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Political Science Terrorism

How It All Began

The Personal Account of a West German Urban Guerrilla

by (author) Michael (Bommi) Baumann

translated by Helene Ellenbogen & Wayne Parker

Arsenal Pulp Press
Initial publish date
Jan 1977
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jan 1977
    List Price

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How It All Began is the personal testimony of Michael "Bommi" Baumann, a man who, in the late 1960s and early '70s, was a member of the June 2nd Movement, one of the most spectacular urban guerrilla organizations in West Berlin.Of this book, Baumann said: "Others should understand why people take the road of armed struggle, how they come to it, how the seeds are planted, and what the emotions behind it are, what kind of considerations and psychic preconditions are needed to overcome the fear involved."
But Baumann, ultimately, had to make a choice: between violence and resistance. He renounced violence when he left the June 2nd Movement in 1972.
The original German edition, Wie Alles Anfing, was seized by security police when it appeared in 1975. The resulting trial and publicity raised an international outcry and the book ended up beng republished in German and translated into six languages.
In an age of public protests?against corporate greed, against free trade agreements, and for social justice–How It All Began provides a fascinating glimpse into the thinking behind urban struggle, and the consequences of action.
As Baumann himself said, "Violence is a perfectly adequate means, I never had any hangups about it."
The first English version of How It All Began was published by Arsenal in 1977 and updated in 1981. Long out of print, it has been re-issued with a new cover, making it available to readers once again.

About the authors

Bommi Baumann was a leading member of the June 2nd Movement, one of the most active urban guerrilla groups in West Berlin, from 1969 until 1972. From a low-income, unstable family background, Baumann left the movement and the urban guerrilla struggle in 1972, and went underground to write this book. He was arrested in London in February 1981 and there has been no word from him since.

Michael (Bommi) Baumann's profile page

Helene Ellenbogen's profile page

Wayne Parker's profile page