The Munich massacre refers to the terrorist attack that occurred during the Summer Olympic Games of 1972 in Munich, West Germany. This was the first time the Olympics had returned to Germany since 1936. It was the time when Nazism was at its peak with Adolf Hitler hoping to use these games in showing the world his Aryan Race’s superiority on a global stage. The hope of most Germans was that the games would in a way help in healing racial wounds that Hitler had caused. Political unrest was rife in the world. The Vietnam War was being raged, violence was littered all over the Middle East and racial tensions were high in the United States. Gustav Heinemann, the German President welcomed these games as a major milestone towards a new life aiming at enhancing peaceful co-existence among all people.
What happened during the Munich Massacre?
It was on 5th September 1972, 4:30 in the morning when five terrorists from Palestine dressed in track suits climbed the fence that surrounded the Olympic Village. The terrorists were seen by some people climbing the fence which had a height of six-feet and a width of six inch. However, people did not think that was something unusual because athletes hopped on the fence routinely. The weapons of the terrorists were hidden in the athletes’ bags. There were three more who met the five men inside the village. It is presumed that the three had obtained the necessary credentials for entering the village. Using stolen keys, the Palestinian terrorists entered the two apartments that the Israeli team was using at 31 Connollystrasse. They rounded up occupants of the apartment 1 first then apartment 3. Although the Israelis tried to fight back, the terrorists killed two. Several others escaped through the window but the terrorists took nine of them hostage. By around 5:10 in the morning, the police were already informed about it. News about the attack was also spreading across the globe.
Why the terrorists made the attack
The terrorists issued their demands through the window. The demands included the release of 234 individuals from prisons in Israel and two held in German prisons before 9 am. However, the deadline was extended to noon through negotiations, then to 1 pm, 3pm and 5pm. Nevertheless, the terrorists did not back down and Israel also declined to release prisoners making a confrontation inevitable. On realizing that their demands would not be met, the terrorists asked for planes to fly them and hostages out to Cairo. Germany agreed but planned for the Operation Sunshine. This was an operation for storming into the apartment. Via the television, the terrorists learnt about the plan. The Germans planned another attack on terrorists as they go to the airport. However, the terrorists again learnt about their plans.
How the Munich massacre issue was dealt with
At around 10:30 pm, the hostages and terrorists were moved in a helicopter to Fürstenfeldbruck airport. The Germans had snipers at the airport ready to confront terrorists but the terrorists learnt that a trap had been set for them. They shot at the snipers that were shooting towards them. A policeman and two terrorists were killed after which there was a stalemate. Armored cars were requested by the Germans but they arrived after more than an hour.
On their arrival, the terrorists realized that this was their end time. One of them jumped to a helicopter shooting four hostages. He also threw a grenade. Another terrorist jumped into another helicopter and killed five more hostages. The armored cars and snipers killed three terrorists but three terrorists managed to survive and they were arrested. The German government released the three terrorists later after a plane was hijacked by members of the Black September who threatened that they would blow up the plane if the three were not released.
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