Berlin Blockade (Great Events from History: North American Series)
Article abstract: Faced with Soviet attempts to cut off West Berlin from the Western Allies’ zones in Germany, the United States and Britain respond with a successful airlift.
Summary of Event
The most important and dramatic confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union in the formative period of the Cold War was the blockade of Berlin and the resulting airlift. The Soviet challenge to the West’s rights of access to Berlin seems to have been designed not only to expel the Western powers from the former German capital but also to prevent the creation of a workable West German government. President Harry S. Truman, General George Marshall, and General Lucius Clay, however, recognized that the continued Western presence in Berlin was a test of the determination of the Western powers regarding the German question. Therefore, they made it clear that the United States would not submit to Stalin’s demands.
The problem in Berlin arose from the wartime agreements among the Allies for the postwar administration of Germany. Zones of occupation were agreed upon for Germany itself. Although Berlin was deep within the Soviet zone, the Allies also arranged sectors in Berlin. U.S., British, and French authorities dutifully assumed their responsibilities in the ruined capital, seeking to cooperate with the Soviet authorities in the Allied Control Council (for all of Germany) and the Kommandatura (for...
(The entire section is 1705 words.)
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Berlin Blockade (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: Type of action: Blockade and airlift in the Cold War. Result: Successful Allied attempt to break the blockade.
On June 24, 1948, the Soviet Union initiated the Berlin Blockade to prevent the Western Allies from merging their three zones of occupation into a new West German republic. A revived German state under Western auspices threatened Soviet designs for a secure sphere in Central and Eastern Europe as protection against possible future aggression from the West. After the United States and Britain announced the introduction of a new form of currency in their zone of occupied Germany, the Soviets responded by imposing a tight blockade around the western sectors of Berlin. They cut off all railways, highways, and waterways leading into the city. If Germany was to be officially divided, reasoned the Soviets, then the Western government would have to abandon its outpost in the heart of the Soviet-controlled eastern zone. In this way, Moscow attempted to control all Berlin by forcing the Western Allies out.
More than 2 million inhabitants of the British, French, and U.S. zones of Berlin were largely dependent on the West for food and supplies. The Western Powers faced the grim choice of abandoning the city or attempting to supply its inhabitants with the necessities of life by air. The Allies refused to give way to Soviet pressure and ordered a massive airlift to supply the city with food, fuel, medicines, and...
(The entire section is 657 words.)