Name: Nick KarvountzisDate: 10/5/09
Topic: 1972 Munich Olympic Massacre
Area of Investigation:
Outline the main historical debates, perspectives or interpretations you will be discussing
Discuss the role that West-German authorities played during the 1972 Munich Olympic crisis, specifically addressing their preparation prior to Black September’s terrorist, as well as their consequent actions and decisions made during the crisis. Primarily, assess whether criticisms of the West-German authorities’ handling and preparation of the 1972 Munich Massacre are valid, and thus justifiable.
Focus Inquiry Question:
Discuss and assess the preparations and actions taken by West-German authorities in response to 1972 Munich Massacre
Synopsis of Main Argument or Hypothesis
One of primary historical debates surrounding the 1972 Munich Olympic Massacre is the validity of harsh criticisms regarding West-German authorities’ handling and preparation of the terrorist situation. Especially in recent years as new evidence has surfaced, there has been much scrutinization of their actions, tactics, organization and even integrity throughout the whole ordeal. This essay will, in chronological order, describe and examine these plausible ‘errors’ and hence, resolve whether harsh criticisms directed at West-German authorities are justifiable. Furthermore, Since the topic is relevantly recent and differing ‘schools of thought’ are yet to be firmly established, evidence will be validated through the incorporation of differing sociocultural points of views: predominantly German, Western and Israeli perspectives. Therefore, this essay will explore how several crucial West-German errors, as well as inadequate preparation before the Games, ultimately undermined any chance of successfully rescuing Israeli athletes thus, justifying harsh criticisms
Description of Preliminary Research and Research Intentions
Main Areas or Issues you plan to discuss in my essay
This essay plans to investigate the actions taken by West-German authorities in response to the hostage situation at the 1972 Munich Olympics. First and foremost, I plan to recount aspects of the 21 hour ordeal, including how, why and what happened (briefly). This includes recounting important events and decisions, detailing the German ‘rescue’ attempts, and exploring the role of major West-German officials throughout the twenty-one hour ordeal. As I delve deeper into the essay I plan to focus on the specific role that the West-German authorities played, in particular, analyze any key errors or questionable decisions made. This includes; their arguably naive attitude to issues surrounding security at the Olympic Games prior to the attack, their flaws in early negotiations with Black September members, the lack of communication and cooperation with foreign bodies, deconstructing and assessing their failed rescue attempts, (e.g. Operation Sunshine) and finally analysing the poorly-planned rescue mission at Fürstenfeldbruck Airport. Whilst discussing these key areas I plan to incorporate differing historical interpretations and perspectives, effectively confirming or disproving harsh criticisms. Finally, the essay will be concluded with a personal assessment in which I reaffirm how West-German authorities were primarily at fault, and how numerous errors including disorganization, inexperience, ill-preparation and naivety ultimately jeopardized chances of any successful rescue mission, thus verifying criticisms.
Pre-reading for Topic
Review resources to be used e.g. books, journal, web sites etc
As this topic is relatively recent, there has not been much produced about the incident. Consequently, it is important to incorporate both primary and secondary sources available in order to achieve a balanced and historically accurate response. These sources range in medium including: text books, videos, feature articles, letters, blogs, web-sites,...