We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

The 1972 Munich Olympics and the Making of Modern Germany

Kay Schiller

Publication Year: 2010

The 1972 Munich Olympics—remembered almost exclusively for the devastating terrorist attack on the Israeli team—were intended to showcase the New Germany and replace lingering memories of the Third Reich. That hope was all but obliterated in the early hours of September 5, when gun-wielding Palestinians murdered 11 members of the Israeli team. In the first cultural and political history of the Munich Olympics, Kay Schiller and Christopher Young set these Games into both the context of 1972 and the history of the modern Olympiad. Delving into newly available documents, Schiller and Young chronicle the impact of the Munich Games on West German society.

Published by: University of California Press

Series: Weimar and Now: German Cultural Criticism

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

pdf iconDownload PDF (64.2 KB)
pp. 2-7


pdf iconDownload PDF (62.7 KB)
pp. vii-viii

List of Illustrations

pdf iconDownload PDF (42.7 KB)
pp. ix-x

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (50.6 KB)
pp. xi-xiv

During the course of conceiving, researching, and writing this book, we have incurred many debts and it is a pleasure to acknowledge them here. It is not possible to record the nature of every assistance offered, but it is true to say that every single person mentioned in the following list combined the giving of their expertise and knowledge ...

read more

1. Introduction

pdf iconDownload PDF (165.2 KB)
pp. 1-23

As Richard Nixon soon learned in this brief exchange with Henry Kissinger on 2 September 1972—one day after Bobby Fischer’s victory over Boris Spassky in the most famous match in chess history, and one week into the Games of the twentieth Olympiad in Munich—the relationship between sport and politics is not always easy. ...

read more

2. Urban, State, and National Capital: Buying, Paying for, and Selling the Games

pdf iconDownload PDF (288.2 KB)
pp. 24-55

Hosting the Olympic Games had been a twinkle in Willi Daume’s eye since the early 1960s. The German sports functionary had become a devoted member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1956, and two events just four years apart must have given him a taste of what it would be like to stage the movement’s premier event. ...

read more

3. The Legacy of Berlin 1936 and the German Past: Problems and Possibilities

pdf iconDownload PDF (271.3 KB)
pp. 56-86

Munich’s hosting of the Olympics fitted the geopolitical pattern of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) decisions after the Second World War, which had gradually ushered the defeated nations back to the heart of the international family. The first three Games after 1945 went to the victors and (semi)neutrals (London 1948, Helsinki 1952, Melbourne 1956), ...

read more

4. Germany on the Drawing Board: Architecture, Design, and Ceremony

pdf iconDownload PDF (780.4 KB)
pp. 87-126

Although singular in scale, Munich was not without precedent as a public relations exercise of national importance. Well before the bid, the Federal Republic had presented itself with great success at a series of international exhibitions, not least the Brussels Expo of 1958, the first World Fair since the war. ...

read more

5. After “1968”: 1972 and the Youth of the World

pdf iconDownload PDF (359.4 KB)
pp. 127-156

If the smooth initial handling of Munich’s Olympic project resulted from the consensual tone or “deideologization” that characterized West German national politics in the mid-1960s, its execution in finer detail would be troubled by forces of an unpredictable nature before the decade was out. The Mexico Games proved ominous. ...

read more

6. East versus West: German-German Sporting Tensions from Hallstein to Ostpolitik

pdf iconDownload PDF (259.9 KB)
pp. 157-186

Nineteen seventy-two was an extraordinary year for the Federal Republic. Within months it not only staged an outstanding Olympics, but via an agreement with wartime allies over the status of West Berlin and a series of treaties with Moscow, Warsaw, Prague, and East Berlin, succeeded in bringing the spirit of global détente to bear on relations with its Eastern neighbors. ...

read more

7. The End of the Games: Germany, the Middle East, and the Terrorist Attack

pdf iconDownload PDF (419.2 KB)
pp. 187-220

On 5 September 1972 terrorism made its first major impact on global television. As hooded heads stood sentry with combat rifles on the balcony of the Israeli team’s accommodation at 31 Connollystraße, the terrorists, “ ‘super-entertainers of our time,’ offer[ed] . . . irresistibly dramatic bait which [the world’s media could not] help but swallow.”1 ..

read more

8. Conclusion: Olympic Legacies

pdf iconDownload PDF (231.8 KB)
pp. 221-240

On the penultimate day of the Games, twelve hundred guests—including the International Olympic Committee (IOC), its outgoing and incoming presidents (Brundage and Killanin), and German politicians Heinemann, Brandt, and Goppel—had been expected at the Lenbachhaus gallery for an evening of champagne and sparkling conversation. ...


pdf iconDownload PDF (234.1 KB)
pp. 241-310


pdf iconDownload PDF (109.6 KB)
pp. 311-328


pdf iconDownload PDF (958.3 KB)
pp. 329-348

Further Reading, Production Notes

pdf iconDownload PDF (45.0 KB)
pp. 364-366

E-ISBN-13: 9780520947580
Print-ISBN-13: 9780520262157

Page Count: 368
Publication Year: 2010

Series Title: Weimar and Now: German Cultural Criticism