1968 April 11, 1968 West Berlin

A young house painter, Joseph Bachmann, waits patiently in the street outside the home of Rudi Dutschke. Dutschke is the firebrand leader of the APO — a leftist movement. In Bachmann’s coat pocket is a gun. Bachmann shoots Dutschke three times, knocking him clean out of his shoes. Dutschke survives his shooting. Immediately following the shooting Bachmann hides out in a basement of a local building, and swallows 20 sleeping tablets in an effort to commit suicide. The effort fails.

Enraged students assume that the reason Dutschke was targeted is because of the red-baiting rhetoric of the newspapers of the Springer Press newspapers. Owned by the rabidly anti-communist Lord Axel Springer, the Springer Press papers dominate Germany, constantly spewing anti-left diatribes, particularly against “red” Rudi Dutschke.

Thousands of students converge on the 20-story Springer Press headquarters that straddles the Berlin Wall. Ulrike Meinhof is there, having driven there with her konkret editor (and future Baader-Meinhof biographer) Stefan Aust. Many students have parked their cars in front of the building, forming a blockade. Aust suggests that Meinhof park her car in the blockade, but she isn’t so sure she wants to get involved to such an extent. They compromise by parking her car at the very end of the blockade, but Meinhof is arrested anyway. Later she avoids conviction by persuading the court that she is only guilty of a fantastically poor parking job. Tentative as it is, Meinhof’s poor parking job is her first direct action against the capitalist system. It would not be her last.

Source Document: Stars and Stripes article about Dutshke attack