33.gifBerlin Airlift33.gif

After World War II, the Allies decided that Germany would be divided into four different sections. This allow each ally (France, USA, Great Britain and the Soviet Union) to have its own area with which would include the military government of its occupier. This was only temporary and would immediately be changed once an appropriate national government was created.

While Harry Truman was campaigning for re-election in 1948, there was the possibility that a World War III would ensue . He also had his lowest rating yet due to Republicans looking down upon him due to his non aggressive move against communism. During this time, the Soviet Union had already been able to occupy Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria.
McCarthyism was also on the rise in Washington.
Food rations in Germany were very low and communist groups appealed to those in need- as it always does during desperate times. This struck the British French and Americans to the core. Communism was the last thing they wanted to spread.
In March 1947, Great Britain and the USA combined their zones to create Bizonia. One major zone in Europe. France later followed their steps and it was changed to Trizonia. The combining of the zones helped create economic stability even though there was German recession going on.
To help improve the economy even more, the United States and British asked for a new currency to be printed. The Soviet Union declined this offer hoping that the the German recession would continue and also because they preferred their Soviet Reichsmark. They hoped that by decling the offer, communism would rise due to civil unrest.
At a the March 1948 meeting of the ACC, it was clear that the Soviet Union had no plans of accepting the new currency. The Soviet members present literally marched out of the meeting. So finally, without the support of the Soviet Union, Trizonia created its own currency on June 18, 1948.

Immediate Cause:
Without the Soviet Union's support, the United States, France and Britain produced the new currency for Trizonia because there were so many German marks in circulation that the they became close to worthless. So to the western allies, this was the greatest plan yet. The Soviet Union did not like this very much because it was afraid that if the currency was successful, West Germany's power would over shadow its own. As a result of that, when the new currency was introduced to West Berlin, the Soviet Union cut it off from the Western German zones. This blockade of Berlin began on June 24, 1948.
The Soviets, trying to push the west out of Berlin, countered this move by requiring that all Western convoys bound for Berlin travelling through Soviet Germany be searched. The Trizone government, recognizing the threat, refused the right of the Soviets to search their cargo. The Soviets then cut all surface traffic to West Berlin on June 27. American ambassador to Britain, John Winnant, stated the accepted Western view when he said that he believed "that the right to be in Berlin carried with it the right of access." The Soviets, however, did not agree. Shipments by rail and the autobahn came to a halt. A desperate Berlin, faced with starvation and in need of vital supplies, looked to the West for help. The order to begin supplying West Berlin by air was approved later by U.S. General Lucius Clay on June 27. President Truman, wishing to avoid war or a humiliating retreat, supported the air campaign, against many advisors wishes. Surviving a normally harsh German winter, the airlift carried over two million tons of supplies in 270,000 flights. The blockade of Berlin was finally lifted by the Soviets on May 12, 1949. Berlin became a symbol of the United States resolve to stand up to the Soviet threat without being forced into a direct conflic

Airlifts route

The Berlin Airlift started in June 1948, the same year that the Berlin Blockade was established. And it ended in May 1949.

Peope awaiting the drop off of goods in West Berlin.

A little girl carrying back a loaf of bread to her family. It is wrapped in a Soviet newspaper. The title of the newspaper is demanding the end to the airlifts.
The pilots that flew the planes to drop off goods in Berlin were treated like rockstars.

"Air Power:The Berlin Airlift." Web. 28 Apr. 2011. <http://www.centennialofflight.gov/essay/Air_Power/berlin_airlift/AP35.htm>.
"Cold War 1945-1960." Funfront.net. Web. 28 Apr. 2011. <http://www.funfront.net/hist/europe/coldwar.htm>.
"The Berlin Airlift-June 24, 1948 to May 12, 1949." Harry S. Truman Library and Museum. Web. 28 Apr. 2011. <http://www.trumanlibrary.org/teacher/berlin.htm>.