a hand grenade with typewritten text

Televisionaries: The Red Army Faction 1963-1993

by Tom Vague Author

We are rarely astounded by a book, but Televisionaries is a powerful read to absorb. The Red Army Faction had innocuous beginnings in Germany in the early 60s. The name was a joke—crossing Royal Air Force and the Red Army. A handful of people informally banded together to protest the Vietnam War, the continuance of Fascism in the BRD, and to support the Palestinian cause. The Socialist Student Movement planned to lob custard pies at American VP, Hubert Humphrey. The student movements heated up rapidly after protests were staged against the Shah of Iran's visit to Berlin. In the first violence to occur, student, Benno Ohnesorg was shot in the head by the Popo (Political Police). Things rapidly escalated, and disintegrated from this incident. A few bombs, demonstrations, and brief jail sentences later, the group is off training with the PLO. By 1972, the RAF is responsible for several devastating bombings at American bases in the BRD, and it's clear that the German government has a serious problem on its hands. The German authorities captured and 'dealt' with leading members of the RAF, and it's not a pretty picture. The original, and incarcerated RAF members were an attractive nuisance for the government, and the Second Generation RAF committed bigger, bolder, and more violent acts--freeing their imprisoned comrades became an imperative. Over the next two decades, the RAF--which mutated and was in a continual state of flux--rampaged through Germany. The far more brutal Second Generation RAF kidnapped industrialists, politicians and judges--often murdering their hostages. The Second Generation RAF even hijacked planes in an attempt to swap hostages for imprisoned RAF members. Carlos, the Jackal, aided the RAF in one hijacking episode. Black and white photographs accompany the text. There are surprisingly few books on the subject of the RAF. "Televisionaries" delivers informative--and chilling information.