On the early morning of 7 December 2022, around 3,000 German police officers including specialised tactical response units began searching premises and arresting suspects across the country at a scale which might be the largest counter-terrorism operation targeting far-right domestic extremists in the history of post-WWII Germany. Officers searched over 130 properties in eleven German states, and 25 suspects were arrested with the overall investigation focusing on 52 persons, alleged to have formed or support a terrorist organization and to have plotted to overthrow the German government. Naturally, with an ongoing counter-terrorism investigation, there is still much we do not know. For example, we currently have no idea how influential QAnon (see the below) truly was for the members of this group. Nor do we know yet how deeply involved, and how many of the group’s members were involved in the Reichsbürger movement or other conspiracy milieus. We have no reliable information yet on how far the group had progressed in their plans. Eventually, the trial and verdicts will show this. But since the authorities are now entering the stage of sifting through the data and evidence collected during the raids, the current picture is likely to evolve and change up until any trials are held/convictions can be reached.
Despite this critical caution not to jump to conclusions and maybe even jeopardise the investigation, the authorities and seemingly well-prepared news outlets were quick to release a trove of information. This Perspective discusses what we currently know and discusses what it means in the context of the history of far-right terrorism in Germany.