The Long Shadow of the Red Army Faction: How old explanatory models determine today’s discussions on terrorism in Germany

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Thursday, September 29th, 2022

Thursday, September 29, 202212:00PM - 2:00PM108N, North House, 1 Devonshire Place, Toronto, ON, M5S 3K7
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The Red Army Faction’s attack on the West-German state in the 1970s and 1980s still poses one of the most controversial issues in post-war German history. Its historical narratives have repeatedly been referred to and re-interpreted in political discourse and popular culture alike. However, this established, indeed canonized, story of German terrorism still looms large over the debates on terrorism in the 21st century. Thus, it will be argued in this talk, that recent terrorist threats from the radical right have been misinterpreted, and there are still common assumptions within German terrorism discourse that keep on evoking the ghosts of the pasts.

Hanno Balz is a historian of Modern German and European History at Faculty of History, University of Cambridge.

He received PhD at Bremen University and has taught at the Universities of Bremen and Lüneburg and had been an Assistant Professor at the Department of History at Johns Hopkins University (2013-2018).

He has been publishing extensively on the history of the “Red Army Faction” West-German militant group and the legal, intellectual, and political reverberations in West German society that came along with challenging the state. More broadly he works on European social movements from the 1960s to the 1980s as well as on the history of Nazi rule and the Shoah.

His current research concerns the origins of anti-Communism in Germany and history of the Colour Red and symbolism of the Red Flag.


Larysa Iarovenko


Hanno Balz
DAAD Lecturer in Modern German and European History, Director of the MPhil in Modern European History, Fellow of Trinity Hall, University of Cambridge

Rebecca Wittmann
Associate Professor of History at the University of Toronto, Chair of the Department of Historical Studies at UTM

Alexander Reisenbichler
Assistant Professor, the Department of Political Science, Research Coordinator of the Joint Initiative of German and European Studies (JIGES)

Main Sponsor

Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies


Joint Initiative for German and European Studies

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