May 28th, 2009

Finding the truth behind the photo: a German spy story

The wheels of justice grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine. Over forty years after the fact, documents have been unearthed that turn on its head the common understanding of a seminal event in German history:

The killing in 1967 of an unarmed demonstrator [Benno Ohnesorg] by a police officer in West Berlin set off a left-wing protest movement and put conservative West Germany on course to evolve into the progressive country it has become today.

Now a discovery in the archives of the East German secret police, known as the Stasi, has upended Germany’s perception of its postwar history. The killer, Karl-Heinz Kurras, though working for the West Berlin police, was at the time also acting as a Stasi spy for East Germany.

Here’s the photo that accompanied the tragic event, one that those of us who were around during the 60s will immediately recognize as similar to the famous one of the Kent State killings that occurred during the same era, in May of 1970:


I’ve discussed the power of news photos before: that they can give an extraordinary impression and shape opinion and history, but that the facts behind them are usually more complex and sometimes have to be revised.

This appears to be true of the Ohnesorg killing. As the Times article says:

It is as if the shooting deaths of four students at Kent State University by the Ohio National Guard had been committed by an undercover K.G.B. officer, though the reverberations in Germany seemed to have run deeper.

“It makes a hell of a difference whether John F. Kennedy was killed by just a loose cannon running around or a Secret Service agent working for the East,” said Stefan Aust, the former editor in chief of the weekly newsmagazine Der Spiegel. “I would never, never, ever have thought that this could be true.”

Ten years ago, I would not have thought it to be true either. Now I am not the least bit surprised; I’ve discovered for myself the truth of the old song “A Puzzlement” from Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s “The King and I”:

There are times I almost think
I am not sure of what I absolutely know.
Very often find confusion
In conclusion I concluded long ago
In my head are many facts
That, as a student, I have studied to procure,
In my head are many facts..
Of which I wish I was more certain I was sure!

In Germany today, many people are finding themselves unsure of what they thought they absolutely knew for the last forty years, raising:

a host of uncomfortable issues that are suddenly the subject of national debate.

For the left, Mr. Kurras’s [the shooter’s] true allegiance strikes at the underpinnings of the 1968 protest movement in Germany. The killing provided the clear-cut rationale for the movement’s opposition to what its members saw as a violent, unjust state, when in fact the supposed fascist villain of leftist lore was himself a committed socialist.

The incident seems to have been even more formative than the Kent State killings in this country, an event that was enormously important as well. Here, by the way, is the famous picture from the latter, in case you’ve never seen it:


And here’s the Times on the German photo:

Mr. Ohnesorg’s death had a powerful mobilizing effect. The photograph of a woman cradling his head as he lay on the ground is among the most iconic images in Germany. Average students who might never have joined the 1968 protest movement were moved to action. And on a darker note it became the chief justification for violent action by terrorist groups like the Red Army Faction and the Second of June Movement, which even took its name from the day of Mr. Ohnesorg’s killing.

No one knows even now whether the killing was ordered by the Stasi to create just such social upheaval, distrust, and unrest, or whether it was something that Kurras did on his own. His own statements (he was acquitted in a trial after the killing) are predictably self-serving and can be dismissed; the man was a spy: And what if I did work for them? What does it matter? It doesn’t change anything.

We may never know the whole truth. But there’s no question that the killing itself did change quite a bit. The question for today is whether the knowledge of Kurras’s actual identity will change anything for those Germans who believed it to have been something quite different for the last forty years. Just remember, as the song “A Puzzlement” goes on to say, people will defend and rationalize and even fight against a change in their perceptions of the world:

And it puzzle me to learn
That tho’ a man may be in doubt of what he know,
Very quickly he will fight…
He’ll fight to prove that what he does not know is so!

50 Responses to “Finding the truth behind the photo: a German spy story”

  1. Richard Aubrey Says:

    What’s the big deal? It got the left going, got them some moral authority and they won.
    East Germany fell, but that wasn’t foreseen as a result, and, in fact, wasn’t a result.
    Not sure any lefties would be disturbed by this, except if they didn’t suspect it and decide now that it was pretty slick.
    Lefties didn’t mind East Germany. Lefties don’t mind killing for political purposes.
    This was an excuse, albeit one which a higher than usual number of people honestly believed.
    But now…so what? Worked, didn’t it?

