By Jenna Marcel, Rachel Spencer, Kat Kerska, Derek Seidl


The 1972 Olympicstook place in Munich, Germany. The Olympics were like all others, with excitement and record setting performances including Mark Spitz's 7 gold medals (Daniel 1053). Along with winning seven gold medals, Mark Spitz also broke seven world records(Mallon). Everything was smooth and going well until tragedy struck with a terrorist attack the day the events were going to take place (Bard). The Munich Olympics are now known as the Munich Massacre (, this changed the entire feeling of the Olympics in 1972.

During the 1972 Olympics in Munich there were eight Palestinian terrorists from the group Black September that took nine hostages and killed two other Israeli athletes, Moshe Weinberg and Joseph Ramano, who were trying to let the others escape. On September 5th at 4:30 in the morning, the day before the events were to take place, the terrorists entered the Olympic Village, dressed in track suits to blend in, and took nine athletes hostage and killed two others from the Israeli team. Around 5:10 am the news was starting to enter the homes and soon the whole world was learning/will be learning of these attacks(Rosenberg) It was not an accident that these people were taken. There were around 234 Palestinians being held in Israeli jails, this was an attempt to have them released.(Rosenberg) By taking some members of the Israeli Olympic team, Palestinians were hoping for their release. The terrorists ransom also included their own safe passage out of Germany(Clifton). This was not met and the Israeli government would not release the Palestinian's so confrontation became something that would be unavoidable(Rosenberg). The terrorists refused to change their demands and even turned down money. The terrorists took the hostages by helicopter to a near by airport so they could a board a plane supposedly heading for Egypt (Hunter). Once two of the terrorists got out of the helicopter, the Germans began firing and a small battle broke out, but the Germans were misinformed and weren't expecting that many terrorists, so they were "understaffed". At the end of the battle one of the Palestinian terrorist set off a grenade in the helicopter. As a result, all the Israeli's were killed along with one German Police officer. Some of the terrorists were killed as well but the number is not exact. All but one of the remaining terrorists we later killed by an Israeli assassination squad in an operation called Operation Wrath of God(Hunter). In retaliation Israeli's bombed Palestinian guerrilla bases(Burne 1972).
  • PLO terrorists entered the Olympic village, killing Israeli athletes and holding others hostage
  • Germans tried to kill terrorists at a NATO airbase; this firefight resulted in more Israeli deaths (all nine of the hostages, two of the Palestinian terrorists and one policeman)
  • PLO hijacked a Lufthansa airplane on October 29th, demanding the release of imprisoned terrorists, who were released by German government
  • Most of these terrorists were later killed by an Israeli assassination squad
  • The Munich plan was ordered by Yasser Arafat

Source Annotation

Bard, Mitchell. Jewish Virtual Library. American Israeli Cooperative enterprise, July 3 2010. May 11 2011.
This web page goes in depth into the Munich Massacre and gives you a good idea when things took place throughout the situation. Also, the reaction and future lives of people who were involved was briefly covered. The information from the site is clear and thorough and gives lots of exact facts such as times names, and statistics. This site is focused on situations that have to do with Jewish history, so seeing as some of the people involved in the massacre are of that background the source can be expected to have that viewpoint which is helpful when learning about the topic. This source is helpful because it allows you to get a better understanding of how the events of the massacre went and the order in which they occurred.

Daniel, Clifton. 20th Century Day by Day. dk. New York, NY, 2000. Print.
This book briefly covers all of the important worldwide events that occurred during the 20th century.Although the book's section about the 1972 Olympics is a little short it is very descriptive and helpful, as it goes into the Munich Massacre's steps very clearly. It was very informational and to the point and gave you a better understanding of what went on during the massacre. On top of just the massacre the book also covers all the medalists from the Olympics which includes the record setting seven gold medal performance of Mark Spitz. This publishing company has a lot of historical books that give good information and they specialize in such situations as the Munich Massacre. The information is very clear and easy to understand allowing for you to get everything out of it that you can. Thsi source could add key points to the overview such as times and specific details of the hostage situation, All these details would make the overview much more thorough and informative.

Hunter, Thomas B. "Operation Wrath of God [Archive] - Military Photos." Military Photos . Net. Web. 22 May 2011.
This site gave a specific overview of the Munich massacre along with a lot of details that I didn't find in other sources. This site also gave a specific overview of the Israeli response to the massacre, Operation Wrath of God. It was very in depth and included details such as names, stats, dates, etc. This source included a lot of the same basic information as other sources so it's most likely an accurate and legitimate source. Because this source included information on the aftermath of the massacre, it gives you a better understanding of why this event was of such importance. This information would be used to give a basic understanding of the Munich Massacre as well as an understanding of the aftermath. 2007, Web. May 11 2011.
This site gives you information about the Olympics itself outside of just the massacre that occurred on top of all the key points of the massacre itself. The information is rather thorough and works well with all the other information that there is out there to find. The site is the official Olympics site and was made specifically to talk about the Olympics of the past so the information is likely to be accurate and trustworthy. This source can allow you to understand what went on outside of the problems during the event. This site would be great for giving background information on the Olympics so you can better understand the situation of the Munich Massacre.

