The earliest known terrorist like activity can be traced back to the 1st to 14th century and the Zealots of Judea. The Romans called the Zealots "sicarii", which means dagger-men. The Zealots launched an underground campaign to assassinate Roman forces in Judea, and any Jews who they felt worked with the Romans. The reason they attacked the Romans is because they felt like they could not practice their religion the way they thought they were supposed to as long as the Romans were in control. Eventually, the Zealot revolt was brought out in the open and they were conquered. When that happened they committed mass suicide at the fortification of Masada.
The next group to use terrorism similar to how we see it today was The Assassins. They were a part of Shia Islam and they would send a lone assassin to kill enemy leaders. They did this because they didn't have enough men to start a normal war. The killer would wait next to his victim to be captured or killed, which inspired fear in the hearts of their enemies.
The first uses of the words "Terrorist" and "Terrorism" were during the French Revolution. The words were used to mean the Reign of Terror caused by the revolutionary government. The ones that enforced the rules of "the Terror" were called "terrorists." These terrorists used tactics like assassination and intimidation to make their point. They also killed prominent people and officials in gruesome spectacles.
A lot of the early types of terrorism existed when people were conquered by bigger and more powerful nations, but they rebelled against being controlled. In order to survive and maintain their beliefs, small groups had to use terrorist tactics. In some parts of the world this is still true today, and terrorists use the same methods, but on a bigger scale.
Today, it seems like terrorism exists more because of hatred and greed. Most of the time terrorists are driven by hate. When terrorists are driven by hate they are not tolerant of anyone who believes differently. The beliefs of terrorists are often skewed and inaccurate. But most of the time terrorists cannot be persuaded to do any different than what they believe because it is all they grew up knowing and thinking. One reason why terrorism exists is due to the fact that there are many lost and angry people. A terrorism organization must work very much like a cult or a gang. There is a leader that gets people that are lower and more desperate than them to believe that they are part of a new family and make them feel like they are part of something. After they make them part of their so called "family" they will usually try to do anything to make their leader satisfied, which in this case is some sort of terrorist act.
A second reason terrorism exists in our world today is greed. Everybody wants and needs money. Terrorism is an easy way for someone with enough hate and drive in their heart to make lots of money, but possibly hurt a lot of people in the process. These kinds of terrorism happen because people let it happen. In countries where terrorism thrives, political leaders are often too afraid to stand up to or do something to stop these terrorists, so it is easy for anyone to be a terrorist and get away with it. In some cases these same political figures that let this terrorism happen get paid off to let it happen without consequences, or they hire terrorists to wipe out a specific group of people.
Those who perform terroristic acts see it as their duty. Some do it for their country. Some do it for their religion. Some do it for themselves or that little voice inside their head. Whatever the case, these terrorists perform an unspeakable deed because it is asked of them in some way. Sometimes these people do these acts based on fear, a fear of them losing power or something happening that they do not want to happen. They also fear the power of others and what others believe.
Some types of terrorism don't necessarily have to be physical acts, but they can be social attacks on a specific group of people. Even bullying is considered a form of social terrorism. Anyways, serious social terrorism would be on a group of religious people. These are dangerous because they can cause tension between two groups or two countries and would ultimately result in war. War is what terrorists want; it drives them to do terrorist acts so they will result in war and hopefully breakdown a group of people, or a nation.
Main intentions of terrorists are to produce widespread fear in people, and obtain worldwide recognition by way of the media. Terrorists also try to harass, weaken, and embarrass the government in hopes of the government retaliating and make the government appear repressive. These are just a few ways that terrorist try to control the world we live in today.
Terrorism recently is linked to physical acts of crime and violence, some examples of these acts could be bombings, kidnapping, and destruction of property. With todays increasing technology. Pretty much everything is controlled by computers. With this control terrorists have found a new form of terrorism that targets a countries economy and peoples finances. The internet gives terrorists a way to spread their propaganda. Terrorists spread their propaganda through websites almost as soon as the internet started getting popular and people were using it as a main source of communication. In a way this is a not so bad thing because while the terrorists use the internet to gain views and attract attention, they don't realize that they are exposing their selves to the American government and governments in other countries. Some other people it exposes them to the media and the public. So in the long run it can possibly hurt them.
A way that terrorists attack people psychologically is by educing terror. The acts are aimed at the people witnessing the act through media rather then the victims them self. The acts can be targeted at a specific ethnic group or a specific religious group. The reason terrorists do this is to demand change, or a political movement. Often what terrorists try to do is restore their society to how they see their ancestors wanted it and had it back then. In the end no one wants to commit acts of violence to innocent people to keep things just the way they are.
Terrorists don't really aim their affects on the victims of their attacks. The terrorists use the victims as objects that are exploited by them because of their effect on everybody else. For this tactic to work they have to find a way to send the message to the targeted society. Victims are the source that impacts the target society putting the psychological aspect into terrorism. Another step would depend on the media that is available in the target society. Ultimately they would like to control or be in the news sources of that specific place to ensure that people see and take notice to what they have done.
Terrorist tend to run more operations in places where people have individual rights and civil legal protection. They like to think of themselves in a way to make themselves look like their not the bad guy and they try to divert away from repressive governments at the time when they conduct operations wherever possible. In this case an exception is a repressive act which doesn't have the required funds to enforce the proper security measures. Governments that are less fortunate and have few civil liberties will and have suffered less from terrorism than places like the United States.
Terrorists are becoming more and more complex in their abilities for their operations and support. Use of modern technology for intelligence and communication recently has been especially aggressive. Knowledge of new weapons is becoming more available, and the power to purchase important goods is on the rise. These terrorist units that are fortunate enough to have funds to have both technology and trained personnel allows them to act and have almost the same amount of power as many governments in countries around the world. That in itself makes them especially dangerous. Now that terrorism is such a common thing in today's society, terrorists have to do more and more radical acts to catch the eye of the media and to strike fear in the hearts of the targets. This makes countries like America to become a huge target because everybody wants to take out the biggest and baddest county out there. Every group of terrorists wants to make themselves a name and become recognized worldwide.
Mainly today most experts think that there are certain parts of the Middle East such as Pakistan and Afghanistan are the main power points for terrorism. Corruption and lawlessness have driven many people of Islamic faith to turn to terrorists motivated by religion. And religion adds a new perspective to terrorism.