Berlin Wall: Berlin Blockade

With Germany divided between six countries and Berlin between four, the future of how Germany was to be governed still had to be decided.

Western Powers were keen to ensure that Germany did not turn into a communist country - fearing the threat of the rapidly spreading communism. Britain, France and the USA decided that it would be easier to control their zones of Germany and Berlin if they joined them together and named it West Germany.

Joseph Stalin was threatened by this alliance as he felt that it put them in a stronger position, and in turn the Western Powers would eventually take over - delaying / stopping the advancement of communist countries.

With West Berlin being directly in the middle of the USSR zone, Stalin was able to cut all land access to the city - which in turn became known as the Berlin Blockade… See here for other tactics used in conflict.

West Berlin could now only be accessed by air - meaning it was very difficult for West Berliners to get out and for necessities such as food and medicine to get into the country. This put those who lived there in a very dangerous and vulnerable position.

Not wanting to go to war, nor wanting to surrender West Berlin and give the Soviet Union more power, the Western Allies decided to supply the essential supplies to Berlin through the air. This was known as the Berlin Airlift.

The blockade and airlift lasted nearly a year from June 1948 until May 1949 (when Stalin ended the blockade). The Berlin Airlift cost the USA $350 million and the United Kingdom £17 million.

The blockade was then lifted by Stalin and the Soviet Union and West Berlin could now be accessed… Although the blockade was one of the heights of the Cold War when it was lifted the tensions between the opposing eastern and western countries still existed - Berlin being one city which clearly demonstrated this.

This was by no means the first use of planes and air travel to provide resources. See here for more details on the Seige of Kut during the First World War!



At the height of the Berlin Airlift, a plane from the Western powers landed at Berlin’s Templehof Airport every minute!