1952 Inter-Camp P.O.W. Olympics

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The 1952 Inter-Camp P.O.W. Olympics was a mock Olympic games held during the Korean War in 1952 in which United Nations POWs held in North Korea competed. It was staged as propaganda to encourage more UN soldiers to surrender.

The games

The POW Olympics were held between 15-27 November 1952 at Pyoktong, North Korea. The Chinese hoped to gain worldwide publicity and, whilst some prisoners refused to participate, some 500 prisoners of 11 nationalities took part.[1] They were representative of all the prison camps in North Korea[citation needed] and competed in American football, baseball, softball, basketball, volleyball, track and field, soccer, gymnastics, and boxing.[1] 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.[1]

Overall Result Team (Teams were arranged by Camp)[2]
1st Camp 5 (Pyoktong, North Korea)
2nd Camp 1 (Changsong, North Korea)
3rd Camp 4 (Pyoktong, North Korea)

Propaganda value

The Olympics featured frequently in North Korean psychological warfare (PSYWAR) pamphlets and leaflets distributed to UN soldiers.[3][4] The 1952 Olympics allowed Communist forces to point to the good conditions available to those who surrendered.[2][5]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Adams, (2007), p. 62.
  2. ^ a b "POW Olympics Intro RedirectPage".
  3. ^ Peace "magazine" (n.2), October 1952
  4. ^ Propaganda leaflet, 1952
  5. ^ http://library.ndsu.edu/digital/files/2010/04/Themes-in-Korean-War.pdf


  • Young, Charles S. (2014). Name, Rank, and Serial Number: Exploiting Korean War POWs at Home and Abroad. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-518348-1.
  • Adams, Clarence (2007). An American Dream: The Life of an African American soldier and POW Who Spent Twelve Years in Communist China. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press. ISBN 978-1-5584-9595-1.

External links

  • Scotland at War, including some artifacts and information from Scottish POWs at the 1952 Olympics
  • Pictures and scans of the 1952 Olympic programme
  • They chose China (documentary, with Chinese subtitle)

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