terminology Red Army Faction

RAF or
Rote Armee Fraktion

The Red Army Faction was the name that the Baader-Meinhof Gang chose for itself. The intent was to portray themselves as faction of a much larger Revolutionary army. Some in the group would later claim that the name was created almost as a joke; modeled after Japan’s “Red Army” terrorists, and also named after the Soviet Union’s “Red Army.” The logo of the Red Army Faction featuring the Hechler and Koch machine pistol.

The RAF almost completely ceased to exist in mid-1972, when the original leaders were jailed, but within the next few years it would be virtually totally revitalized when another group, the SPK, disbanded and remnants of that group joined the RAF. This was the so-called “second generation” RAF; there would be third, and (some would say) fourth and fifth generations as the RAF continued its activities right up into the mid-1990s.

On 20 April 1998, the German BKA announced that an eight-page fax received by the Reuters news agency, claiming that the RAF was disbanding, was authentic. After almost 28 years of terror, and over 30 murders, the RAF was dead.