  2. Dunque Says:

    Neo – Surprised you left the last 3 paras of the Times article out (copied below). I had to read them twice just to make sure I wasn’t mis-reading them. Offensive. Repulsive. And that’s just for starters.

    “While the East German government highlighted the killing for propaganda purposes, the dissension and upheaval sowed by the shooting were temporary and had the unintended consequence of making the West a far more attractive alternative to the East in the long run.

    According to Marek Dutschke, the son of the student-movement leader Rudi Dutschke, Mr. Ohnesorg’s death ignited the modernization of West Germany, leading to greater democracy, gender equality and sexual freedom.

    “Germany would not have become this liberal place, not in the same way, if this event hadn’t happened,” Mr. Dutschke said.”

  3. Scottie Says:

    It won’t make a bit of difference to the committed leftists around the world.

    This is the pattern and it’s been repeated before. Something comes to light that completely changes how an event should be viewed, casting a shadow on the objectives of the left, and it’s ignored as “old news” and “irrelevent”.

    The event described above was useful at the time and for many years afterwards as moral cover for what they wanted to accomplish.

    It will remain useful any time leftists believe they are conversing with someone who doesn’t know the shooter was a spy – and the leftists will conveniently leave that part out.

    The fact that the shooter was an East German spy and someone who could be suspected of deliberately inciting mistrust and ill will towards the West German government will be studiously ignored as irrelevent to modern leftists.

    Regarding this comment:

    “It makes a hell of a difference whether John F. Kennedy was killed by just a loose cannon running around or a Secret Service agent working for the East,” said Stefan Aust, the former editor in chief of the weekly newsmagazine Der Spiegel. “I would never, never, ever have thought that this could be true.”

    I would like to point out that at the age of 19, Lee Harvey Oswald lied his way out of the US Marine Corp, obtained travel documents under false pretenses, emigrated to the USSR, lived there from 1959 to 1962, renounced his US citizenship, marrying a Soviet while there.

    He and his wife returned to the US in 1962.

    Immediately prior to the JFK assassination, Oswald was at the Soviet embassy in Mexico, ostensibly to obtain a passport to Cuba. He wrote to the Soviet embassy and included the following cryptic passage:

    “Had I been able to reach the Soviet Embassy in Havana as planned, the embassy there would have had time to complete our business.”

    A few days later he shot Kennedy.

    I’m certain to this day it was all just a series of coincidences though….

  4. LittleRed1 Says:

    What’s that phrase I’ve seen batted around? “Fake but accurate?” That seems to be the Left’s reaction.

  5. Scottie Says:

    Another misrepresentation I’ve heard regarding Kent State was that the students were peacefully protesting.

    It was only years afterwards that I first learned the students were violent before the shots were ever fired.

    Still, it continues to be useful to the left to generalize the dead Kent State protesters as “peaceful”.

  6. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Two issues: One, you’re right. The students were violent first.
    The other is that the bullets just kept going and going until they hit somebody, some of whom weren’t involved.
    The crime was to send mech Infantry to control this, instead of trained riot police. The latter have protection against rocks and slate tiles (nasty effers, you can’t see them coming at you because they’re thrown sideways and are maybe a quarter inch thick) and bottles. They can take a hit. The soldiers were not protected and could only defend themselves by taking out the buttheads. Unfortunately, they were armed with the kind of weapon that can take out a butthead at a mile, if only by luck.

  7. Thomass Says:

    Dunque Says:

    ” I wasn’t mis-reading them. Offensive. Repulsive. And that’s just for starters.”

    But oh so typical that they hardly merit a comment. 🙂

  8. Thomass Says:

    Scottie Says:

    “I’m certain to this day it was all just a series of coincidences though….”

    Old news dude. 😉

  9. Scottie Says:

    Richard Aubrey,

    Another thing I recall reading somewhere years ago, was that the soldiers who were brought in, while armed as you noted with battlefield weaponry (there was no real “less than lethal” means available at the time except tear gas), had never been trained in riot control.

    They were trained to shoot to kill, and that’s what they instinctively fell back on when attacked.

    This does not cast any aspersions on those soldiers. They simply reverted to their most basic training, which is the entire point of training in the first place!

    Higher military command made a mistake in that regard, but the responsibility for the deaths as far as I’m concerned still lies with the rioters.

    Had they not escalated the action to violence, there would likely not have been a violent reaction on the part of the soldiers.

    Regarding police, I believe I’ve heard accounts of police who were on the scene as well, so it wasn’t simply the army came in and shot everybody – there were police on the scene who were also in over their heads with a situation that had gotten completely out of control.

