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1948 - Berlin Airlift


Title: 1948 - Berlin Airlift

About: In response to the Soviet blockade of west Berlin, the Allies organized a massive airlift of supplies to sustain the citizens living in the enclave of democracy behind the Iron Curtain.


The Berlin Blockade and Airlift was the firing pistol that began the Cold War. Having triumphed in the World War II, the Allies and Soviets occupied a divided Germany, and a divided Berlin, but were no longer able to bridge the ideological divide of the democratic and capitalist West and the totalitarian and communist East. 

In June 1948 Britain, France and the USA announced they would unite western Germany, creating a free and democratic country, with a new currency, the Deutschemark. The Soviets promptly announced that the joint administration of Berlin would end and began a blockade of West Berlin, cutting off all land routes and waterways in and out of the city. 

To break the blockade and to deter future Soviet aggression Britain, the US and France began flying in supplies to the over 2,000,000 citizens of West Berlin. It was the largest airlift in history and the first recognisable humanitarian operation carried out by the Armed Forces. 

The Blockade would last 321 days, during which Allied air forces would make 277,500 flights into Tempelhof Airport in West Berlin, delivering over 2,300,000 tons of fuel, food, and other essential supplies.  At the height of the Airlift, one plane reached West Berlin every thirty seconds.

At one minute after midnight on 12 May 1949, the Soviet Union accepted the blockade had failed and ended it. Later that month Western Germany was united and became the new Federal Republic of Germany. The Allied airlift saved thousands of lives and ushered in an era of renewed collaboration amongst western democracies, cemented by the creation of NATO in April 1949.

Decade: 1940s

Year: 1948

Region: Europe

Country: Germany + USSR + USA + UK + France

Conflict: Cold War

Society: Economic

Type: Historical Event

Impact: 6

Artist: Vlad Nikulin


Group: Genesis

Number: 48/100

Price: 0.6 ETH


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