Aviva Guttmann, The Origins of International Counterterrorism. Switzerland at the Forefront of Crisis Negotiations, Multilateral Diplomacy, and Intelligence Cooperation (1969-1977).

Beatrice de Graaf


In recent years, almost all European countries have been provided with one or more studies historicizing their approach to (counter-)terrorism. Until recently, Switzerland was an exception. That has now changed with Aviva Guttmann’s Ph.D. thesis turned into a Brill monograph, The Origins of International Counterterrorism. As she notes in her opening chapter, Europe was struck by a series of terrorist attacks in the early 1970s -both by domestic groups and by international terrorist organisations. Mainly due to transnational terrorist operations, Guttmann argues, countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and France started to cooperate, bilaterally, and sometimes, in a very ad hoc manner, multilaterally. However, Dutch, Belgian, French and German police officers already exchanged information and intelligence relating to fugitive domestic terrorists like those of the German RAF and, in later years, with the UK on IRA operatives running afoul on the continent. However, with that reservation, Guttmann is correct in noting that governments started to develop more institutionalised policies to counter the threat emanating from international terrorist organisations in the early 1970s. She also correctly notes that the Swiss government played an interesting part in early developments on the intelligence front. This is the history she sought to cover.

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Perspectives on Terrorism is  a journal of the Terrorism Research Initiative and the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies

ISSN  2334-3745 (Online)

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