    Again, a lack of control that was the fault of the rioters themselves.

  10. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Yeah, the rioters were seeking to get a violent response. I was on campus a bit earlier, in the Army at the time, and the doctrine was clear, force the authorities to get violent. Kent State was a huge victory for that technique.
    What was even better was that some of the dead weren’t even involved.
    You won’t get far with lefties trying to make the case that they wished and worked with all their might that some innocents would get killed, for political purposes. And that it was their fault.
    But it’s true.
    Having said that, it’s the responsibility of government to avoid it and the use of riot control techniques is how you do it.

  11. Gringo Says:

    Ohnesorg and Kennedy were both killed by people of the far left. Their assassinations resulted in a leftward shift of their respective societies.

    Whether they were acting on the suggestions or directions of higher ups is not known at present, and most likely will never be known. I find it odd that Oswald was permitted to leave the Soviet Union, which to me suggests some sort of linkage with the “organs.”

    OTOH, years ago I met a journalist (paper in the Berkshires) who had been one of the few US POWs who chose not to be repatriated after the Korean War. He stated that he always knew he could go back to the US, which is what he ended up doing. Perhaps he got that assurance from the PRC authorities before he publicly chose to not be repatriated. So, loose cannons from the West have been known to exit the Iron Curtain without preconditions.

    While it is plausible that Kurras acted on his own, figuring that a dead demonstrator would help the GDR, the issue of legal defense comes up. I doubt that Kurras would have killed if he anticipated spending the rest of his life in prison. Which suggests that the fix was on- he knew that the GDR could get him out of the jam. Or perhaps he did it on his own, figuring that at worst, the GDR would rescue him from a life in prison and bring him to the GDR. Who knows?

    While the evidence that JFK’s killer was on the far left came out very quickly, the mantra that he was killed by the right-wing “climate of hate” persisted for a long time. Most likely some cynically decided that if they could SMEAR their political opponents on the Right with the assassination of JFK, regardless how detached from reality such a charge was, they would do so. Which reminds me of a story LBJ liked to tell. There was a politician who stated, “ My opponent F#$#s hogs.” Why, someone asked this politician, do you claim that your opponent committs that unspeakable offense on hogs when you know he doesn’t? The reply came back. “I know he doesn’t , but I love to hear him deny it.”

  12. Occam's Beard Says:

    Richard Aubrey, youi’re absolutely right. I saw demonstrations back in the day (Berkeley and all that), and invariably there were some hard-core leftists trying to provoke the police into retaliating while they darted into the crowd. The whole idea was to generate martyrs, preferably not themselves. A young mom or mom-to-be would have been perfect, but they usually had enough sense to stay away.

    One further point: in my experience, avoiding a riot was easy – just move a block over. The rioters and police used to charge up and down Telegraph Avenue, but a block away typically all was peaceful. So for the most part, those caught up in those riots had chosen to be involved.

  13. Sam Says:

    Why did it take this damn long to come out (19 years) after the fall of East Germany if it was such an historic event? Who has been sitting on the information?

  14. Artfldgr Says:

    well, there is a lot of history like this.

    this is what it means when the socialists say they make history, while others react to it making all other politics reactionary.

    No one knows even now whether the killing was ordered by the Stasi to create just such social upheaval, distrust, and unrest, or whether it was something that Kurras did on his own.


    you want to know how long people hae known this? a long long time… Birthler papers?

    how about the messages they captured?
    translated to:
    “destroy the material immediately. consider incident as very unfortunate accident.

    kurras radio message back:
    “some understood – everything destroyed – toghether with Trude”. “need money for layers”.

    these are ACTIVE measures…

    you can look up more of them by searching martin luthor king, rosa parks, highlander school. take that apart and you will find that they created the tuskeegee syphylis study. the school was closed for subversion… they even caused race hate between jews and blacks in ny by planting a bomb and cuasing the jdl to get the blame. they blew up houses in the south, and lynched people to create the image of american southern race hate. (this too was to redirect the believe of the people that the nazis were racists, when they were socialists killing the capitalists… after all, in north africa they didnt exterminate the mullahs and the islamics did they?)

    there are reasons that there are parallels to things in countries. its OFTEN a sign of history being repeated purposfully for the same outcomes, but this time NOT ACCIDENTALLY.

    so obama repeats FDR mistakes, but with knowlege.

    we repeat lukacks mistakes in sex ed in ignorance, but would never let it happen if we knew.

    if you read about kent state and look over a map and things… the point of the leaders of the kids was to get the kids shot or have some incident happen.

    the LEFT loves that… or havent you notived how they try to get cops to hit them, and so on and so forth?

