The laws of terrorism: Representations of terrorism in German literature and film

  • Representations of the reasons and actions of terrorists have appeared in German literature tracing back to the age of Sturm und Drang of the 18th century, most notably in Heinrich von Kleist's Michael Kohlhaas and Friedrich Schiller's Die Räuber, and more recently since the radical actions of the Red Army Faction during the late 1960s and early 1970s, such as in Uli Edel's film, The Baader Meinhof Complex. By referring to Walter Benjamin's system of natural law and positive law, which provides definitions of differing codes of ethics with relation to state laws and personal ethics, one should be able to understand that Michael Kohlhaas, Karl Moor, and the members of the RAF are indeed represented as terrorists. However, their actions and motives are not without an internal ethics, which conflicts with that of their respective state-sanctioned authorities. This thesis reveals the similarities and differences in motives, methods, and use of violence in Schiller, Kleist, and representations of the RAF and explores how the turn to terrorism can arise from a logical realization that ideologies of state law do not align with the personal sense of justice and law of the individual.

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Author:Yannleon Chen
Referee:Susan C. Anderson, Martin Klebes, Alexander Mathäs, Kimberly Andrews Espy
Document Type:Master's Thesis
Year of Completion:2013
Year of first Publication:2013
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2013/11/19
Page Number:72
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit or send a letter to Creative Commons, 444 Castro Street
Zugl.: Eugene, Or., Univ. of Oregon, Masterarbeit, 2013
Dewey Decimal Classification:7 Künste und Unterhaltung / 79 Sport, Spiele, Unterhaltung / 791 Öffentliche Darbietungen, Film, Rundfunk
8 Literatur / 83 Deutsche und verwandte Literaturen / 830 Literaturen germanischer Sprachen; Deutsche Literatur
Sammlungen:Germanistik / GiNDok
Sammlung Musik, Theater, Film / Literatur zum Film
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung-Nicht kommerziell-Keine Bearbeitung 3.0