Tolerating Terrorism in the West: An International Survey

By Noemi Gal-Or | Go to book overview

Chapter 2

The terrorist lobby in West Germany: campaigns and propaganda in support of terrorism

Hans Joseph Horchem

For over fifteen years the Federal Republic of Germany has lived with terrorist attacks. It cannot be foreseen when this particular kind of criminality will end. Most attacks come from the Rote Armee Fraktion (RAF) and the Revolutionaere Zellen (Revolutionary Cells or RZ). The third German terrorist group, the 2nd June Movement, was dissolved in spring 1980. The members of the Berlin element of this organization joined the RZ. The greater part of membership was taken over by the RAF. In the course of the years both the composition of the sympathizers and supporters of German terrorism and the way in which they provide their support have changed.

When the RAF, with its concept of the ‘armed struggle’, became public knowledge, it attracted first the attention, and later the sympathy, of a large number of intellectuals. This lasted mainly until the RAF moved on from simple logistic operations (the procurement of money, vehicles, weapons and personal documentation) to attacks in the course of which individuals were killed and wounded. Afterwards, admittedly, they continued to enjoy understanding for their objectives on the part of their original sympathizers, but not for their acts of violence. Sympathizers who until then had given voice to the same aims as those of the RAF masked their continued intellectual support by criticizing alleged attacks on the part of the security authorities. In this way they made a contribution to the excusing of violence on the part of the RAF. As they saw it, the RAF were only using ‘counter-violence’ against unjustified violence on the part of the state.

After 1977 this sort of transferred sympathy could not longer be justified. In that year the Federal Attorney General, Siegfried

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