    Kent state happened AFTER the german thing. so woyuld it be so far to realizet hat the leaders of the movement would USE people by pushing them into a situaion so it woudl blow up?

    Despite the substantial literature which exists on the Kent State shootings, misinformation and misunderstanding continue to surround the events of May 4. For example, a prominent college-level United States history book by Mary Beth Norton et al. (1994), which is also used in high school advanced placement courses,(2) contains a picture of the shootings of May 4 accompanied by the following summary of events: “In May 1970, at Kent State University in Ohio, National Guardsmen confronted student antiwar protestors with a tear gas barrage. Soon afterward, with no provocation, soldiers opened fire into a group of fleeing students. Four young people were killed, shot in the back, including two women who had been walking to class.” (Norton et al., 1994, p. 732) Unfortunately, this short description contains four factual errors:
    (1) some degree of provocation did exist;
    (2) the students were not fleeing when the Guard initially opened fire;
    (3) only one of the four students who died, William Schroeder, was shot in the back; and
    (4) one female student, Sandy Schreuer, had been walking to class, but the other female, Allison Krause, had been part of the demonstration.

    Protests occurred the next day, Friday, May 1, across United States college campuses where anti-war sentiment ran high.

    so large scale national protests were coordinated to happen on communist workers day… anyone mention that?

    and here is where things get organized… not like a play where eferyone takes their roles, but in fomenting situations…

    Friday evening in downtown Kent began peacefully with the usual socializing in the bars, but events quickly escalated into a violent confrontation between protestors and local police. The exact causes of the disturbance are still the subject of debate, but bonfires were built in the streets of downtown Kent, cars were stopped, police cars were hit with bottles, and some store windows were broken. The entire Kent police force was called to duty as well as officers from the county and surrounding communities. Kent Mayor Leroy Satrom declared a state of emergency, called Governor James Rhodes’ office to seek assistance, and ordered all of the bars closed. The decision to close the bars early increased the size of the angry crowd. Police eventually succeeded in using tear gas to disperse the crowd from downtown, forcing them to move several blocks back to the campus.

    this part is usually left out. and if you note, my source is kent state. that is, the event didnt start that day… it started a few days earlier with events on communist workers day… and then pre worked the night before as unknown people decided to escalate relations by doing lots of dumb things.

    unlike germany, they couldnt orchetrate an assasination, but they COULD foment and escalate the situtaion, then cause the ancillary things to not be paiod attention to as lots fo articles come out spouting the angles.

    so this is what happened on may 1st… days before… an orchetrated extreme event that created the sitation that brought the weekend warior national guard volunteers. any one that knows our laws knows that posse comitatus would prevent better trained people from being there!

    The next day, Saturday, May 2, Mayor Satrom met with other city officials and a representative of the Ohio National Guard who had been dispatched to Kent. Mayor Satrom then made the decision to ask Governor Rhodes to send the Ohio National Guard to Kent. The mayor feared further disturbances in Kent based upon the events of the previous evening, but more disturbing to the mayor were threats that had been made to downtown businesses and city officials as well as rumors that radical revolutionaries were in Kent to destroy the city and the university. Satrom was fearful that local forces would be inadequate to meet the potential disturbances, and thus about 5 p.m. he called the Governor’s office to make an official request for assistance from the Ohio National Guard.

    so they cause a major spontanous riot… the kind of which that poliiticans fear most as there is no real reason behind it other than excuses to hide it.

    the people decided to protect the kids, for thats how we saw and still see our college students. and they made sure to make him even more worried by calling in threats and such.

    that was three days before the event… they were pushing an event at kent state… they wanted problems, and a huge situiation in which they could spin what america saw to their own ends.

    they hit the jackpot when shooting started..

    Members of the Ohio National Guard were already on duty in Northeast Ohio, and thus they were able to be mobilized quickly to move to Kent. As the Guard arrived in Kent at about 10 p.m., they encountered a tumultuous scene. The wooden ROTC building adjacent to the Commons was ablaze and would eventually burn to the ground that evening, with well over 1000 demonstrators surrounding the building. Controversy continues to exist regarding who was responsible for setting fire to the ROTC building, but radical protestors were assumed to be responsible because of their actions in interfering with the efforts of firemen to extinguish the fire as well as cheering the burning of the building. Confrontations between Guardsmen and demonstrators continued into the night, with tear gas filling the campus and numerous arrests being made.

    again… no one knows who started a fire… (some SDS claim it… so its potentially ayers freinds).

