All the stories about trouble in Iraq have got me wondering. When did the practice of suicide bombers develop? Is it related to Japanese kamikazees in WW2, or did it arise independantly? I remember an old Porky Pig cartoon that featured an Arab suicide bomber, so they go back at least to the 1950’s or so.
There are numerous articles which mention the descent of the modern suicide bomber from the Anarchist movement, so I suspect that even though they obviously were not first, they were most influential.
Tuchman’s book, BTW, is incredibly good. We totally forget today the wave of European assassinations (many more than the few heads of state mentioned in that quote) that prefigured WWI and it’s shocking to read of the level of violence that was standard in the day.
Certainly the idea of dying in a suicide attack goes back, at least, to the Vikings. They had the whole “dying and going to paradise to live the rich life” thing down pat millennia before the radical Islamists stole the idea. And not just dying in battle, for them dying in what you knew was a lost cause got you a seat at the head table.
Not quit the same as a suicide bomber but, then, the Norse didn’t have explosives so they just killed as many enemies as possible with hand and bronze before they were finally cut down.