By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
The plotters were allegedly members of the extremist Reichsbürger [Citizens of the Reich] movement, known for violent attacks and racist conspiracy theories. They also refuse to recognize the modern German state.
What would have been perhaps postwar Germany’s bloodiest attack included storming the German Capitol, arresting lawmakers, and executing the chancellor.
Heinrich XIII, a prince descended from German nobility, would take over as the new head of state, and an ex-far-right legislator would be put in charge of a national purge.
To facilitate the coup, the electricity network would be sabotaged. Satellite phones to communicate off the grid had already been bought, investigators said.
Dozens of men and women are said to have been part of the group, which seeks to overthrow the republic and replace it with a new state modeled on the Germany of 1871 – an empire called the Second Reich.
German prosecutors and intelligence officials said some 3,000 police officers and Special Forces fanned out across Germany on Wednesday to prevent the nationwide “far-right terrorist network” from carrying out their coup.
Security forces raided some 150 homes and arrested most of the suspected co-conspirators in 11 of Germany’s 16 states, with two people arrested in Austria and Italy.
They included an active duty soldier, a former officer in the elite special forces, a police officer, and at least two army reservists, authorities said.
Among the items uncovered was a list containing 18 names of politicians considered enemies, possibly to be deported and executed. Sources familiar with the raids told reporters that Chancellor Olaf Scholz was among those on the death list.
The sources requested anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the investigation publicly. Wednesday’s dawn raids were described as one of the most extensive anti-extremism operations in modern German history.
Yet the crackdown confirmed worries about extremists operating in Germany, who reportedly include people with current or previous ties to the army. Separately authorities closely follow suspected Islamist radicals operating in Europe’s largest economy.
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