This book analyses the rise and decline of the Basque terrorist group Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA, Basque Homeland and Freedom). ETA declared a unilateral ceasefire in November 2011, bringing to a close a campaign of political violence that started in the late 1960s. By the beginning of the twenty-first century, the overwhelming majority of secession supporters agreed that an independent Basque homeland would be realised through ‘ballots’ and not ‘bullets’.

Providing an inter-disciplinary overview of radical Basque nationalism that pays special attention to the drivers for ETA’s decline, defeat and disbandment, this book includes chapters by historians, political scientists and sociologists who offer three important theoretical and empirical contributions to the literature on nationhood and security studies. Firstly the book re-assesses the military conflict that opposed ETA and the Spanish state, by paying special attention to tactical and strategic considerations as well as the counter-terrorist policy itself. Secondly it provides an original interpretation of the politics of fear which surrounded the process of victimization, as well as assessing the extent to which the issue of violence led to the polarisation of citizens. Thirdly the authors examine the historical narratives and rituals that contributed to the production and reproduction of identity binaries and memories of war.

Arguing that the defeat of ETA must be contextualised within the strategic evolution of Basque nationalism, the declining resonance of the radical message and the effectiveness of the Spanish counter-terrorist effort, this book is essential reading for students and scholars working in the areas of European politics, nationalism and terrorism studies.

chapter |16 pages


ByRafael Leonisio, Fernando Molina, Diego Muro

part I|68 pages

ETA and the Spanish state

chapter 1|16 pages

The origins of ETA

Between Francoism and democracy, 1958–1981
ByGaizka Fernández

chapter 2|19 pages

ETA during democracy, 1975–2011

ByDiego Muro

chapter 3|15 pages

Democratisation of the Spanish state

Between extreme right-wing violence and police brutality, 1978–1987
ByJosé Antonio Pérez

chapter 4|16 pages

Democratic politics and the strength of the rule of law, 1992–2015

ByÓscar Jaime-Jiménez

part II|78 pages

The politics of fear

chapter 5|16 pages

Epic, memory and the making of an uncivil community

ByJesús Casquete

chapter 6|15 pages

The practice of killing

Perpetrators and accomplices
ByJavier Gómez

chapter 7|18 pages

The impact of ethno-nationalist violence

Comparing the experiences of victims of ETA and paramilitaries in Northern Ireland 1
ByJavier Argomaniz

chapter 8|20 pages

Between fear, indignation and indifference

Basque public opinion and socio-political behaviour facing terrorism
ByRafael Leonisio, Raúl López

part III|68 pages

Narratives and memory

chapter 9|19 pages

Historical narratives, violence and nation

Reconsidering ‘the Basque conflict’
ByMartín Alonso, Fernando Molina

chapter 10|17 pages

The battle for the past

Community, forgetting, democracy
ByLuis Castells, Antonio Rivera

chapter 11|17 pages

Basque violence in the international academy 1

ByFrancisco Javier Caspistegui

chapter |13 pages


ByRafael Leonisio, Fernando Molina, Diego Muro