In contrast to right-wing political parties, violent groups not only reject the latter principle as do parties but also take 'direct action methods' targeted against minority groups or those deemed responsible for encouraging multiculturalism and rising ethnic diversity One conception of political violence that has become more established in the literature on right-wing political violence is that of hate crime The term hate crime is defined by the OECD as "a crime that is motivated by intolerance towards a certain group within society"15, a so-called bias motivation against characteristics such as religion or race.
Thus, hate crimes are not necessarily conducted out of a wider ideological worldview, but rather just motivated by this bias. Where political violence - for example in the form of hate crimes - ends might thus only become apparent when it is clear where terrorism begins. Definitions and core characteristics of terrorism "Terrorism, simply put, means deliberately and violently targeting civilians for political 18 purpose.
Yet, even though no single, clear-cut definition of terrorism has emerged as a generally accepted one, it is nonetheless necessary to develop a clear-cut working concept of terrorism when undertaking an analysis. In what follows, several concepts of terrorism will be discussed, to then derive solid criteria to be used for the analytical framework of this work. Terrorism, as extensively defined by Bruce Hoffman, can be conceptualized as being "the deliberate creation and exploitation of fear through violence or the threat of violence in the pursuit of political change.
All terrorist acts involve violence or the threat of violence. Terrorism is specifically designed to have far-reaching psychological effects beyond the immediate victim s or object of the terrorist attack. Terrorism is designed to create power where there is none or to consolidate power where there is very little. Through the publicity generated by their violence, terrorists seek to obtain the leverage, influence and power they otherwise lack to effect political change on either a 19 local or an international scale. Louise Richardson develops seven crucial characteristics of terrorism that partly overlap with those mentioned above.
Richardson additionally points out that terrorism - most importantly - is the deliberate targeting of civilians. Those crucial elements are the shocking nature of the violent act often conducted against targets with symbolic character, designed to produce a far-reaching psychological impact, a general climate of extreme fear amongst a wider target group, as the attack is not only aimed at the immediate victims, but at a wider audience, to eventually influence the behavior of governments or communities according to the political aims of the perpetrators Problematic hereby is however, that for many of the criteria given, it remains unclear how they should be interpreted: How far should a far- 19 Hoffman 20 English 21 Richardson What Terrorists want : 20ff.
What is a wider target group? This seems to be open to the respective context, but also leaves room for a loss of intersubjective comprehensibility. He highlights the "threat potential" of terrorism as a definitional element.
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This potential, according to him, "makes it possible for terrorist groups to exert permanent pressure on certain targeted groups, that is, to 'terrorize' them in an unspectacular way such that members of the particular targeted group must, at any time and now also in any place expect to become 23 victims of power. Heitmeyer also suggests that the acts of right-wing groups should be taken into account when analyzing terrorism, as these groups are well able to turn certain neighborhoods or areas into what he calls 'zones of fear', so that they fulfill the central terrorist criterion of placing people in a permanent state of fear.
However, the problems with this extension of the common definitional framework of terrorism are somehow obvious: If one takes into account not only groups that openly conduct shocking terrorist attacks to instill fear within a wider group - but rather also unspectacular acts-, then how are we to differentiate forms of violence? Such a conceptual stretching or the blurring of lines between several forms of political violence and terrorism does not only make straight-forward analysis difficult, but does also lead to problems when trying to find practical approaches against these different forms of violence.
It therefore remains necessary to work with a concept of terrorism seen as extraordinary and that encompasses clear-cut criteria.
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Right-wing terrorism and the German context "[R]ight-wing extremist terrorism [can be] briefly defined as the systematic use or threat of 25 violence to intimidate categories of people for political purposes. What differentiates right-wing terrorism from right-wing extremist violence is, according to Thomas Grumke, the fact that violence is used systematically to generate political changes, instead of occurring spontaneously out of everyday-situations Even though minister of the Interior, Hans-Peter Friedrich, called the National Socialist Underground "a new form of right-wing extremist terrorism"28 very quickly after the acts of the NSU were uncovered, many German authors and scholars have argued that right-wing terrorism in Germany is not a new phenomena Without going into too much detail at this point, it can be said that especially in the early s, there have been acts and groups widely considered as right-wing terrorism.
These groups conducted violent attacks with explosives or weapons on behalf of a national-socialist ideology, such as the so-called "Deutsche Aktionsgruppen" or the "Wehrsportgruppe Hoffmann" Against this historical background, scholars such as Armin Pfahl-Traughber argue that one can see a specific concept of right-wing terrorism in the German context: "This […] includes the willingness of politically motivated use of force in the name of nationalism or racism combined with the integration into a small group of like-minded 31 associates, who regularly conduct attacks as part of a long-term political strategy.
Earlier forms of right-wing terrorist attacks, for example, didn't go along with confessional messages - neither in Germany, nor with other right-wing terrorist attacks in Europe, such as the attack of the Bologna-station of Italian neofacists. Several authors as well as the Commission of Enquiry working on the NSU also point to the principle of 'leaderless resistance' that was prominent in the right-wing scene since the s However, in their final report, the Commission of Enquiry stated that the German Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution had missed to compare the happenings in Germany with similar acts in Europe, as the NSU was likely to be influenced by prevailing concepts Thus, when looking at the case of the NSU and analyzing whether or not it can be seen as terrorist, it is necessary to keep these specifics in mind and to include them into the analysis.
