. Ibid., p. 75.13. Mostly by execution (by ﬁring squad, hanging, beating, gas, poison, and“accidents”), as well as by hunger and deportation. See Courtois et al., Livre noirdu communisme, 8.14. Steinberg, “L’aspect éthique de la revolution,” in Baynac, Les socialistes-révolutionnaires, 363–64.15. Baynac, Les socialistes-révolutionnaires, 14216. Werth, “État contre son peuple.”17. See Carrère d’Encausse, Staline, 41.18. For more detailed ﬁgures on the Great Terror, available since the open-ing of the KGB archives, see Werth, “État contre son peuple,” 216–36. Also seeConquest, Great Terror.19. Werth, “État contre son peuple,” 68–69.
World War II marked a strategic break with the past and changed every-thing, among other things transforming terrorism into an instrument ofresistance. Contemporary terrorism did not hit its stride until the 1960s,but it was born in World War II and in the wars of national liberationthat followed upon it and continued throughout the 1940s, 1950s, and1960s (and even beyond in the case of Portugal). Throughout that pe-riod, which also marked the apogee of the cold war, terrorism was aboveall a terrorism of war, serving, through one technology in particular, astrategy of attrition.Whereas World War II represented both the apex and the end of theera of mass warfare, the ensuing decades saw a great strategic upheavalwith, on the one hand, the evolution of nuclear strategy and, on theother, the emergence of limited warfare, the latter being in part a conse-quence of the former. The Cold War, beginning almost immediately afterthe end of the world war, made the strategy of total warfare obsolete andunleashed the strategies of limited and indirect warfare, promoting theoutbreak of all sorts of “low intensity” conﬂicts. At the same time, theconfrontation between two rival blocs polarized ideological conﬂicts. Ina classic pattern, the wars of colonial liberation proﬁted from this newdynamic by generally situating national liberation movements in a“Marxist-Leninist” context, for reasons that were practical as well as208CHAPTER 10TERRORISM IN TIME OF WARFrom World War II to the Wars of National LiberationGérard Chaliand and Arnaud Blin
TERRORISM IN TIME OF WAR / 209ideological, since they were thereby guaranteed the support of the SovietUnion or China. Consequently, national liberation movements tended torely on an indirect strategy based on guerrilla warfare and terrorism. Itwas on the heels of the anti-colonial experience of those national libera-tion movements, many of which developed during World War II, thatmost of the terrorist groups of the 1960s emerged, a few of which endureto this day.THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE STRATEGIC LANDSCAPEFrom a strategic point of view, the twentieth century was, among otherthings and above all, a century of psychological warfare, the most vio-lent manifestation of which is terrorism. This was due to several factors.First, total warfare created a new center of gravity: civilian populations.They were the fulcrum of full national mobilization and thus became itstarget as well. As these populations could be struck at physically and di-rectly in only a limited way, they were bombarded with propaganda andpsychological violence.From that point on, technology was designed to provide, at least intheory, instruments capable of affecting the morale of an entire people.The brand-new technology of aerial warfare introduced a whole newdimension in that regard. Interbellum theoreticians developed an ap-proach that culminated in the doctrine of strategic bombing—that is, thebombing of civilians intended to evoke such a feeling of terror that theywould lose the will to ﬁght and compel their government to give up thewar effort. It was on such doctrine that the decision was based to bombHiroshima and Nagasaki.With the invention of nuclear weapons, and of the hydrogen bomb inparticular, the psychological dimension of warfare became paramount.In the late 1950s, One of the most high-proﬁle architects of the Amer-ican nuclear strategy, Albert Wohlstetter, coined the phrase “balance ofterror” in a 1958 RAND paper. The balance of terror is based on theprinciple of mutual deterrence, hinging on the hope that the terrorevoked by nuclear weapons will be enough to dissuade one’s adversaryfrom using them. The confrontation played itself out through indirectconﬂicts of varying types, including guerrilla warfare and terrorism. TheKorean War, from 1950 to 1953, was the ﬁrst indirect confrontation be-tween the United States and the Soviet Union. The Cold War soon spreadto other theaters, and to the colonies in particular, where the British,