West Germany’s failure in the fight against terrorism on September 5, 1972 had historical causes. Not only against the Palestinians, because they cooperated closely with the German RAF and other Western European and Japanese left-wing terrorists. Even with right-wing terrorists. The German failure had a method, so to speak, due to history. The “historical site” of the 1972 Olympics with regard to German-Israeli relations is marked here.
Germany’s behavior on and since September 5, 1972 was the visible beginning of West German self-amnesty towards Israel and Jews, yes, from the Holocaust. To this day, it is sold quite differently across all parties: Israel’s security is German raison d’état. In March 2008, Angela Merkel poured this “guarantee” into enduring, full-bodied, unrealistic wording in front of Israel’s parliament. As a result of decades of neglecting internal and external security, Germany could not and cannot guarantee its own security or that of another country.
In 1972, the Bonn Republic wanted to present itself as a completely renewed, cheerful Germany full of life. Bavarian liberality instead of Prussianism. Resistance fighter Willy Brandt instead of mass murderer Adolf Hitler. Not a league of German girls, but the German “Miss miracle”, personified by cheerful Olympic hostesses. New Germany as Anti-Old Germany.
The world was relieved – finally a normal Germany. It is true that the new Germany of 1972 was by no means as new as it appeared to be, both internally and externally, and that in retrospect it still seems glorifying. In 1972 the Bonn Republic was a both-and-Germany, both new anti-NS and old-NS German. A hermaphrodite, so to speak.
A look at the political personnel proves this thesis. The political fairy tale says: The Brandt Scheel government would have been free of Nazism. This was announced on November 24, 1969 by Brandt’s intimate and Chancellor’s State Secretary Egon Bahr, Israel’s Ambassador Ben Nathan. Therefore, one will appear towards Israel free from feelings of guilt. It goes without saying that Bahr had “no complexes” in this regard, given his Jewish mother and grandmother.
But who knows about the not so harmless NSDAP membership of the SPD ministers Karl Schiller, Horst Ehmke and Erhard Eppler as well as the FDP ministers Walter Scheel, Hans-Dietrich Genscher and Josef Ertl? There was even more brown at the federal state level. Not to mention SPD tin drummer Günter Grass and Helmut Schmidt’s writer friend Siegfried Lenz.
The American IOC President Avery Brundage appeared in 1972 as a non-German central actor courted by old and new Germany as a personal bridge to 1936. Hitler and his family had him to thank for the fact that the Winter and Summer Olympics took place in Nazi Germany, despite numerous concerns. “The games must go on” demanded Brundage in 1972 on the day after the Palestinian terrorist act. Officials Germany expressly acknowledged this on the stadium board at the closing ceremony. “Thank you, Avery Brundage.”
Since 1969 there had also been repeated warnings of and experiences with Palestinian terror in Germany. They were thrown to the wind. Strong security measures, why? Middle East, Palestinian terror? Far away! In the new, peaceful Federal Republic of Germany, which has also been reconciled in terms of Eastern politics since 1970, there could not and would not be any acts of terrorism, that was the dream in Bonn and Bavaria. Germany remained a dream country until 2022. Apart from a few exceptions, Germany’s politicians had not counted on Putin’s war and gas extortion either – inability to think realistically, strategically, non-partisanly.
Then came the emergency on September 5, 1972. Israel, experienced in anti-terror, offered help. Bonn (SPD/FDP) and Munich (CSU) rejected the offer systematically and sometimes arrogantly. The flying Mossad chief was allowed to circle over Munich for two hours in order to prevent his intervention without a scandal. After landing, the Israeli wanted to help. No thanks, they said, a breach of German sovereignty would not be allowed. Who wanted to break her?
Did “the” Jews want to patronize Germany? At least these old and new German tones can be “heard” when reading the relevant documents. Israel raged and warned: The Palestinians would surely free the three surviving terrorists imprisoned in Bavaria. This is what happened on October 29, 1972. Like-minded Palestinians hijacked a Lufthansa plane. The three terrorists imprisoned in Bavaria were released by Germany in no time at all. The assassins happily disembarked in Tripoli, Libya.
All indications indicate that this kidnapping was orchestrated in advance by the SPD/FDP federal government and the Bavarian CSU state government together with the Palestinians.
Nevertheless, in June 1973, Israel’s prime minister, Golda Meir, asked “Comrade Willy” to take his peace proposal to Egyptian President Sadat. Brandt promised – and did nothing. On October 6, 1973, Egypt and Syria started the Yom Kippur War against Israel. After a few days, Israel’s existence was hanging by a thread. The USA wanted to supply the threatened Jewish state with weapons from and via Germany. It’s out of the question, they said. Terror, Munich 1972. War, Middle East 1973. Both times Germany abandoned Israel.
Likewise from 1977 to 1979/82 under Helmut Schmidt and Genscher’s SPD/FDP coalition in the Israeli-Egyptian peace process. Contrary to what is described in his memoirs, Schmidt torpedoed this groundbreaking initiative, but wanted to deliver German tanks to Saudi Arabia, which was hostile to Israel.
The Kohl-Genscher coalition of CDU/CSU and FDP is different. She was willing but unable to stop illegal help from German companies in the chemical and technical armament of the new strongman against Israel: Iraq’s Saddam Hussein. In early 1991, during the Second Gulf War, Iraqi missiles hit Israel. Deeply affected, Germany then granted the Jewish state generous aid for the purchase and delivery of German submarines capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
They should (and can today) enable Israel to carry out a nuclear second strike in the event of a nuclear event. Stop the delivery, it was then under Gerhard Schröder and Joschka Fischer (SPD and Greens). While the chancellor and later friend of Putin never concealed his aversion to Israel, Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer delicately tried to create a good atmosphere between Berlin and Jerusalem.
Angela Merkel verbally followed Fischer’s example. With its security “guarantee” for Israel, it even surpassed the former Greens icon. What’s more, under her direction, the changing coalition partners SPD and FDP also agreed to the subsidized delivery of German corvettes to Israel to protect its gas production facilities in the eastern Mediterranean. But highly initiative and more than just forced also the nuclear deal with Iran, which Israel regards as an existential threat.
Despite nice words in or after Israel, the traffic light coalition is continuing on this course, which is life-threatening from an Israeli point of view. Rightly so or not? That’s not the question. One thing is certain: since the 1972 Olympics, Germany has decoupled itself from Israel’s security of existence due to a lack of will, ability or both. Despite all statements to the contrary. “Normality” in other words.