Red Army Faction


“The Red Army Faction also known as the Baader–Meinhof Group or Baader–Meinhof Gang, was a West German far-left militant organization founded in 1970. Key early figures included Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ensslin, Horst Mahler and Ulrike Meinhof, among others. Ulrike Meinhof was involved in Baader’s escape from jail in 1970. The West German/German government as well as most Western media and literature considered the Red Army Faction to be a terrorist organization. The Red Army Faction engaged in a series of bombings, assassinations, kidnappings, bank robberies and shoot-outs with police over the course of three decades. Their activity peaked in late 1977, which led to a national crisis that became known as the ‘German Autumn‘. The RAF has been held responsible for thirty-four deaths, including many secondary targets, such as chauffeurs and bodyguards, as well as many injuries throughout its almost thirty years of activity. … The usual translation into English is the Red Army Faction; however, the founders wanted it not to reflect a splinter group but rather an embryonic militant unit that was embedded, in or part of, a wider communist workers’ movement, i.e. a fraction of a whole. … The origins of the group can be traced back to the student protest movement in West Germany. Industrialized nations in the late 1960s experienced social upheavals related to the maturing of the ‘baby boomers‘, the Cold War, and the end of colonialism. Newly found youth identity and issues such as racism, women’s liberation, and anti-imperialism were at the forefront of left-wing politics. Many young people were alienated, from both their parents and the institutions of state. The historical legacy of Nazism drove a wedge between the generations and increased suspicion of authoritarian structures in society (some analysts see the same occurring in post-fascism Italy, giving rise to ‘Brigate Rosse‘). … Only Horst Söhnlein complied with the order; the rest went underground and made their way to France, where they stayed for a time in a house owned by prominent French journalist and revolutionary, Régis Debray, famous for his friendship with Che Guevara and the foco theory of guerrilla warfare. Eventually they made their way to Italy, where the lawyer Mahler visited them and encouraged them to return to Germany with him to form an underground guerrilla group. The Red Army Faction was formed with the intention of complementing the plethora of revolutionary and radical groups across West Germany and Europe, as a more class conscious and determined force compared with some of its contemporaries. …”
Wikipedia
BBC: Who were Germany’s Red Army Faction militants?
W – The Baader Meinhof Complex, YouTube: Baader Meinhof Complex – Trailer, YouTube: The Baader Meinhof Complex (English Subs)
W – The Legend of Rita, YouTube: The Legend of Rita – Trailer, YouTube: The Legend of Rita

About 1960s: Days of Rage

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