Natos Secret Armies

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Nato Flag

It was in this Cold War context and the battle for power in Western Europe that the extreme left and the extreme right resorted to terror. On the extreme left the Italian Communist Red Brigades and Germany’s Rote Armee Fraktion (RAF) were the two most prominent terrorist groups in Western Europe. Founded by students of the University of Trento with little to no military training, the Red Brigades included Margherita Cagol, Alberto Franceschini and Alberto Curcio. Like the RAF, they were convinced that violence had to be employed in order to change the existing power structure that they perceived as unjust and corrupt. Like the RAF the terror of the Red Brigades did not attack mass gatherings of the population, but very selectively targeted individuals whom they thought represented the ‘state apparatus’, such as bankers, generals and ministers whom they kidnapped and often assassinated. Operating above all in the 1970s the death toll of the Red Brigades in Italy reached 75 people. Then, due to their limited military and strategic skills and experience they were rounded up, arrested, tried and imprisoned.

Natos Secret Armies

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