After briefly revisiting the geopolitical context of the Palestinian “Black September” attack during the 1972 Munich Olympics, which led to the death of eleven Israeli Olympians and one Bavarian policeman, this lecture will focus on the manifold legacies of the “Munich Massacre” as they have played out over the past half-century.
Included in this discussion will be the controversial decision to go on with Olympic play despite the tragedy; the even more controversial release by the Willy Brandt government of three imprisoned guerillas; the Israeli government’s campaign to track down all those involved in the attack; effects of the Munich tragedy on German-Israeli and German-Arab relations; memorialization of the victims in Munich and elsewhere; impacts of the assault on the Olympic movement and future Games; and finally, Munich 1972’s place in the global “arc of terror” as it continues on to this day.
David Clay Large is a professor of history at the Fromm Institute at the University of San Francisco and Senior Fellow of the Institute of European Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. As a specialist in modern German history, he is the author of Nazi Games: The Olympics of 1936 (2007), Munich 1972: Tragedy, Terror, and Triumph at the Olympic Games (2012), and The Grand Spas of Central Europe: A History of Intrigue, Politics, Art, and Healing (2015). Several of his books have been translated into German, most recently Hitlers München. Aufstieg und Fall der Hauptstadt der Bewegung (C.H. Beck, 2018).
The Yerushalmi Lecture is supported by the Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Munich and Upper Bavaria.