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on Dec 15th 2000, 14:14:07, van daale wrote the following about


»Generations« of the Red Army Faction
This term is referenced on these pages
Timeline: 1971
Timeline: 1975
Timeline: 1977
Timeline: post-1977
Films: Die Dritte Generation
Who's Who: Terrorists
Questions and Answers

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»Generations« of the Red Army Faction
Depending on the year that you are studying, the members of the Red Army Faction are often described as »the first generation of the RAF,« or the »second generation of the RAF,« and so on.

There are two different meanings for this talk of RAF »generations.« The first, and less prominent meaning, is articulated by filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder in his 1978 film »Die Dritte Generation« (»The Third Generation«). For the definition proposed by that film, the German terrorist movement was divided into three generations. The first generation was the student movement of 1968, which proposed radical action. The second generation was the young radicals such as Ulrike Meinhof and Andreas Baader, who took the theories of the student movement and began waging Revolutionary war. The third generation, as fleshed out by Fassbinder on the screen, was essentially bored young bourgeois Germans who turned to terrorism for kicks. Though it was only partially borne out in reality, this theory was reasonably well accepted at the time, often because it allowed guilty liberals a reason for condemning radical actions without seeming to sell out their own »radical« beliefs.

The second meaning is more accurate. It is an attempt to put the RAF into a historical context by dividing up the RAF into distinct timeframes based on their leadership at a given time. By this definition, the period of 1970 to 1975 was the time of the first generation of the RAF, when the original leadership of Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ensslin, Ulrike Meinhof et al held sway. When former members of the Socialists Patient Collective (SPK) blew up the German Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden in 1975, the so-called »second generation« of the RAF was clearly defined. Many of these members were captured in the years leading up to the 1980s, and a third generation took hold. Some sources cite up to five distinct generations of the RAF from their beginnings until the RAF's demise in 1998, but truthfully beyond 1980 the membership of the RAF was too muddy and ill-defined to truly break it down into distinct groupings.

This is Baader-Meinhof 2000 by Richard Huffman, all images are the property of their respective copyright holders. This page was last modified on Sunday, June 06, 1999 05:13 PM.

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