April 22, 2018
Modern World History
There is a fine line between a guerrilla warrior and a terrorist; while the two may carry similar characteristics, they obtain contrasting motives and use different methods to attack. To be able to distinguish these differences I would consider their goals they are trying to accomplish. A guerrilla warrior is a small group of combats attacking the enemy by surprise by sabotage and ambush meanwhile terrorism is based more upon political or religious reasoning and is substantially more violent and unlawful. Terrorists go about things by inflicting fear by pure destruction whereas guerrilla warriors don’t. Their motive is more for self-indulgence to protect their territory and they do so in a much less violent way.
Although it may be hard to decipher the differences between a guerrilla warrior and a terrorist, let’s put it into perspective. September 11th, 2001 was a notorious day in history for the United States and unfortunately terribly devastating. This was when four airplanes were hijacked by Islamic militants into the World Trade Center in New York City and one into the Pentagon in Washington D.C. Thousands of people were killed including fire fighters and policeman while trying to put out this outrageous mess. This would undoubtedly be considered a terrorist attack and Osma bin Laden confirmed it. While the reasoning behind this tragic event may be unknown, there are some pieces that help us to further understand why they would do something so horrible. According to Prospectmagazine.co, “So in his first statement following 9/11, Bin Laden emphasized the “humiliation” of the Muslim world and the negative effect of US policies in the Middle East.” This same source also states how 9/11 was a clash within Islam. “The view that 9/11 was the result of a conflict within the Muslim world was brilliantly articulated in early 2002 by Middle East scholar Michael Scott Doran. Doran argued that Bin Laden’s followers “consider themselves an island of true believers surrounded by a sea of iniquity and think that the future of religion itself, and therefore the world depends on them and their battle.” This supports how terrorism can be associated with religious tactics but is not only limited since it comes along with other objectives. While many may think 9/11 was the only and worst case of terrorists attacks, there were many other scenarios as well that left people heartbroken.
1954 was the beginning of a long struggle for Vietnam. Although they were under French rule for centuries they finally lost their power after taking advantage of liberty, equality, and the ideals of humanity. The Vietnam War is a war that can be considered as very disastrous and conflictive, causing Vietnam to split into North and South. In the meantime, the Japanese were occupying Vietnam meanwhile the North was communist. Ho Chi Minh was a very crucial figure at this point in time helping Vietnam get one step closer to freedom. According to the first reading “Vietnamese Declaration of Independence, 1945”, “Ho Chi Minh expanded his political base in 1941 when he founded a broader nationalist coalition, the Viet Minh. The Viet Minh fought a guerrilla war against both the Japanese and the French forces.” During this period of time, there were the Viet Minh and the Vietcong. The Viet Minh was more of a group trying to conquer Vietnamese independence meanwhile Vietcong were North Vietnamese communists who went about things for pure destruction. According to Britainica.com, “For the most part the Vietcong fought essentially and guerrilla warfare of ambush, terrorism, and sabotage; they used small units to maintain a hold on the countryside, leaving the main population centres to government authorities”. This supports how with guerrilla warfare, they use different methods and tactics in order to attack. Meanwhile it may be violent; it is more in a surprise attack taking advantage of the territory when larger groups would not be able to do so.
On the contrary, the Third reading goes in detail about the U-2 Incident that occurred in 1960. The U-2 is a United States spy plane that was shot down against the Soviet Union leading to a disturbance in the summit conference in Paris.
Guerrilla Warfare comes along with many different tactics that are important to understand in order to avoid future mishaps. For these fighters, it is all about strategy and fighting to free themselves from those who oppress them of their rights. In Che Guevara’s novel: “Guerrilla Warfare” he speaks through the struggle of helping Fidel Castro and Raul to organize the Guerrilla army in Cuba. He breaks down everything there is to know about a Guerrilla fighter starting with what exactly a Guerrilla fighter is and ending with each tactic they use. A guerrilla fighter is a social reformer that takes up arms responding to angry protests of the people against their oppressors. It is a fight to change the social system. He also states that the ideal guerrilla fighter is a small group attack against a larger force. It’s important to have repetitive attacks from the opponent’s center of gravity with a view to keeping its own casualties to a minimum. So what strategy do they use in order to accomplish their mission safely and effectively. Che says “Strategy is understood as the analysis of the objectives to be achieved in the light of the total military situation and the overall ways of reaching these objectives”. In other words, they need to put into consideration the approach of the enemy. These fighters have to always be thinking about their next move and know what to expect from the opposite force. You must be comfortable and aware of the grounds around you always being ready for attack. Next, is the guerrilla tactics or the methods in achieving their objectives. He stresses that the adjusting of the guerrilla action to the action of the enemy (Guevara, 18). Something very important to consider here that lacks in terrorism is the guerrilla fighter’s acts of sabotage. He gets into detail about how the two of these differ which helps support my argument. “There is one point very much in controversy in opinions about terrorism. Many think that its use, by provoking police oppression, hinders all more or less legal contact with the masses and makes impossible unification for actions that will be necessary at a critical moment”. Sabotage for terrorist is more of hurting or taking the lives of innocent people for their own selfish reasons. There is no need in any shape or form for it to come to this case where thousands of innocent people are dying. I do not agree with terrorism in any way and will never understand how people think this is something that is okay to do.
In contrast to Che Guevara’s novel on guerrilla fighting, Michael Baumann goes about this topic in a more personal way in his book “How It all Began”. He begins telling how his story began, which was with rock music and long hair. He was just a normal guy growing up in West Berlin hanging out at the few hippy joints that were around. In the beginning of Berlin for him, if you had long hair you started to be treated like blacks as in getting thrown out of bars, chased, cursed at, you name it. It also began with him associating himself with the K1, or the first public commue group in West Berlin. Baumann claims these are the people he felt he bonded closely with and had the same music taste. He was very new to this group and didn’t know what he was in for, at first he was just focused on maintaining a better relationship within himself. However, that escalated rather quickly. Once he joined the June 2nd Movement, a terrorist group based in West Berlin, the most notorious urban guerrilla organization. Urban guerrilla fighters are more considered as terrorist than just guerrilla fighters. Their fight with the government is more criminal based than personal or for their rights of freedom. “Later we gave ourselves the name June 2nd Movement to differentiate ourselves from R.A.F. And June 2nd is the day Ohnesorg was shot to death by Kurras” (Baumann, 87).