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The Berlin Airlift and the Berlin Wall

Page history last edited by jfrank@... 1 month, 4 weeks ago

Berliners watching a C-54 land at Berlin Tempelhof Airport, 1948

Berliners watching a C-54 land at Berlin Tempelhof Airport, 1948


The City of Berlin Germany was a prominent hotspot during the Cold War and was the first place the war started.

  • Immediately following WWII, Berlin was split in half by the Soviets and the remaining allies (US, England, and France). Each side would stand face to face armed and ready to battle.
    • The US wanted all of Germany to become a democracy but only had control over the west part of the nation.



The Berlin Airlift (1948-49)

At the end of World War II, Berlin was a divided city with different sections controlled by American, British and Russian forces.

  • June 24, 1948 the Soviets blockaded rail, road and water access to allied-controlled areas of the city
  • The US launched the Berlin Airlift of 1948-49.
    • The US air-dropped supplies to aid the civilians there and also to promote pro-US/western sentiments through propaganda.

The Berlin Airlift from the Cold War mini-series

The Hero of the Berlin Airlift: The Candy Bomber

The Berlin Airlift Student Activity, from Harry S. Truman Presidential Library


Berlin Airlift Footage and PSA from British News in 1949


Building the Berlin Wall (1961-1989)

The Berlin Wall, from BBC

external image hith-10-things-berlin-wall-construction-306-bn-104-1-AB.jpeg

The continuing existence of the two German states increased Cold Wartensions throughout the 1950s.

  • West Berlin was surrounded by East German territory. East Germany, however, proclaimed East Berlin as its capital, a move that was not recognized by the western powers.
    • The tensions between east and west culminated in the construction of the Berlin Wall. This was exacerbated by a tank standoff at Checkpoint Charlie on 27 October 1961.
  • The wall represented the animosity the two sides felt toward one another and would divide the German capital for years while it was under the occupation of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and the Warsaw Pact.
    • This wall would stand until 1989 when the wall was torn down, effectively and symbolically ending the Cold War.


The Fall of the Berlin Wall (1989)

Crane removing a section of the Berlin Wall, December 21, 1989
Crane removing a section of the Berlin Wall, December 21, 1989

The Berlin Wall Falls and the USSR Dissolves, Office of the Historian, United States Department of State

How the Wall Came Down, November 10, 1989

  • One of the people who came through the wall that day was Angela Merkel, later Chancellor of Germany

How the Fall of the Berlin Wall Really Happened, New York Times (November 6, 2014)


NBC News Coverage of the Fall of the Berlin Wall

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