    [edited for length by neo-neocon]

  15. Artfldgr Says:

    the full frame image from kent state.

  16. Artfldgr Says:

    and one can look here to get an idea of how we as a collective see the facts.

  17. Artfldgr Says:

    here is an example of how it now is spun…

    my favorite line:
    became so heated about the war that they started protests and somebody even took it so far as to set fire to an ROTC shack that was located on the center of campus.

    if you watch the films this was not a shack…
    see here for photos:

    this is interesting..

    “Tanks just started rolling onto campus; it was unbelievable. Arm guards were at every single building as students were trying to go to class and it was midterm week,” Yungmann said.

    does any one remember them calling out tanks?

    A dusk to dawn curfew was set in place and a violation of the curfew would result in being arrested. Groups of more than four students were considered an illegal assembly. Because martial law was declared, any law could be made up and enforced, no questions asked. Groups of more then five people were considered an illegal assembly. “We couldn’t sleep, we couldn’t do anything. These troops were all over and some of them were our age. It was going to explode,” Yungmann said.

    doesnt that give the feel more like tianeman square than 1960s kent state?

    and the story of the shooting is barely recognizable…
    The students decided that they had enough and decided to protest the martial law and the war. The students lined up at the top of a hill in front of a building towards the center of campus and the National Guard lined up at the bottom of the hill. After telling the students to disperse, the National Guard began lobbing tear gas towards the students. The students then would throw them back down the hill. “Remember a lot of these soldiers were young kids facing young kids,” Yungmann said, “somebody said that they heard a shot so the guardsmen knelt down and started shooting at the students. An honor student lived in my dorm and she was walking to class with an armful of books far away from where things were going on. She was shot in the back and killed. They weren’t shooting at kids on the hill; they were just shooting.”

    where is the walk to the practice field? the protest wasnt about marshal law, was it?
    And which honor student was it? and how did a man live in the same dorm as a woman then?

    During the shootings, Yungmann was at the radio station who was broadcasting the protest live

    wait a second, the quotes of the action were from yungmann telling the story… now he was at the radio station?

    and now we know why..

    Times have changed since the Kent State murders, but we are found in a similar situation where war is again knocking on our door. Here at Cabrini College it is possible to get involved in different protests and activism through the Wolfington Center. For more information on how to get involved in any upcoming activities, call Mary Lavar at extension 8409 or email at mlaver (At)

  18. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Right, about not being involved. But, to paraphrase Lenin or somebody, you may not be interested in stray bullets, but a stray bullet may be interested in you.

  19. nyomythus Says:

    The insidious Reichstag fire maneuver. I don’t think Obama will take this path, even if some street-level cronie-wannabes hand it to him, this is the age of information (cameras, internet) — he might get caught.

  20. expat Says:

    I’ll try to fill in some blanks on the Kurras story.

    I’ve seen people on TV who are not leftists say that there is no evidence to date indicating that the Stasi ordered the shooting of Ohnesorg. It does seem that his murder may have been a crime of opportunity and not specifically planned. Whether or not Kurras was instructed to look for a good opportunity is still open. Kurras must have contacted the Stasi immediately afterwards, at which time he was told to destroy all material connecting him to the Stasi.

    When Ohnesorg’s body was taken from Berlin to Hannover for burial, GDR youth groups lined the transit route. Thus the incident was immediately used for GDR propaganda.

    Although there were certainly radicals involved in the 68 demonstrations, there were probably less radical people involved as well. It is the latter group that was moved farther left by Ohnesorg’s murder “by the fascist police state.”

    Marek Dutschke is the son of Rudi Dutschke, who himself became a German legend. He was an anarchistic socialist who began his activism at 16 in the GDR. When he wasn’t allowed to go to the university there, he moved to West Berlin. He protested the Vietnam war and any other issue that came up, and he seems to have changed his opinion back and forth on issues like terrorism. In 1968, he was shot twice in the head by a common laborer whose apartment contained a copy of a nationalist newspaper with a fron page article saying that these people (the 68ers) must be stopped. There was also a picture of Adolf Hitler. Rudi never completely recovered from the shooting and suffered from epileptic seizures. He did continue his activist career, turning to the anti-atom movement after the Vietnam war ended. In 1979 he had a seizure while taking a bath and drowned in the tub. The totally undifferentiated “right” is held responsible.

