States and Terrorism in the Cold War: Myth and Reality

Adrian  Hänni's picture
Call for Papers
July 1, 2016
Subject Fields: 
Contemporary History, Diplomacy and International Relations, Political History / Studies, Political Science, World History / Studies

Dear colleagues,


We are calling for papers for a volume on "States and Terrorism in the Cold War: Myth and Reality”.


Accounts of the relationships between states and terrorist organizations in the Cold War era have long been shaped by speculation, a lack of primary sources and even conspiracy theories. In the last few years, however, things have evolved rapidly. Several original research projects for a wide range of states, areas and time periods, which are based on archival documents, have shed new light on the relations between government actors and terrorists. The new body of research demonstrates that these relationships were not only much more ambiguous, complex and multilayered than much of the older literature had suggested but are, in fact, crucial for the understanding of global political history from the 1950s through the 1980s.       


We think that it is now time to collect the various new insights in a volume that presents the current state of research and provides a comprehensive assessment. For this purpose, we are accepting paper proposals that deal with any aspects of the relationships between state and terrorist actors during the Cold War era. Particularly, we are interested in:


  • case studies on state support for terrorist organizations by individual states (particularly by NATO, Warsaw Pact or other communist states)
  • case studies on the cooperation with state actors by individual terrorist groups
  • papers that focus on the motives and aims of state actors for cooperation with terrorist organizations and vice versa
  • papers on “secret deals” between states and terrorist groups (e.g. standstill and other defensive agreements, intelligence cooperation etc.)
  • papers analyzing how Middle Eastern states exploited terrorist groups within the context of the Cold War, e.g. as a tool against the regional influence of Western or Eastern powers
  • papers dealing with state support for state terrorism in the Global South
  • papers analyzing mythical narratives or images, rumors and conspiracy theories on state-terrorist relations, especially their emergence and exploitation within the East-West conflict itself


Proposals of approximately 200-400 words should be sent to no later than July 1st, 2016. Papers will be due by late 2016 and will be published as a special issue of the journal Terrorism, the oldest scholarly journal on the topic of terrorism, which was founded back in 1977. Terrorism is edited by the International Center for Terrorism Studies (ICTS) directed by Prof. Yonah Alexander.


The international team of editors (Prof. Yonah Alexander, Dr. Adrian Hänni, Dr. Thomas Riegler and Dr. Przemyslaw Gasztold-Senn) is happy to provide further information and answer your questions. They may be contacted at


Contact Info: 

Dr. phil. Adrian Hänni                                                  

Leiden University, Institute for History                      

Doelensteeg 16, NL-2311 Leiden

Contact Email: