Germany in the 1970s: Murderous bomb attacks, the threat of terrorism and the fear of the enemy inside are rocking the very foundations of the yet fragile German democracy. The radicalised children of the Nazi generation lead by Andreas Baader, Ulrike Meinhof and Gudrun Ensslin are fighting a violent war against what they perceive as the new face of fascism: American imperialism supported by the German establishment, many of whom have a Nazi past. Their aim is to create a more human society but by employing inhuman means they not only spread terror and bloodshed, they also lose their own humanity. The man who understands them is also their hunter: the head of the German police force Horst Herold. And while he succeeds in his relentless pursuit of the young terrorists, he knows he’s only dealing with the tip of the iceberg.
The film begins on a nude beach in Germany in the late 1960s, where we are introduced to Ulrike Meinhoff, a respected journalist, and her family. Meinhoff and her husband are then guests at a party, where Meinhoff reads off a periodical that she wrote about the injustice of the Iranian Government. With the Shah of Persia arriving into Berlin, there is a rally in the streets, where half the people are protesting the injustice and the other half are praising. As the protesting goes on, the Iranian people end up going into the crowd and fighting the innocent German protesters with the help of the German Police; leaving many injured and a man killed. The next scene is of Meinhoff at a television studio arguing why she favors the protesters side instead of the Governments side, and watching the live recording on her television is Gudrun Ensslin, another activist. She explains to her parents how American Imperialism is completely corrupt while Meinhoff walks in on her husband having sex with another woman. Next, we are introduced to Andreas Baader, the ringleader of these revolutionaries who decide to name themselves The Red Army Faction (RAF). Their first major rebellious occurrence takes place in a department store, where they decide to set home made bombs and light it on fire. On a television broadcast we are informed of the many student protests at universities across America and of protests in West Germany, being led by Rudi Dutschke. The film then cuts to a famous rally where Dutschke announced his views on the protest and wars occurring around the world, trying to spark everyone to join their resistance. Rudi Dutschke is then almost assassinated by a man who is accused to be from the Springer Group, which is tied to the German Government. In effect, many activists go to the Springer Group headquarters and riot. As we see there are many demonstrating protesters rioting around the world, Baader and Ensslin are in court confessing about the department store fires. As her parents discuss how they are surprised by her actions, Meinhoff eavesdrops and takes heavy interest in what they say about Ensslin. While Ensslin is in jail, Meinhoff decides to visit her and finds out that she is dedicated to fighting back against the German State. The next scene introduces Peter Boock, an activist that was almost beat to death for fighting back to police in jail, and we see that the RAF now has a main house for everyone to stay in. With the new Chancellor of Germany claiming that the rebellion will diminish soon, a man that runs the terrorist unit disagrees, stating that he believes it is only going to get worse. Baader and Ensslin leave Germany and go to Italy in 1970, where they meet their lawyer to talk about some things. He exclaims that they come back to Berlin illegally, saying that a new revolutionary group has formed and they have access to weapons, guns, money, etc. To make sure that the lawyer is not all talk, Baader demands that he empties a womans purse; which he does. Baader and Ensslin head to Berlin, where they go to Meinhoffs house to crash, saying that they have come back to Germany to change the political situation or die trying. As Baader speeds down the freeway in a stolen car, he gets pulled over and taken to prison, for the German Government wants him. In effect, Ensslin demands that they get him out right away, for he cannot wait ten months in prison. With Meinhoff setting up a fake interview with Baader at a Social Institute, Ensslin and the others plan on raiding the place with guns so Baader can escape; it is a success. This is a turning point in the film because Meinhoff decided to jump out the window with the revolutionists instead of just sitting in the room pretending not to know what happened. The escape is publicized heavily on German television, calling Baader, Ensslin, and Meinhoff terrorists and they head off to Jordan to get some military training. In Jordan, Baader has several falling outs, especially with Meinhoffs significant other, who becomes a traitor to the group and decides he wants to go back to Germany. After the training, they head back to West Berlin where they rob several banks, using their skills they received in Jordan. Being named Germany Most Wanted, the Baader- Meinhoff group is announced to by sympathized with by an estimated 7 million people in Germany, which makes it so hard for them to be brought to justice. The terrorist unit exclaims that they can mathematically find the terrorist group by using Government official reports because it will inevitably lead to where the group is living. The next scene is a changing point, two members of the group are killed in a shoot out with police after trying to flee from a police block on the road. In effect, the Baader-Meinhoff group claims that to be war and goes ahead and sets off bombs at police headquarters, U.S. Embassy, and other government buildings. The German Government decides to have all government officials are under federal control for one day in West Germany so they can track down the remaining members of the RAF. The next scene consists of Baader and two other RAF members finally being arrested, just before retrieving more bombs from a garage to do some more damage on the country. After Baader is arrested, Ensslin also gets arrested when she is shopping for some new clothes, and Meinhoff gets arrested when police raid their hide out. In prison, all the major members of the RAF are separated and put into isolation. On television, everyone watches the tragedies that happened at the Munich Olympic Games with the Israeli team and it stuns Germany, claiming that this violent state is not over yet. The film cuts to 7 months later, where Meinhoff talks about how life in prison is the absolute worst; so the whole group decides to go on a hunger strike, demanding that they get better treatment just because they are political revolutionists. Next, Holger Meins, who is dying in jail, does not get any help from a doctor to try to save his life, he exclaims that they are allowing him to die, which he does. With the RAF member trial approaching, new revolutionary members storm the German Embassy in Stockholm to try to prove a point, that this war is not over. However, with the operation being such a failure, Baader is very upset and when the trial begins he declares that he is incapable of standing trial, for he cannot cooperate with the government. With the continuous argument being about isolation, they finally allow Meinhoff to be in Ensslins cell, but it goes sour when Meinhoff realizes Ensslin is changing everything she is writing because she calls it depressing. While the remaining members meet on the rooftop of the prison, they exclaim that they must escape the prison or they will be killed by the government. The film then goes to February 1976, and things are really looking bad for the three inmates, especially Meinhoff, who has grown a separation between the rest of the group. She demands that in solitary confinement, the only way to show one has changed is betrayal, which the others agree she has done to the RAF. In effect, Meinhoff is found dead in her cell, which it is claimed she committed suicide. With the RAF trial getting lots of hype in the media, Germany decides to transfer another main RAF member to the same prison as Ensslin and Baader, and fortunately for her, she gets to walk within 7 months of being there; she immediately goes back to the underground. The plan is to get Baader and Ensslin out of prison, or else they will end up dead like the others. Immediately, numerous people are killed for the blaming of the members being murdered in prison. They send out a secret code to the current RAF members that they have little time left, for they believe they will be killed shortly. In effect, they plan a huge massacre in order to kidnap an important government official so they have a hostage. The police decide to take away all communication from the prisoners and gets rid of all their electricity, so they do not know whats going on. The two members of the RAF go down to Iraq and get a plane hijacking together, saying they must let them out of prison. We are then informed that with times changing, terrorism has become profitable for many countries and that someone from the outside is going to come kill them. The next morning, all of the RAF members in the prison are found dead. The film ends with the new generation RAF members taking the kidnapped man into the forest and killing him.