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Baader-Meinhof Gang

aka Red Army Faction

This Communist group, which was named for Andreas Baader and leftist journalist Ulrike Meinhof, terrorized West Germany in the 1970s. The gang (which called itself the Red Army Faction [RAF]) engaged in bombing campaigns and assassinations, including attacks against U.S. Army bases.

The Baader-Meinhof Gang emerged from the German student protest movement of the late 1960s. Originally focused on university reform, the student movement soon took on distinct leftist characteristics as it agitated against the Vietnam War and U.S. imperialism. Students were also highly critical of German society's reluctance to confront the Nazi past, with those on the radical fringe contending that the West German government was merely a continuation of that fascist state. The radical fringe supplied most of the Baader-Meinhof Gang's members, most prominently Gudrun Ensslin, a former graduate student and longtime activist.

In March 1968, Ensslin, her lover Baader, ...

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