    Rudi’s third child, Marek, was born after his father’s death. Marek’s mother, Gretchen Dutschke-Klotz was an American so she moved with him to the US. He returned to Germany several years ago and is a greenie. I would say that during his childhood, Marek got only filtered info about his hero father and is now trying to protect that legacy. Of course, he is not alone. There are still plenty of 68ers who think they changed the world for the better.

    Rudi was very mild spoken and made a perfect symbol for the kumbaya club. His thinking was another matter. I’ve seen old interviews with him that left me shaking my head and asking what in the h**l he was talking about. I would guess Marek was raised to consider such thinking (or better, rambling) as brilliance. Everyone in Germany knows the Dutschke story, so Spiegel probably saw no need to introduce Marek. Many would agree with his assessment.

    Why was the Kurras Stasi connection not reported earlier? It probably has something to do with the sheer mass of Stasi material. They have developed a special computer program to put together the sacks and sacks of paper scraps of Stasi records. I think there was also a question of restricted access so that Stasi victims would not find private details of their personal lives suddenly on the front page. There are now calls to widen access.

  21. LifeTrek Says:

    Soviet archives have continually revealed this type of activity in Europe for most of the cold war — the anti-nuke 80’s and much of the 60’s radical movement were the result of duped leftie followers of Soviet paid instigators.

    Which leads to the question, why are the left so vulnerable to falling for the utopian promises of our enemies?

  22. neo-neocon Says:

    About Kent State: A while back I read some of the detailed reports about what happened there, and it’s certainly true that there were students trying to provoke the military to violence. However, those who died were innocent and not the provocateurs at all (I haven’t checked it out recently, but to the best of my recollection several were just walking to class and not even part of the demonstration, much less the violent part of the demonstration).

    Firing into a crowd that way was a tremendous and fatal overreaction. The Guard troops were woefully untrained and unprepared for the task of crowd and riot control they needed to perform, and well as having the wrong equipment, and the results were horrific.

    I think of the Leftist provocateurs in relation to the students who were actually killed in the same way I think of the Palestinian terrorists in relation to the children they encourage to hang around places where they store explosives. The idea is to set the innocent up to be killed, and then blame it on the savage police/military/Israelis and cause a backlash.

    It works very well.

  23. neo-neocon Says:

    LifeTrek: I think human beings in general are vulnerable to Utopian promises. After all, they sound so wonderful! This time we’ll be sure to get it right!!

  24. Artfldgr Says:

    excellent expat! much better than what i knew before checking a few things..

    right now… my real worry and focus can be summed up in one word.


    one hell of a distraction may be about to appear in a way that wont be ignored (shouldnt be?).

  25. FredHjr Says:

    Hey, everyone. When trying to plot how this event registers in the overall struggle between socialism and capitalism, revisit the video clips of the interviews with Yuri Bezmenov. Particularly his description of the first phase of the subversion of the West: Demoralization.

  26. neo-neocon Says:

    Arfldgr: Co-ed dorms existed in 1970, the time of the Kent State kllings. I’m not sure whether Kent State itself had them, but they certainly existed elsewhere. It was a very new policy, and most of the time it was done floor by floor (one floor men, the next women, and on and on that way).

  27. expat Says:

    I just read another interesting bit. Two people who do research on the student movement and who who interviewed by a source I trust report that shortly before his death, Rudi Dutschke was questioning whether the Stasi could have been involved in his shooting. Dutschke was not in love with the East Block dictatorships. He was especially affected by te Prague Springtime. As I mentioned, he had anarchistic tendencies.

    Another Stasi project reported in the same post involved spraying “Germany demand: Jews out” on a berlin synygogue in 1959. This, of course, was to highlight that the FDR remained a fascist country, while the GDR was a beacon of democracy.

  28. expat Says:

    Make that FDR in the last sentence FRG.

  29. FredHjr Says:

    From the reports I’ve read about the rabble at Kent State, by all objective eyewitnesses the students were vicious and violent, extremely provocative towards the Guardsmen. And it was not a small crowd. These young adults (the Guardsmen) were terrified, I am sure of it. They lost control, and that goes to poor discipline and poor fire control. They were just not prepared for this, yet you have to remember, neo, that the rabble had been rampaging and vandalizing for a couple of days prior to the event under discussion.

