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  • Baader Meinhof Complex, The

Baader Meinhof Complex, The (ATOM Study Guide)

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    On 11 September 2001, Islamist terrorists flew two planes into the World Trade Center buildings in New York, and one into the Pentagon Building in Washington, DC. For the United States and much of the rest of the western world, the modern era of terrorism had begun.

    In 1977, something comparable in its significance and effects had already occurred in West Germany. Murderous bomb attacks, the threat of terrorism and the fear of the enemy inside rocked the very foundations of the still fragile German democracy. The radicalised children of the Nazi generation led by Andreas Baader, Ulrike Meinhof and Gudrun Ensslin were fighting a violent war against what they perceive as the new face of fascism: American imperialism supported by the German establishment, many of whom had a Nazi past.

    Their aim was to create a more humane society but by employing inhumane means they not only spread terror and bloodshed, they also lost their own humanity.

    The Baader Meinhof Complex (Uli Edel, 2008) presents a dramatised history of the decade 19671977 that saw the rise and eventual fall of the Red Army Faction, or Baader-Meinhof Gang, in Germany.

    Exploring this early example of modern terrorism can help us understand the world we live in today.

    The film is a very detailed and accurate account of a particular group during a particular period of German history. Students today are not likely to be familiar with the films context, but the film can serve as an excellent resource for exploring the concept of terrorism.

    This study guide suggests that a way of doing this is to focus on the question: How can The Baader Meinhof Complex help us to understand modern terrorism?

    By looking at this specific example of terrorism in a detailed context students will be better able to analyse and understand some of the features of modern terrorism.

     

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