Ulrike Meinhof and West German Terrorism: Language, Violence, and Identity

Overview

In 1970 Ulrike Meinhof abandoned a career as a political journalist to join the Red Army Faction; captured as a terrorist along with other members of the group in 1972, she died an unexplained death in a high-security prison in 1976. A charismatic spokesperson for the RAF, she has often come near to being idealized as a freedom fighter, despite her use of extreme violence. In an effort to understand how terrorism takes root, Sarah Colvin seeks a dispassionate view of Meinhof and a period when West Germany was ...
See more details below
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (4) from $63.43   
  • New (2) from $63.43   
  • Used (2) from $74.99   
Sending request ...

Overview

In 1970 Ulrike Meinhof abandoned a career as a political journalist to join the Red Army Faction; captured as a terrorist along with other members of the group in 1972, she died an unexplained death in a high-security prison in 1976. A charismatic spokesperson for the RAF, she has often come near to being idealized as a freedom fighter, despite her use of extreme violence. In an effort to understand how terrorism takes root, Sarah Colvin seeks a dispassionate view of Meinhof and a period when West Germany was declaring its own "war on terror." Ulrike Meinhof always remained a writer, and this book focuses on the role of language in her development and that of the RAF: how Meinhof came to justify violence to the point of murder, creating an identity for the RAF as resistance fighters in an imagined state of war that was reinforced by the state's adoption of what Andreas Musolff has called "war terminology." But its all-powerful identity as a fighting group eroded the RAF's empathy with other human beings -- even those it once claimed to be "fighting for." It became a closed unit, self-justifying and immobilized by its own conviction that everything it did must be right. This is the first specialized study of Meinhof and the RAF in English -- which is remarkable given the current interest in the topic in both Europe and the U.S. Sarah Colvin is Professor and Eudo C. Mason Chair of the German Department at the University of Edinburgh, UK.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
(S)hould ignite more interest (in Meinhof in the English-speaking world) . . . . (A)n important contribution to the scholarly literature. . . . Affords an opportunity for monolingual students and scholars to explore the unique experience of West German terrorism and its evolution out of a student movement haunted by the history of the Nazis. MONATSHEFTE Throughout (Colvin) writes with the stylistic assurance which comes from complete mastery of her subject . . . . This is a . . . thoroughly good book which will be required reading for anyone interested in "1968," the German Student Movement, Baader-Meinhof terrorism, or Meinhof biography. MODERN LANGUAGE REVIEW Unusual is that the author conducted archival study, and as a result, is able, by means of publication of excerpts from texts from Meinhof's literary remains, to make substantial contributions to the - now as ever - current discussion about the RAF. . . . Colvin is able to show precisely how the readiness for violent "resistance," which had been reached well before 1968, is laid down in Meinhof's texts. Even in German-language works, no one has approached the author Ulrike Meinhof to this degree. . . . LITERATURKRITIK.DE Archival work at the Hamburg Institute for Social Research expands the base of published sources for (Colvin's) argument and sheds important light on the editorial practices at play in the publication of Meinhof's and the RAF's prison writings. . . . (E)ffectively contests popular accounts of Meinhof's relation to the RAF as a collective. Colvin draws on unpublished archival documents to demonstrate how Meinhof attempted to describe a new, feminine writing of resistance and negotiate the complex relation of individual to collective authorship . . . . GERMAN STUDIES REVIEW
Read More Show Less

Product Details

Meet the Author

University of Edinburgh
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Preface xi

Acknowledgments xiii

Note on the Text xv

Introduction: Terrorists, Language, and the State 1

Language: Why (Else) Would a Terrorist Read Wittgenstein? 2

The Case of Ulrike Meinhof 4

The Context of West Germany 8

Terrorism and Language 11

1 Fighting Talk (1959-69): From the Peace Movement to the Revolutionary Legitimacy of Violence 21

The Riemeck Affair 23

Emergency? 26

Nazis, "New Fascism," and the "New Jews" 27

Terrorists and Resistance Fighters 31

1968 33

Violence 36

The Frankfurt Arsonists 42

2 The Personal Is Political (1966-70): From Feminism to a Language for the Revolution 50

"Die Verhältnisse": Children in Care 51

"Authentic" Politics: The Personal as Political 54

The Politics of the Personal 56

The Staffelberg Project 62

On Solidarity 67

A Language for the Revolution? 69

Beyond Language 72

3 The Shrinking Circle (1970-72): From Die Rote Armee aufbauen to the May Bombings 79

Revolutionary Language: Die Rote Armee aufbauen 80

Das Konzept Stadtguerilla 87

Dem Volk dienen: Stadtguerilla und Klassenkampf 99

Justifying Violence 106

The May Bombings 107

The Frankfurt "Teach-In" 108

A Shrinking Circle 110

4 Drawing a Line Between the Enemy and Ourselves: The Language Trap 116

The RAF versus the Left 117

The RAF versus the East 119

The RAF versus the State 120

"The Right-wing Army Faction": The Left versus the RAF 125

Genscher and the Terrorists: The State versus the RAF 128

Political versus Criminal 136

Nothing in Between: The Language of War 137

5 Violence as Identity: Prison Writing, 1972-76 149

Isolation and Identity 153

Die Aktion des Schwarzen September in München 156

The info 161

Fighting Language 165

Baader, the Guerilla Incarnate: letzte texte von ulrike 172

6 Violence as a Woman's Identity? Terrorism and Gender 188

Ulrike Meinhof's Brain 189

"Something Irrational": Feminism and Terrorism 194

"Cunt Chauvinism" 199

"not raf ... but cunt" 206

A Woman's Place is in the RAF? 215

Conclusion: From Warrior Revolutionaries to Logical Fallacies: Language, Violence, and Identity 225

Identity 228

Violence 229

Language 231

Works Cited 237

Index 251

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)