chapter capsules Introduction Chapter
12 pages: The introduction begins with an anecdote describing the event that put the Baader-Meinhof Gang squarely on the German national consciousness: the freeing of Andreas Baader from prison custody with the help of noted journalist Ulrike Meinhof. The three most important characters, Baader, Meinhof, and Gudrun Ensslin, are introduced, each showing telling aspects of their personalities that will be fully developed through the course of the book. Meinhof is nervous, Baader is smug, and Ensslin is confident — together they are about to change Germany society forever.
Though the bulk of The Gun Speaks will focus on the human drama of Ulrike Meinhof and Andreas Baader, the book would be incomplete without some exploration of the zeitgeist of the German decade of 1968-1977. The rest of the introduction will present these fundamental themes:
The members of the Baader-Meinhof Gang were the world’s first celebrity terrorists; indeed they were true media superstars in the relatively new age of television. Because the Baader-Meinhof Gang committed few violent acts during their first two years on the run, young Germans were able to project their own assumptions into a perceived reality of the faction. Young women were especially attracted to the gang; with more than half of its membership being women, the Baader-Meinhof Gang was the mostgender-neutral terrorist faction in history. Young men were aroused by the sheer number of women within the gang’s ranks; they assumed that there must be little competition for sexual partners. Leftists worldwide were inspired by this outlaw band that was putting their revolutionary Marxist theory into practice. For the briefest of times, the Baader-Meinhof Gang made terrorism seem not the work of pathological madmen, but the legitimate vanguard of the political discourse of the day.