Rosenberg, Jennifer."Munich Massacre." May 10 2011.
Summary- This site is filled with a lot of text and a few hyperlinks to describe things more thoroughly. This gives the reader very detailed information so the first time you read it you have to pick out the information that’s important to know. Over all this site is full of detail.
Assess- The information seems/looks to be accurate and thorough. Most of the other sites match the information that's found on this one which is a good sign.
Reflect- This would be a good source to use when filling in the overview and maybe even to fill in the multimedia section of this project.

Burne, Jerome."Arabs Massacre 11 Israeli Olympians." Millennium Year by Year. (2000): 1972 Print.
Summary- This article I found talks about not only what happened during the kidnapping itself but also after the hostages were taken and what happened to them. Although this article is very short it still provides the basic information needed to understand what happened during and after the Munich Massacre.
Assess- The information in this book is thorough but there’s not much of it. All the information found in this article seems to be up to date with what is on the internet and goes into detail about the after math of the massacre.
Reflect- The information this article talks about would be good for adding information to the overview but I’m not sure there’s much I can do besides that.

Mallon, Bill."Munich 1972." 2009. Web. May 10 2011.
Summary- This website talks about the Munich Massacre as well as the actual 1972 Olympics. It provides the viewer with an overview/summary but doesn't go into specific detail which might pose a problem for editing this wiki page.
Assess- The information that is there seems to match the other information I'm finding from the other sites but the only problem is that it seems very vague. There's not much detail but there's little text which is convenient for people who just want the basic information of what happened on September 5th at the Munich Olympics.
Reflect- I could pull some basic information and media from this site. If people wanted to view this site for a more simple over view I could add it as an external link on this page.

Palestine Facts. Ticket Mayor. Web. May 10, 2011.
Summary -This site talks about the Massacre in detail, including times and names.
Assess- It goes along with all the other web sites. It goes into the more political detail that some of the other sites seem to basically ignore, more of the reason that the kidnapping and murders happened. Talks a little about what happened after the games. The site claims that it's main objective is to give "comprehensive and accurate information" regarding the struggle between Israel and Palestinian Arabs throughout the years, so I feel like it's a legitimate source that wouldn't be swayed one way or the other.
Reflect- This site is good for people who want to know about the Massacre, but not for people who want to know about the Olympics in general.

Twist, Clint. Take Ten Years: 1970s. Raintree Steck-Vaughn Publishers. Texas: Austin. 1994. Print.
Summary- This book talks about important events in the 1970s.
Assess- Good for an overall view of the decade, but for specific and detailed information on one event, it's not very good. Gave the basic overview of the Massacre, but didn't go into much detail at all.
Reflect- Not good if you want to know a lot of information about one topic, but for a general overview it's a good source.

Reflections and Conclusions

-One piece of controversial information I found was the number of terrorists that were killed in the massacre. I found some sites that said four, others said five, one even said two.
One of the sites I pulled my information from said two also but I felt that was a little low considering the fire fight they had. But another source of information says that five terrorists along with all nine hostages were killed so i think this is just a situation where the facts have never been straightened out.
Most of the places that I found information said that five of the terrorists were killed.
-Did anyone find that the Munich Olympics was the 20th Olympic Games? I only found this information on one site so im not sure if its accurate.
From what I have seen when looking through information it was the 20th summer olympics.
I also found that it was the 20th Summer Olympic Games on multiple websites.
I think the Germans could have handled this situation very differently. It seemed like they were very unprepared once the terrorists got to the airport. I think that they should have prepared for the worst and had more men on hand. Part of hosting the Olympics is to be ready for any kind of situation and the germand clearly were not prepared for anything of this magnitude. I also think that the terrorists didnt think the hostage situation plan all the way through because if you were going to break into something as important as the Olympics and take athletes hostage, you would think they would want to finish out thor plan. I feel like they should have thought of the possibility that German police would be there ready to put up a fight.


A glod medal from the Munich Olympics
A glod medal from the Munich Olympics
This is the emblem of the Munich Olympics in 1972
This is the emblem of the Munich Olympics in 1972

A poster advertising the Munich Olympics
A poster advertising the Munich Olympics

One of the eight Palestinian terrorists stands on a balcony of the Olympic Village
One of the eight Palestinian terrorists stands on a balcony of the Olympic Village

external image olympic_tragedy.jpg

Works Cited

Bard, Mitchell. Jewish Virtual Library. American Israeli Cooperative Enterprise. July 3 2010. May 11 2011.

Burne, Jerome."Arabs Massacre 11 Israeli Olympians." Millennium Year by Year. (2000): 1972 Print.

Clifton, Daniel. 20th Century Day by Day. dk. New York, NY, 200. Print

Mallon, Bill."Munich 1972." 2009. Web. May 10 2011., Web. May 11 2011

Palestine Facts. Ticket Mayor. Web. May 10,Rosenberg, Jennifer. "Munich Massacre." Web. May 10 20111.

Rosenberg, Jennifer."Munich Massacre." May 10 2011.

Twist, Clint. Take Ten Years: 1970s. Raintree Steck-Vaughn publishers. Texas: Austin. 1994. Print.