An unwitting target : the IOC, exiled athletes, and U.S. Government covert operations : 1950-1960

Rider, Toby C

(IOC Olympic Studies Centre Postgraduate Research Grant Programme 2010)

By the time the Cold War emerged after World War II, the Olympic Games had become the largest and most prestigious international athletic festival in the world. This also made it a perfect target for both the United States and the Soviet Union to use as a medium for propaganda and psychological warfare. In this study, I will demonstrate how a refugee organization called the Hungarian National... Plus

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    Summary
    By the time the Cold War emerged after World War II, the Olympic Games had become the largest and most prestigious international athletic festival in the world. This also made it a perfect target for both the United States and the Soviet Union to use as a medium for propaganda and psychological warfare. In this study, I will demonstrate how a refugee organization called the Hungarian National Sports Federation (HNSF) lobbied the International Olympic Committee (IOC) throughout the 1950s, and demanded a change to the Olympic Charter which would accommodate the participation of exiled athletes at the Games. What the IOC did not know, and what the HNSF did not tell them, was that the Hungarian group received funding indirectly through the U.S. government. The efforts of the HNSF were very much political, and stand as yet another example of how both superpowers used culture as a means to fight the Cold War, even encroaching on the Olympics. Unfortunately for the HNSF, the IOC did not succumb to the pressure. The leaders of the IOC continually repelled the efforts to change the Olympic Charter, even though they unwittingly provided a platform for the HNSF to create anti-communist propaganda.