Repeated suicide attack was seen for only the first time in of all recorded history in the 1940’s. Japan resorted to this tactic after the fall of Saipan. The Marianas were part of Japan’s inner defense perimeter. Once this had been penetrated, it was obvious that they were losing badly. Many suicide attacks had been seen prior to that point. All were on the tactical level. The attacks were more on the spur of the moment. It was not to be repeated and they were usually not planned well in advance. After the defeat of the carrier air groups in the ‘Marianas Turkey shoot’, it was obvious that conventional methods were failing badly. Japan then began to organize ‘special’ (suicide) attack groups. A number of influential Japanese were horrified by this turn of events, but they were in the minority.
The air force is most commonly remembered. However, it took many other forms as well. Among other things, suicide ships and torpedoes were built. Aircraft and other weapons were built to be expendable and cheap to make. "Human bombs" were organized. They strapped explosives to themselves with the intent to jump under a tank or into an U.S. position to blow it up. They were given minimal training. The scary part is that it took nuclear weapons to put an end to it. (Many argue that Japan was on the verge of surrendering anyway, but no doubt the nuclear attacks sped up the Emperor’s decision to intervene.)
The 2nd occurrence of repeated suicide attack has been going on for at least the past 20 years. This method has also evolved from conventional methods. The land that made up Palestine was one of the first to fall to Islam, during the 7th century. Islam expanded at a fantastic rate for the next few hundred years. Islam is considered to have reached a peak at the siege of Vienna in 1529 AD. Since then, Islam has been in slow decline and withdrawal. The formation of Israel can be seen as a breach of Islam’s inner defense perimeter.
Defense of that inner area had been as determined and desperate as that of Japan and the Marianas. Conventional Islamic armies were likewise defeated. The defeat was not as clear-cut because the areas from which the attacks were launched were not threatened.
Once conventional methods had been proven to be a failure, unconventional methods evolved. Like the development of the suicide attack groups by Japan in 1944, they boosted the effectiveness of attacks immeasurably. Of large concern is that the suicide attackers are coming from such a large population and geographical area. This population can be expected to produce far more suicide attackers if the need became obvious.