Terrorism in Germany
This article needs to be updated.July 2016)(
Germany has experienced significant terrorism in its history, particularly during the Weimar Republic and during the Cold War, carried out by far-left and far-right German groups as well as by foreign terrorist organisations.
In recent years, both far left, far right and Islamist groups have been suspected of terrorism or terrorism plans.
- 1 Weimar Republic
- 2 Islamic terrorism in Germany
- 3 Terrorism in (or involving) West Germany and reunified Germany
- 4 Response to terrorism
- 5 In popular culture
- 6 Further reading
- 7 See also
- 8 References
Germany's loss in the First World War resulted in a chaotic situation, with multiple far-left and far-right organisations attempting to seize power. Both the far left and the far right organised their own militias, and carried out assassinations. For example, the Foreign Minister Walther Rathenau was assassinated in 1922 by a far-right group. Members of the Communist Party of Germany assassinated police captains Paul Anlauf and Franz Lenck in Berlin in 1931.
Islamic terrorism in Germany
Turkish and Kurdish Islamist groups are also active in Germany, and Turkish and Kurdish Islamists have co-operated in Germany as in the case of the Sauerland terror cell . Political scientist Guido Steinberg stated that many top leaders of Islamist organizations in Turkey fled to Germany in the 2000s, and that the Turkish (Kurdish) Hizbullah has also "left an imprint on Turkish Kurds in Germany." Also many Kurds from Iraq (there are about 50,000 to 80,000 Iraqi Kurds in Germany) financially supported Kurdish-Islamist groups like Ansar al Islam. Many Islamists in Germany are ethnic Kurds (Iraqi and Turkish Kurds) or Turks. Before 2006, the German Islamist scene was dominated by Iraqi Kurds and Palestinians, but since 2006 Kurds and Turks from Turkey are dominant.
Since 2010, 15 people have died in Islamic terrorist attacks in Germany and an additional 74 have been injured. There is also a number of violent incidents which are disputed to either have been conducted by Lone-wolf Islamic terrorists or if they were conducted by psychologically sick people.
In 2015, 11 verdicts concerning jihadist terrorism related offences were issued by German courts. In 2016, 28 verdicts for jihadist terrorism related offences were delivered. In 2017 there were 27 verdicts.
Terrorism in (or involving) West Germany and reunified Germany
During the Cold War, especially in the 1970s, West Germany experienced severe terrorism, mostly perpetrated by far-left terrorist groups and culminating in the German Autumn of 1977, the country's most serious national crisis in postwar history. Terrorist incidents also took place in the 1980s and 1990s. Some of the terrorist groups had connections to international terrorism, notably Palestinian militant groups, and were aided and abetted by the communist regime of East Germany.
|Known groups responsible for attacks in Germany|
|Red Army Faction
A left-wing extremist, communist group. Held responsible for numerous bomb attacks, arson, kidnapping and murder of 34 people between 1970 and 1998.
A left-wing extremist, communist group. Held responsible for 1 murder, 296 bomb attacks, arson and other attacks between 1973 and 1995.
|Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
A communist, pro-Palestinian group.
|Black September||National Socialist Underground
A right-wing national-socialist group .Held responsible for the murder of 10 people, 3 bomb attacks and 15 bank-robberies between 1999 and 2007.
A Berlin based left-wing extremist terror group responsible for numerous bombings and arson attacks active in the late 1960's.
|Movement 2 June
An Anarchist terrorist group active between 1972-1980 responsible for numerous bombings,kidnappings and 1 murder.
Held responsible for 9 terrorist attacks in the 1990s.
|Militante gruppe (mg)
Held responsible for 25 arson attacks between 2001 and 2007.
|Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
ISIL is directly responsible for 3 terrorist attacks in Germany and additionally is partly responsible for the radicalization of other lone-wolf Islamist attacks.
|Al-Qaeda||Deutsche Aktionsgruppen||Tupamaros München
Responsible for 24 minor arson- and bombing attacks between 1970-1971 which targeted at the German judiciary and Police.
|Freikorps Havelland||Gruppe Freital||Rachekommando Barbara Kistler||Atomwaffendivision||Antimilitaristische Gruppe||Provisional Irish Republican Army
Targeted British interests in the country.
List of significant terrorist incidents in Germany
- 0 people were killed/injured by the incident.
- 1–5 people were killed/injured by the incident.
- 6–10 people were killed/injured by the incident.
- 11–24 people were killed/injured by the incident.
