4 Trivia Questions about the Munich Massacre

September 5, 1972, was the day that a group of Palestinian terrorists broke into the Olympic Village apartment of the male Israeli athletes and their coaches. Try answering these trivia questions about one of the most somber Olympic memories in the Games' history.


Why Did the Terrorists Target the Olympic Team? # Photo credit: By ProhibitOnions, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2358533. The terrorists were part of an organization called Black September. The immediate reason for the attack was to force the release of 236 Arab and German prisoners. However, later speculation suggested that the terrorists had hit Munich in an effort to gain more publicity for their cause. In the early 1970s, more Arab countries were finally improving relations with Israel, leaving Palestinians feeling more and more isolated. An attack in Europe, especially in Munich (this was the first Olympics held in German territory since World War II and was widely seen as a way for West Germany to help its image) against Israelis, would have been a real attention-getter, to put it lightly.

Why Did West Germany Release the Three Terrorists Police Had Managed to Capture Alive? Despite the bloodbath that ended the siege, West German police did manage to capture three of the terrorists. However, in late October, those three were released, much to the dismay of Israel and the athletes' families. What happened was that the Black September group had hijacked a Lufthansa plane, demanding the release of the three. The West German government quickly released the terrorists (after all, Black September had already shown it was willing to torture and kill many people for its aims). According to multiple reports, Israeli security agents later tracked down and killed many of those believed to be responsible for the Munich attack.


What News Made That Security Situation Even More Distressing? # Photo credit: By ??? ?? - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18393143. In 2012, new documents were released that showed that Germany had been warned about a potential attack. In fact, Germany had been warned several times, and after the attack, officials attempted to cover up those warnings. The lax security at the village may have been well-intended, but they were misguided at best and incompetent and stupid at worst.

What New Information Came to Light Over 40 Years After the Massacre? In December 2015, officials released new details about what the athletes went through at the hands of the terrorists. This was not just a case of brief fights and shootouts ending in death -- it turned out that the athletes had been beaten so badly and for so long that their bones were broken, and one athlete was castrated in front of other hostages.

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