    I’ve read the accounts about this particular photo of the dead kid who was in no way involved in the riot. There he is shot dead, and only ONE PERSON is drawn to his fallen corpse and pleading for help. The selfish students otherwise just pass him on by as if he’s just a piece of carrion on the side of the road. Now, to me that says a lot about these cowardly, selfish radicals.

  30. Gringo Says:

    expat: could you link to the report that Rudi Dutschke suspected Stasi involvement in his shooting? ( By his shooting, I assume you mean Josef Bachmann’s shooting of Rudi D in 1968, not Ohnesorg’s shooting and death in 1967.) As Rudi Dutschke escaped from East Berlin the day before the Wall came up, he was not a friend of the GDR.

  31. expat Says:

    Gringo: This is in German.

    The blog, Die Achse des Guten, is German but freqently has posts in English. Common topics are politics, environment, anti-semitism, and whatever insanity de jour might present itself. Henrik Broder and Benny Peiser are among the contributers. The post I mentioned was written by Michael Miersch on 5/22.

  32. Gringo Says:

    expat: Thanks to you, and thanks to Google Translate, as my German skills are minimal. It is as you say, or better said, the expanding mystery is as you say.

    It pointed out that Bachmann , like Rudi Dutschke, was a GDR refugee. Family still in the GDR would have made Bachmann vulnerable to blackmail. But this is all speculation.
    Markus Wolf is chuckling from the grave.

  33. LifeTrek Says:

    This time we’ll be sure to get it right!!


    After all, we’re smarter — the only reason it fail was because we weren’t here to do it.

    At least that is how it seems every generation or so.

    That is why the only utopia is one we all make for ourselves — that includes helping others if you are so inclined.

  34. grackle Says:

    the only utopia is one we all make for ourselves

    A very good line.

  35. Scottie Says:

    We’re all discussing very academically what happened 40-50 years ago, and how unseen forces have now been shown to have been at work, and how the “story” as told to the general public was distorted to serve the purpose of these unseen powers.

    This isn’t tinfoil hat territory – it’s really the case.

    Knowing what we do now about these long ago events, and considering how the narrative for any given subject is currently being spoon fed to the public by a compliant press corps that is completely in love with the beloved leader, doesn’t this give anyone the willies wondering how the public is being misled TODAY on any given subject?

  36. Jamie Says:

    <shudder> And furthermore, scottie, what long-term policies are being put into place on that basis, and what the unintended consequences (to say nothing of the intended ones!) will result…

  37. Richard Aubrey Says:

    For some of us, the willies are a permanent condition.
    The problem is deciding who is an idiot, useful or otherwise, and who knows exactly what the plan is.
    Some of my arguing, in person or in the real world, is done, and sometimes I state it, to make the point “not that I think you don’t know it. It’s clear you think I don’t know it.”
    It’s an ego thing. I hate to have people think they’ve successfully fooled me.
    So far, nobody’s tried to punch me, but I live in faith.

  38. br549 Says:

    If you will remember, the girl in the photo, pleading over the body of the fallen student was a runaway, somewhere around 15 or 16 years old. The girl just happened to end up on Kent State Campus that day. She was found because that photo was plastered around the world.

    There was more to Kent State than was ever allowed out at the time. My hair was down to my waist in those days, so I was very angry. But even then I knew there was much more going on than was being let out of the bag. As far to the right as I am from those days and of the goings on that particular day, I still can’t quite get my head around how those shots were fired.

    Socialism / communism in this nation, if it ever effectively takes over, is still at least a couple generations away. No matter how fast Obama and ACORN try to fast track it.

    You know, I think people associate socialism / communism with Russian, Chinese, and Korean looking / speaking people. With that, they feel if it happens here it will be “Americanized” and therefore be OK, and be done right. Dumb asses.

  39. DavefromdeSwamp Says:

    I was about to enter the Army at this point, my dad,a career NCO, was having one of his many cancer surgeries at Ft.Benning at the time . A lot of gut wounds from Viet Nam were arriving there at the time as well. The sympathy factor for the Kent State 4 was two points lower than zero there . I recall one trooper suggesting a pair of Quad .50s might have calmed the riot quicker . It surely calmed sappers in the wire nicely.

    As far as Communist agitators, I still have no doubt whatsoever of their malginent influence and presence.

