The Darkest Sides of Politics, I: Postwar Fascism, Covert Operations, and Terrorism, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Darkest Sides of Politics, I

Postwar Fascism, Covert Operations, and Terrorism, 1st Edition

By Jeffrey M. Bale


516 pages

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Paperback: 9781138785618
pub: 2017-08-29
Hardback: 9781138785601
pub: 2017-09-08
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pub: 2017-09-04
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This book examines a wide array of phenomena that arguably constitute the most noxious, extreme, terrifying, murderous, secretive, authoritarian, and/or anti-democratic aspects of national and international politics. Scholars should not ignore these "dark sides" of politics, however unpleasant they may be, since they influence the world in a multitude of harmful ways.

The first volume in this two-volume collection focuses on the history of underground neo-fascist networks in the post-World War II era; neo-fascist paramilitary and terrorist groups operating in Europe and Latin America in the 1960s and 1970s; and the manipulation of those and other terrorist organizations by the security forces of various states, both authoritarian and democratic. A range of global case studies are included, all of which focus on the lesser known activities of certain secular extremist milieus.

This collection should prove to be essential reading for students and researchers interested in understanding seemingly arcane but nonetheless important dimensions of recent historical and contemporary politics.


"Drawing from a remarkably broad array of sources and cases, Jeffrey Bale sheds light on the politics, tactics and ideology of various extremist groups in Europe's recent history. Masterful." - Lorenzo Vidino, Director, Program on Extremism, George Washington University, USA.

"In an age where ahistorical tunnel visions, politically corrected half-truths, and socially mediated platitudes dominate the understanding of extremism, and where specialist academic insights have been devalued by an abundance of journalistic counterfeits, this is a refreshing volume, exciting even. Anyone keen to get to grips with the threat posed by the contemporary far-right or appreciate its long-term roots without recourse to sensationalist clichés is recommended to start here. With its companion volume covering more recent developments, The Darkest Sides of Politics is a rare example of a history of post-1945 extremism by someone with the language-ability, scholarship, passion for forensic investigation, and iconoclastic attitude towards established and establishment perspectives that are needed to reconstruct violent events on the right with due regard to their profound socio-political, ideological, and religious drivers. It is the sort of book that counter-terrorism agencies should read, but almost certainly will not." - Roger Griffin, Oxford Brookes University, UK.

"Jeffrey Bale is the world’s leading expert on right-wing terrorism and one of the most scrupulous and intellectually provocative researchers in modern social sciences. This long-awaited volume is a meticulously researched, uniquely informative and genuinely fascinating treatise of post-war international fascism and extremist subversion in Europe and elsewhere." Anton Shekhovtsov, author of Russia and the Western Far Right: Tango Noir

"I know of no other expert worldwide with the depth and breadth of knowledge of extremist ideologies possessed by Dr. Bale. The Darkest Sides of Politics reveals what for many readers – even seasoned scholars – will be new facets of the complex undercurrents of political extremism that plague global society."

Gary Ackerman, Ph.D., Director, Unconventional Weapons and Technology Division, National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), USA.

Table of Contents

1 Introduction: ideologies, extremist ideologies, and terrorist violence

2 Political paranoia versus political realism: on distinguishing between bogus conspiracy theories and genuine conspiratorial politics

3 Postwar neo-fascist internationals, part 1: Nazi escape networks, the Mouvement Social Europeenne, Europaische Neu-Ordnung, and Jeune Europe

4 Postwar "neo-fascist" internationals, part 2: Aginter Presse and the "strategy of tension" in Italy

5 The December 1970 "Borghese coup" in Rome

6 The May 1973 terrorist attack at Milan police HQ: anarchist ‘propaganda of the deed’ or ‘false-flag’ provocation?

7 Concluding thoughts on the terrorist "strategy of tension" in Italy

8 The ultranationalist right in Turkey and the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II

9 ‘National revolutionary’ groupuscules and the resurgence of ‘left-wing’ fascism: the case of France’s Nouvelle Resistance

About the Author

Jeffrey M. Bale is Professor in the Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, USA.

About the Series

Extremism and Democracy

This series covers academic studies within the broad fields of ‘extremism’ and ‘democracy’, with volumes focusing on adjacent concepts such as populism, radicalism, and ideological/religious fundamentalism. These topics have been considered largely in isolation by scholars interested in the study of political parties, elections, social movements, activism, and radicalisation in democratic settings. A key focus of the series, therefore, is the (inter-)relation between extremism, radicalism, populism, fundamentalism, and democracy. Since its establishment in 1999, the series has encompassed both influential contributions to the discipline and informative accounts for public debate. Works will seek to problematise the role of extremism, broadly defined, within an ever-globalising world, and/or the way social and political actors can respond to these challenges without undermining democratic credentials.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General