- 25+ people were killed/injured by the incident.
|Date||Sub||Location||Deaths||Injuries||Type||Perpetrator or motives||Description|
|2 April 1968||Frankfurt||-||-||Arson Attack||Red Army Faction||-- Shopping Mall
|10 February 1970||Munich||1||23||Grenade & Small arms fire||PDFLP (Palestinian nationalists)||-- Airports & airlines
|2 February 1972||Berlin||1||-||Improvised Explosive Device||2 June Movement||-- British Military Vehicles and a British yacht-club (British Armed Forces)|
|11 May 1972||Frankfurt||1||13||Improvised Explosive Device||Red Army Faction||-- Government institutions (Foreign: United States Army)|
|24 May 1972||Heidelberg||3||5||Car bomb||Red Army Faction||-- Government institutions (Foreign: United States Army)|
|5 September 1972||Munich||17
|Black September (Palestinian nationalists)||-- Olympic Games
|7 April 1977||Karlsruhe||3||-||Small arms fire||Red Army Faction||-- Government institutions
|30 July 1977||Oberursel||1||-||Small arms fire||Red Army Faction||-- Business
|5 September 1977||Cologne||5||-||Small arms fire||Red Army Faction||-- Business
|22 August 1980||Hamburg||2
||-||Arson attack||Deutsche Aktionsgruppen Right-wing terrorism||-- Private citizens (Refugees) & property
|27 September 1980||Munich||12
|213||Suicide bombing||Right-Wing Terrorism (perpetrator: Gundolf Köhler)||-- Private citizens & property|
|11 May 1982||Seckbach (Frankfurt am Main)||1||-||High Standard .22 Pistol||Revolutionary Cells (German group)||-- German Politician Heinz-Herbert Karry|
|15 January 1982||Berlin||1||46||Improvised Explosive Device||Palestinian Nationalists||-- Private citizens & property|
|25 August 1983||Berlin||2||23||Improvised Explosive Device||ASALA (Armenian nationalists) and Carlos the Jackal||-- Diplomatic (French)
|1 February 1985||Munich||1||-||Small arms fire||Red Army Faction||-- Business
|19 June 1985||Frankfurt||3||74||Improvised Explosive Device||Abu Nidal Organization||-- Airports & airlines
|8 August 1985||Rhein-Main Air Base||2||20||Car bomb||Red Army Faction & Action Directe||-- Government institutions (Foreign: United States Army)
|4 April 1986||Berlin||3||231||Improvised Explosive Device||Libyan agents||-- Private Citizens & Property|
|9 July 1986||Munich||2||-||Improvised Explosive Device||Red Army Faction||-- Business|
|23 March 1987||Rheindahlen||-||31||Car bomb||Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA)||-- British military base
|19 June 1989||Osnabrück||-||-||Improvised Explosive Device||Provisional Irish Republican Army||-- Government institutions (Foreign: British Army)|
|30 November 1989||Bad Homburg vor der Höhe||1||1||Improvised Explosive Device||Red Army Faction||-- Business
|13 February 1991||Bonn||0||0||Sniper||Red Army Faction||-- Government institutions (Foreign: United States)
|23 November 1992||Mölln||3||-||Incendiary device||-||-- Private Citizens & Property|
|29 May 1993||Solingen||5||14||Incendiary device||-||-- Private Citizens & Property
|17 November 1993||Cologne||-||-||Firearm attack||Anti-Imperialist Cell||-- Property
|27 October 1994||Bad Freienwalde||-||-||Arson attack||Das K.O.M.I.T.E.E.||-- Bundeswehr Building & Property
|28 June 1996||Osnabrück||-||-||Mortar attack||Provisional Irish Republican Army||-- Government institutions (Foreign: British Army)
|9 June 2004||Cologne||-||22||Pipe bomb||National Socialist Underground||-- Private Citizens & Property
|9 September 2000 to 25 April 2007||Heilbronn||10||1||Serial Killing, Small arms fire||National Socialist Underground||-- Government institutions, Private Citizens & Property
|2 March 2011||Frankfurt||2||2||Small arms fire||Arid Uka||-- Government institutions (Foreign: United States Army)
|17 October 2015||Berlin||
|1||Knife attack||Rafik Mohamad Yousef||-- Ayad Allawi (Politician)|
|17 September 2015||Cologne||-||5||Knife attack||Right-wing extremist Frank S.||-- Henriette Reker (Politician)
|1 November 2015||Freital||-||1||Explosive attack||Gruppe Freital (Right-wing extremists)||-- Refugee accommodation|
|5 February 2016||Hanover||-||-||Arson Attack||Saleh S. (Islamist)||-- Civilians
|26 February 2016||Hanover||-||1||Knife attack to neck||Safia S. (Islamist)||-- Government institutions (Police)|
|16 April 2016||Essen||-||3||Improvised Explosive Device||Yussuf T. and Mohammed B. Islamic Terrorism||-- Sikh temple
|19 July 2016||Würzburg||
|5||Axe attack||Riaz Khan Ahmadzai (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant)||-- Private Citizens & Property|
|24 July 2016||Ansbach||
|12||Suicide bombing||Mohammad Daleel (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant)||-- Private Citizens & Property|
|26 September 2016||Dresden||-||-||Pipe bomb||Nino K. Right-wing terrorism||-- Mosque & International Congress Center Dresden
