The 1970s: The West’s Collective Response to Terrorism Following Dawson’s Field

  • David Carlton


As will be seen in subsequent detailed chapters, most Western states experienced terrorism in one form or another during the 1970s. But, despite the stark warning that the Dawson’s Field episode had offered, there was remarkably little mutual support among them that went beyond the level of rhetoric. Joint bilateral or multilateral armed action was indeed rare other than when Western states found themselves forced to work together as a result of, for example, hijackings bringing an airliner owned by one state to an airport belonging to another. In short, what was quite exceptional was the voluntary and high-minded action of the British Government in 1977 in sending special forces to assist West Germany in the storming of the Lufthansa airliner at Mogadishu. Much more common were bilateral reproaches between Western states as appeals for assistance were ignored. An example of this came when the French authorities found themselves holding under a false name a suspect who turned out to be Abu Daoud, whom the West Germans claimed had been a prime mover in the Munich Olympics massacre of Israeli athletes in 1972. The French decided to use a legal technicality to avoid extraditing him either to West Germany or to Israel. Instead, they rapidly deported him to Algeria - presumably to avoid the risk of being subject to reprisals directed at French citizens, cities or other assets.


United Nations Western State European Economic Community Hague Convention International Terrorism 
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Copyright information

© David Carlton 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Carlton
    • 1
  1. 1.University of WarwickUK

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