What was the 1952 Inter-Camp POW Olympics?

Introduction

The 1952 Inter-Camp P.O.W. Olympics (Chinese: 1952年战俘营奥运会; 碧潼战俘营奥运会), also known as Inter-Camp POW Olympic Games, was a mock Olympic Games held at the Pyuktong Prisoner-of-War Camp (碧潼战俘营) of the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army during the Korean War.

The athletes were all United Nations (UN) Prisoners of War (POWs). It was often used as a propaganda campaign by China and North Korea to encourage more United Nations (UN) soldiers to surrender.

1952 Inter-Camp P.O.W. Olympics was not authorised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), but was organised by the Chinese People’s Volunteer Army, in accordance with the Olympic Charter.

Refer to The Olympics Games and World War, the 1936 Summer Olympics, and the 1936 Winter Olympics.

The Games

The POW Olympics were held between 15-27 November 1952 at Pyuktong, D.P.R.K.

The Chinese hoped to gain worldwide publicity and, whilst some prisoners refused to participate, over 500 prisoners of 11 nationalities took part.

They were representative of all the prison camps in North Korea and competed in American football, baseball, softball, basketball, volleyball, track and field, soccer, gymnastics, and boxing.

For the prisoners, this was an opportunity to meet with friends from other camps. They also acted as photographers, announcers and even reporters, who after each day’s competition published a newsletter, the Olympic Roundup.

Teams were arranged by camp, with the overall result being:

  • First: Camp 5, Pyoktong, North Korea.
  • Second: Camp 1, Changsong, North Korea.
  • Third: Camp 4, Pyoktong, North Korea.

Propaganda Value

The Olympics featured frequently in North Korean psychological warfare (PSYWAR) pamphlets and leaflets distributed to UN soldiers.

The 1952 Olympics allowed Communist forces to point to the good conditions available to those who surrendered.

1994 Summer Olympics

1944 Summer Olympics during the Second World War at which prisoners of war from Oflag II-C staged a comparable unofficial Olympic games.

Olympic Games Abandoned Due to War

  • 1916 Summer Olympics.
  • 1940 Summer Olympics.
  • 1940 Winter Olympics.
  • 1944 Summer Olympics.
  • 1944 Winter Olympics.
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