This was the beginning of the end for the combined team. Both teams began to compete separately, but still marched together during the opening ceremony under the compromise flag.
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But in , the Olympics were held in Munich, West Germany—and the GDR competed with its own team and national anthem on what was, by then, enemy ground. East Germany flooded the press with negative reactions to the very idea of the games being hosted in West Germany, including implying that West Germany was still a Nazi state. The country even lobbied to prevent the Olympic torch from going through the USSR and its ally states. It failed—so it focused on performing well at the games instead. Credit: AP Photo.
However, the games are largely remembered not for tension between the two states, but for the massacre in which Palestinian terrorists killed 11 Israeli team members. The separation of the teams had deep significance for both countries. From then on, the countries were irrevocably separate on the Olympic field, and political boycotts further separated the two teams at the Olympics in the years that followed.
The Munich Olympics and the Making of Modern Germany | University of Cambridge
Another separation came in terms of training: Desperate for recognition and medals, East Germany began a state-sponsored doping program in the s that earned its team success, but affected the bodies and lives of young competitors who were recruited by the state to bring East Germany to victory. Though the program was suspected for years, it was only uncovered in , three years after East Germany ceased to be a state. Only after the Berlin Wall fell in did Germany reunify at the Olympics.
Since , the team has been one again after 45 years of tension and separation. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! Twice a week we compile our most fascinating features and deliver them straight to you. Instead, they aim to tell the story of the preparations for the games, placing the whole undertaking of Munich against the fabric of, and indeed as a shaping force within, post-war West German society.
By tracing the multiyear preparations of the Olympics, Schiller and Young are able to view a significant period in German history through a distinctive prism. The disaffected young Germans of were so estranged from their parents—arguably more so than their contemporaries in the United States or other European countries—because the previous generation had experienced National Socialist rule and catastrophic military defeat and they had not.
The 1972 Munich Olympics and the Making of Modern Germany
Aicher determined that Munich should offer equally potent, albeit quite distinct, images to convey its antithetical ideological stance. This concern with national image was at the center of planning for the Summer Olympics in Munich. When the organizers made their bid to host the games, only two decades had passed since the end of the Nazi state.
Germany still had a big image problem, something that the planners hoped to remedy with the Munich games. As Kay and Chris discuss, the West German planners were alert to everything from the graphic design of the venue posters to the legacies of the Berlin Olympics. The aim was to create a Gesamtkunstwerk—a complete work of art—that would depict their country as modern, welcoming, and non-ideological.
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