  40. David M Says:

    The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the – Web Reconnaissance for 05/29/2009 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day…so check back often.

  41. Lame-R Says:

    The old saying still holds true: “Believe none of what you hear, and half of what you see.”

    My father was/is a hippie, and among all the anti-war/equal-rights/etc. indoctrination I received growing up, there was oddly very little mention of Kent State. Yet ironically, it was the one thing that made me question everything else.

    It was such a shock to me, I couldn’t help wondering how on earth something like that could’ve happened. I realized that perhaps there was a side of the story I wasn’t hearing. It’s like splashing water on the face of an hysterically crying child. In like fashion Kent State seemed to make me snap out of the well-meaning brainwashing I was receiving about that time period.

  42. strcpy Says:

    “I recall one trooper suggesting a pair of Quad .50s might have calmed the riot quicker”

    To some extent, yes – directed, focused, and lethal firepower stops A LOT of things. Had the few truly violent that were egging the crowd on been removed (lethal if necessary) then it would have dispersed quickly. undirected force almost always results in an escalation of violence.

    Of course the protestors realized that back then too – you will note that violence from radicals is never directed at much of anything – it may be focused (as in a bullet vs a bomb), but it is usually haphazardly applied.

    OTOH our martial forces (police and military) have learned that directed, focus, and harsh violence that is swiftly applied to the appropriate places stops many riots before they occur. We had to learn that through the riots of that time, I suppose the last time they tried to be “humanitarian” was the LA riots in the 90’s and the harsh lessons came back to them.

    That is also why so many activists moved towards “softer” targets – for instance Journalist not only tend to be easier to fool but seem eager to be fooled. Violence in protests tends to be disorganized and done on an individual level in the US now because we are so good at stopping it, not that we can not see any more wide scale riots (we may very well), but they are not going to be of that variety any more, or at least it will take a generation or two of law enforcement before those lessons are forgotten.

  43. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Ref. quad 50.
    For those not in the know, a “fifty” is a heavy machine gun, originally designed in the Thirties as an anti-tank gun. VERY powerful. “quad” means mounting four of them on a powered mount for anti-aircraft use. Between the four of them, the cyclic rate is about 2000 rpm.
    One reference to its use in Korea described a crew using it against a Chinese assault, “sucking the hillside dry of life”.
    IOW, the suggestion is not only about being effective, it suggests a high level of annoyance with The Kids.
    When I was at Valley Forge Army Hosp, during the May Day mobe in 1971, we got good televsion of the antics in DC. At one point, the cops got a huge number of protesters into a stadium.
    “Bring a gunship in on their ass” suggested a crippled grunt.
    A high degree of annoyance.

  44. DavefromdeSwamp Says:

    Bring a gunship in on their ass” suggested a crippled grunt.
    A high degree of annoyance.

    The annoyance levels were extremely high.

    The book you mentioned is “This kind of War” written by T.R.Feherenbach, a tanker from the 2d division’s 72d Tank Battalion. If memory serves it was “…sucking the hills devoid of Chinese life…” Great quote and dead accurate.

    The Quad .50 and more importantly, the MEN crewing them ,served their Nation very well, far better than any of the useless 68ers or their flunkies ..

    I’ve stayed annoyed for a long time;does it show much?

  45. virgil xenophon Says:

    IIRC, that “run-away” girl in the famous photo was from Florida and she was on campus that day SPECIFICALLY TO PROTEST–an “outside agitator” if you will–and did not just “happen” to stumble by…..

  46. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Yup. One of my favorite books. A good deal more than a bang-up history of the Korean War (reviewed on Amazon by me).
    His “This Kind of Peace” is excellent, too.

    Does it show? Not much. Went to a fraternity reunion of classes 63-70, more or less. A surprising number had served. One, a KC135 nav said to me (Infantry), “At a party, it takes about fourteen seconds to tell who’s a veteran.” and, by implication, who not to bother with.

  47. DavefromdeSwamp Says:


    You’re the reason why Armies exist. I was a 55d, EOD specialist. My hat is always off to an 11 Bush

  48. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Hat off, huh.
    Do EOD guys get out of the Army thinking booze is free?
    I know Jolly and Sandy think booze grows on trees, but EOD guys deserve the same.

  49. DavefromdeSwamp Says:

    Dear Richard,

    Why yes, yes we do. Is that just a myth?


  50. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Not within twenty feet of me.

About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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