Stefan Aust
The Baader-Meinhof Complex

Months before the beginning of the third hunger strike, Ulrike Meinhof was to have begun work on writing a basic history of the Red Army Faction. She wanted to call it 'On the Anti-Imperialist Struggle.' The project was known as 'Bassa' in the group's internal jargon, after the Cabora Bassa dam in Mozambique. Ulrike Meinhof made her first notes in handwriting.

'The formation of the RAF in 1970 was in fact of a spontaneous character. The comrades who joined the movement saw it as the only real way of doing their revolutionary duty.

'Nauseated by the proliferation of the conditions they found in the system, the total commercialization and absolute mendacity in all areas of the superstructure, deeply disappointed by the actions of the student movement and the APO, they thought it essential to spread the idea of armed struggle.

'Not because they were so blind as to believe they could keep that initiative going until the revolution triumphed in Germany, not because they imagined they could not be shot or arrested.

'Not because they so misjudged the situation as to think the masses would simply rise at such a signal.

'It was a matter of salvaging, historically, the whole state of understanding attained by the movement of 1967/1968; it was a case of not letting the struggle fall apart again.'

'Teresa is in charge of gathering material for Bassa,' decreed Gudrun Ensslin. 'She has a lot to do, but I don't see it taking years, I'd say a few months to a year, something like that.'

However, Ulrike Meinhof did not make much progress with her work. She did manage to write the statement about the hunger strike for the trial. Baader and Ensslin were obviously not happy with her outline of it, and criticized her harshly. Ulrike Meinhof reacted with self-doubt and self-criticism.

  The World was all before them, where to choose
Their place of rest, and Providence their guide:
They, hand in hand, with wand'ring steps and slow,

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Through Eden took their solitary way.