(b. 1943?, Munich, Germany—d 18 October 1977, Stuttgart, West Germany) The son of middle-class parents, Baader began his career as an anarchist and terrorist by participating in student protests in West Germany in the 1960s. In 1968 he was arrested and jailed for setting a series of fires in Frankfurt department stores. He formed, with Ulrike Meinhof, the Red Army Faction (Rote Armee Fraktion) (qv), better known as the Baader-Meinhof Gang (qv), ostensibly to carry out urban guerrilla warfare against German materialism and the United States military presence in Europe. In fact, the Baader-Meinhof Gang concentrated on bank robbery for personal gain as much as to carry forward the espoused cause. Arrested and imprisoned, Baader was broken out of jail by his gang and set out upon a series of political assassinations and terrorist attacks. He was again captured in 1977 and sentenced to life imprisonment. In an attempt to free him, Palestinian terrorists hijacked a Lufthansa airliner enroute from Germany to Majorca. After the hijacking failed at Mogadishu, Somalia, and all the hijackers were killed or captured, Baader and two fellow gang members were found dead in their prison cells, supposedly having committed suicide upon finding out the hijacking to gain their release had failed.. See Red Army Faction and Baader-Meinhof Gang.
Also known as the Red Army Faction (qv), this West German terrorist gang was led by Andreas Baader (qv) and Ulrike Meinhof, both of whom died in prison. Although supposedly committed to the overthrow of the capitalist system, many of their acts of terrorism, such as bank robberies, were better characterized as criminal, with the intent to receive money for personal use. With the death of the two leaders the gang has become a minor threat. See Red Army Factions. Reading: Joanna Wright, Terrorist Propaganda: The Red Army Faction and the Provisional IRA, 1968-86 (1991); Stefan Aust, The Baader-Meinhof Group: The Inside Story of a Phenomenon (1987).