1972
1972 Olympic Games

Munich Massacre

On the 5th of September, 1972, the world woke up with frightening footage of the terrorist group Black September, who had invaded the facilities of the Israeli athletes in the Munich Olympic Games.

Two Israeli athletes had been killed, while nine others had been made hostages.

The kidnappers asked the Israel government to release of 234 political prisoners.

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Conrad Ahlers, porta-voz da RFA
BR

Still on the 5th , Conrad Ahlers, mouthpiece of the Federal Republic of Germany, who was ready to be interviewed in the evening news, got a phone call from the Minister of Foreign Relations, who had just been informed by the police that the rescue operation had gone according to plan. Ahlers announces, on air, that the rescue had been successful.

Thirty minutes earlier, DPA, the German news agency, had already reported the success of the operation.

In the morning of the 6th of September, European morning newspapers wrote that the hostages had been released.

However, the news would turn out to be false.

Hours later, information started to circulate saying that all of the hostages had been killed in the rescue mission, in addition to a German cop and five terrorists.

The most famous sentence documenting what had happened was said by ABC’s Jim McKay.

“They’re all gone.”

“When I was a kid my father used to say "Our greatest hopes and our worst fears are seldom realized." Our worst fears have been realized tonight. They have now said there were 11 hostages; two were killed in their rooms this morn-- yesterday morning, nine were killed at the airport tonight. They're all gone.”

mckay they are all gone final - Computer.m4v

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American Political History

The attack by the group Black September was one of the first to have a live coverage, also because hundreds of journalists were there to cover the 1972 Olympics.

It’s estimated that around 900 million of people, in more than 100 countries, watched the incident on television.

British channel BBC had put together the largest Media coverage of the Munich Olympic Games and David Coleman followed the negotiations between the terrorists and the German police during the entire afternoon.

"A masked figure of doom" was the capture of the picture which became known as the image of the massacre, published by Life magazine.

After the ruins of World War Two and the consequences of Nazism, Germany tried to build a good image and reputation in front of the world and the Munich Olympics were the perfect mean to change the country’s image.

Years prior, in 1936, the Berlin Olympic Games had been the stage of Nazi Propaganda.

The 1972 Olympic Games promised to be a turning point for Germany, in a demonstration of joy, union and peace. With the intent of showing a friendlier Germany, security was purposely reduced.

The competition would end up stained by tragedy.