Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science


William Chandler




Why have some governments been more successful than others in responding to the threat of domestic terrorism within their states? This thesis seeks to analyze the conditions of effective response to the threat of terrorism in the liberal democratic state. The working assumption of this thesis is that the type of terrorist phenomenon shapes the appropriate policy response. Each terrorist act requires a unique response determined by the particulars of the situation. Since some of the potential responses to terrorism pose an equal, if not greater, threat to democratic freedoms than does terrorism itself, a balanced response to terrorist activity is necessary. It is the right dose of flexible tolerance which will safeguard the liberal democratic balance between the rights of the individual and the security of the whole community. This thesis will provide a comprehensive analysis of the more widespread and potentially destabilizing nationalist terrorism - using the case studies of the Irish Republican Army and Spain's Euzkadi ta Askatasuna; and the threat of revolutionary terrorism - using the case studies of Italy's Red Brigades and the Federal Republic of Germany's Red Army Faction. This thesis will look at the full range of policy options that may be open to governments in responding to terrorism: anti-terrorist legislation; intelligence; military/police/security cooperation; and media management. Governments, understandably, do not release the full details of their counter-terrorism procedures. Recent data references are difficult to find. It is for these reasons that the time frame of this thesis will be restricted primarily to the period between the mid-1960s to the early 1980s.

McMaster University Library

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."