merged their sectors together to create what became "West Germany"
So what did Europe do about the blockade?
European countries already in talks to create a mutual security agreement even before the blockade
Brussels Pact (March 1948)
Berlin was in East Germany but was supported by the Allies in West Germany
Berlin was divided into two sections
Stalin saw this as an attempt to reunify Germany
Cuts off traffic between Berlin and West Germany in June 1948
Two million people in West Berlin were cut off from their supply of food and fuel
Decided to send supplies to West Berlin by air
Thousands of tons of food, fuel, clothing, and other supplies airlifted into Berlin for the next 11 months
Stalin lifts the blockade in May 1949
Halvorsen started to throw candy to the waiting children below
Americans began donating to the effort and other pilots joined in
23 tons of candy were dropped during the airlift.
has now relegated the currency question torelative insignificance in comparison to the far more explosive problem inherentin the establishment of two separate governments in Berlin.
In this Revision Bite you will learn about the causes of the Berlin Blockade crisis of 1948 - how Stalin was eventually forced to abandon the plan that could have cost the lives of thousands living in divided Berlin or started another war.
Truman had thrown the gauntlet at Stalin's feet. The USSR had to now choose between war and peace. He refused to give the order to shoot down the American planes. Over the next eleven months, British and American planes flew over 4000 tons of supplies daily into West Berlin. As the American public cheered "," Stalin began to look bad in the eyes of the world. He was clearly willing to use innocent civilians as pawns to quench his expansionist thirst. In May 1949, the Soviets ended the blockade. The United States and Britain had flown over 250,000-supply missions.
Truman was faced with tough choices. Relinquishing Berlin to the Soviets would seriously undermine the new doctrine of containment. Any negotiated settlement would suggest that the USSR could engineer a crisis at any time to exact concessions. If Berlin were compromised, the whole of West Germany might question the American commitment to German democracy. To Harry Truman, there was no question. "We are going to stay, period, " he declared. Together, with Britain, the United States began moving massive amounts of food and supplies into West Berlin by the only path still open — the air.
There are three key events that led to the Soviet blockades of Berlin: the institution of the Marshall Plan for European Recovery; the London Conferences of winter and spring of 1948; and the resultant London Program which called for a separate West Germany and currency reform as a means to reach this end.
The next day, Stalin cut off all rail and road links to west Berlin - the Berlin Blockade. The west saw this as an attempt to starve Berlin into surrender, so they decided to supply west Berlin by air.
The first heightening of Cold War tensions occurred in 1948 when the Soviets imposed a partial blockade of Berlin in April, and then a full blockade in June. Understanding the events that led to the imposition of the blockades is the key to understanding the later division of Berlin in 1961 by the Berlin Wall, and the division of the German state that had occurred earlier in 1949 when separate west German (Federal Republic of Germany) and east German (German Democratic Republic) states were established.
The Berlin Blockade lasted 318 days. During this time, 275,000 planes transported 1.5 million tons of supplies and a plane landed every three minutes at Berlin's Templehof airport.
While it was a combination of the three events that led the Soviets to blockade Berlin, the London Program seemed to be the predominant factor in the decision. On March 6th the communiquй regarding the London Program was issued, and in April the Soviets responded by constraining the military supplies entering Berlin via the Soviet zone from the west. This left the western nations with the choice of either being politically pressured out of West Berlin (which would diminish their prestige in the rest of Europe), or staying to institute the currency reform and ultimately establish a separate West German nation.
The western allies decided to stay. In mid-June the west issued a new currency in their zone (but not in western Berlin), and the Soviet Union issued a new currency in their zone. On June 23, the west introduced the new currency into Berlin. The next day the Soviets imposed a complete blockade on Berlin. Railways and highways were restricted so that no surface traffic between the western zones and Berlin could occur. The Soviets were able to do this without breaking any international laws on a technicality; the west and the Soviet Union never made a written pact in regards to the right of western ground access to Berlin. It must be noted that at the time of the blockade Stalin did not give any ultimatums, and while the blockade was in place the Soviets did keep the door open to negotiations on the matter. As a matter of fact, Stalin curiously quipped to a western diplomat during the blockade, “We are still allies.”
But the western powers would not give in. To demonstrate their resolve, the Americans orchestrated a monumental airlift which flew necessities such as coal and food into the western sectors of Berlin. This airlift lasted for 324 days, and approximately 13,000 tons of supplies a day were delivered.
How would you have acted differently on the situation at the end of World War II to ensure free flow of goods from the West to Berlin and to avoid the Berlin Blockade?