|19 December 2016||Berlin||12||48||Truck attack||Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant||-- Private Citizens & Property|
|28 July 2017||Hamburg||1||5||Knife attack||Ahmad Alhaw (Lone wolf (terrorism))||-- Private Citizens|
|9 March 2018||Lauffen am Neckar||-||-||Arson Attack||Kurdish extremists (youths) Spillover of the(Kurdish–Turkish conflict (1978–present))||--Turkish Mosque|
|11 March 2018||Itzehoe||-||-||Arson Attack||Kurdish extremists (youths) Spillover of the(Kurdish–Turkish conflict (1978–present))||--Turkish Vegetable-market|
|11 March 2018||Berlin||-||-||Arson Attack||Kurdish extremists (youths) Spillover of the(Kurdish–Turkish conflict (1978–present))||--Turkish Mosque|
|12 March 2018||Ahlen||-||-||Arson Attack||Kurdish extremists (youths) Spillover of the(Kurdish–Turkish conflict (1978–present))||--Turkish culture-center|
|1 January 2019||Essen, Bottrop||-||8||Vehicular Attack||Right-wing extremist||-- Private Citizens|
Significant foiled terrorism plots
- 2006 German train bombing plot
- 2007 bomb plot in Germany
- 2015 Eschborn-Frankfurt City Loop
- 2016 Düsseldorf terrorism plot
- 2016 Chemnitz terrorism plot
- 2016 Ludwigshafen terrorism plot
List of international terrorist incidents with significant German casualties
- 11 German nationals died as a result of the September 11 attacks in The United States on 11 September 2001.
- 6 German nationals died as a result of the bombing of several Balinese tourist clubs in Indonesia on 12 October 2002.
- 14 German nationals died as a result of the bombing of a synagogue on the island of Djerba in Tunisia on 11 April 2002.
- 12 out of 13 tourists killed in the January 2016 Istanbul bombing were German
Response to terrorism
The terrorism of the 1970s has formed Germany's political culture and its policy of not negotiating with terrorists. It also led to the formation of the GSG9 counter-terrorism unit. In 1972, a law was passed, the Extremist Act (Radikalenerlass), which banned radicals or those with a 'questionable' political persuasion from public sector jobs.
In popular culture
A number of books and films address this topic.
- Brandstifter (Arsonists) (1969)
- The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum (1975)
- Germany in Autumn (1978)
- The Third Generation (1979)
- The German Sisters (1981)
- Stammheim (1986)
- Die Hard (1988)
- Todesspiel (1997)
- The State I Am In (2000)
- The Legend of Rita (2000)
- Black Box BRD (2001)
- Baader (2002)
- Enemy of the State (2003)
- In Love With Terror (2003)
- Munich (2005)
- The Baader Meinhof Complex (2008)
- Children of the Revolution (2010)
- Barbara Manthe (2018) On the Pathway to Violence: West German Right-Wing Terrorism in the 1970s, Terrorism and Political Violence.
- German Jihad: On the Internationalisation of Islamist Terrorism by Guido Steinberg. Columbia University Press, 2013
- National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism. (2016). Global Terrorism Database (globalterrorismdb_0616dist.xlsx). Retrieved from https://www.start.umd.edu/gtd University of Maryland
- National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism. (2016). Global Terrorism Database (gtd1993_0616dist.xlsx). Retrieved from https://www.start.umd.edu/gtd University of Maryland
- *German Jihad: On the Internationalisation of Islamist Terrorism by Guido Steinberg. Columbia University Press, 2013
- "EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report (TE-SAT) 2016". EU Terrorism Situation & Trend Report (Te-Sat). Europol: 47. 2016. ISBN 978-92-95200-68-5.
- "EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report (TE-SAT) 2017". EU Terrorism Situation & Trend Report (Te-Sat). Europol: 52. 2017. ISBN 978-92-95200-79-1.
- European Union Terrorism Situation and Trend Report 2018 (TE SAT 2018) (PDF). Europol. 2018. p. 58. ISBN 978-92-95200-91-3. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 June 2018. Retrieved 23 June 2018.
- "Salafistische Bestrebungen". Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (in German). 2018-01-15. Archived from the original on 2018-01-15. Retrieved 2019-01-13.
Die Mehrzahl der Salafisten in Deutschland sind keine Terroristen, sondern politische Salafisten. Andererseits sind fast alle in Deutschland bisher identifizierten terroristischen Netzwerkstrukturen und Einzelpersonen salafistisch geprägt bzw. haben sich im salafistischen Milieu entwickelt. [The majority of Salafists in Germany are not terrorists, but political Salafists. On the other hand, almost all hitherto identified terrorist networks and individuals in Germany are influenced by Salafism, for instance having developed in a Salafist environment.]
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- "West German Government Condemns Arab Terrorist Attack on El Al Airline". JTA. 12 February 1970.
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