Conceptual thresholds, differentiation and frameworks for analysis To be able to distinguish far-right terrorism from political violence, it is necessary to derive clear analytical guidelines and criteria from the definitional concepts illustrated afore. However, political violence in particular is a diffuse and ambiguous concept.
And secondly, on the specific context and the characteristics of the case under investigation. Thus, for the study at hand, a clear-cut working definition of terrorism must rather suffice to show where right-wing terrorism begins. As the scope of this work is limited, it shall thus only be analyzed whether the actions of the NSU can be seen as terrorism. If it turns out that the NSU - as some have proposed - cannot be seen as terrorist, further research of what exact form of political violence it represents instead must be conducted elsewhere.
However, from the debate on the conventional concepts of terrorism, some characteristics can be drawn to be applied in a case analysis.
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In addition, criteria can be added to incorporate the specific contextual attributes of the case under investigation. These criteria shall be listed and used as categories for an exemplary, qualitative content analysis, structured in two layers. These five criteria can be seen as central and overlapping criteria discussed in the literature. In what follows, this analytical framework shall be exemplarily applied to text-material on the NSU following a qualitative content analytical approach.
These documents will then be analysed following a qualitative content-analytical approach as suggested by Philipp Mayring. In what fallows, the main findings along each category will be discussed. However, due to the limited scope of this work, this is only a part of the evidence found in the material, whereas the rest can be found in the Appendix. Even though the NSU have not - during the period of their killings - openly communicated a political message or demands, this shows that there was, indeed, a political background to the murders, and that the political status quo, a multicultural society, was not acceptable for the group The use or threat of violence As is apparent when looking at the case of the NSU, violence was used on a high scale.
Between and , the NSU committed nine murders against migrants or persons with migrant background, conducted two bomb attacks in Cologne with more than 20 injured people and killed a policewoman. Secondly, the articles analysed do only cover some reporting and may thus miss out some viewpoints.
Due to the limited scope of this work, this was inevitable. An exemplary analysis of some newspaper articles leads to similar observations: Here, the focus of reporting lays on the subjective feelings and experiences of migrants in Germany - especially those whose names were on the target-lists of the NSU - and of relatives of the victims after the NSU-happenings. According to these articles, many people with migrant background - especially of Turkish origin and owners of small stores - have stated that since the NSU-killings, they have felt fear of being a potential target of right-wing terrorist attacks themselves Three- 45 quarters of respondents fear there will be further racially motivated killings.
Deliberate targeting of civilians and symbolic character of the acts As the Commission of Enquiry of the German Bundestag states, the NSU had chosen their victims deliberately: Initially, persons with southern European - mainly Turkish - origin should be randomly selected - according to their racial beliefs - and murdered by shootings.
In addition, they also had investigated symbolic targets such as Turkish or Islamic facilities, as well as politicians. Altogether, the killings of the NSU seem to fulfil the criterion of deliberate and de-individuated targeting civilians used to shock a larger audience. Communication of a message to a broader audience - or clandestine acting? The trio had to be content with the 52 knowledge of what they had done.
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Since the actions were not even attributed to right-wing extremism, it is questionable whether they were meant to be self- explanatory On the other hand, the argument that the acts can themselves be seen as some sort of message is supported in several of the analysed texts. Specifics of right-wing terror: Ideological basis and cell structure The criteria specific for right-wing terrorism in Germany and Europe since the Second World War can be evaluated very briefly. What can this tell us about the question of the conceptual boundaries between far-right political violence and terrorism?
To give clear-cut answers to these questions might, in the end, not be possible - especially not when it comes to generalizations. However, two important conclusions can be derived from an exemplary analysis of the case of the National Socialist Underground in Germany. This is clear in points such as the use of violence, the deliberate targeting of civilians and the underlying political motives of the actions.
Did the actions of the NSU create a broader psychological impact and climate of fear and shock beyond the immediate victims? They certainly have created fear and institutional mistrust amongst the wider potential target group of the NSU, thus amongst many people with migrant background, even if not amongst the society as a whole. A second, debatable point is the criteria of the communication of a broader message. Here, several competing arguments dominate in the official governmental reports, amongst authors of online articles as well as within the more academic debate.
However, even though a clearly pronounced message was not communicated by the NSU and their political demands stayed unknown, there were, firstly, some signs that the group wanted the murders to be perceived as serial, and that they had prepared for communicating their message to a wider public. Secondly, if the happenings are put into the context of right-wing terrorism in Germany and Europe, it can be argued that clandestine acting for the purpose of the end - the eliminations as such - is common for historical cases.
This would then mean, that if in cases of right-wing political violence specific criteria are added to the conventional concept of terrorism, the criterion of the communication of a message to a broader audience - namely the act itself - could be considered fulfilled in the actual case of the NSU. In conclusion of the exemplary analysis of the case of the NSU, it shall therefore be argued that the actions of the group can be seen as terrorism - when putting the case in its historical context and, therefore, expanding the definitional criteria of terrorism.
They clearly go beyond what would be considered as hate crime, as they certainly underlay a wider ideology. It can be said, however, that when trying to distinguish far-right political violence such as hate-crimes from terrorism, it is important to view the specific case in its context. Whilst the conventional terrorist criterion of the psychological impact of an act and creation of a climate of fear beyond the immediate victims is important in any case when trying to distinguish terrorism from other forms of political violence, the criterion of spreading a message to a broader audience might be amended when looking at cases in Europe, as in this context, the act itself might be the message.
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