June 24, 1948 - Berlin Blockade
The Berlin Blockade was initiated on June 24, 1948 and lasted until May 12, 1949: a total of 11 months. The Berlin Blockade was created by the USSR in attempt to cripple the British, France and the United States’ ability to travel in and between their designated regions of post WWII Germany. The effects of the blockade included leaving 2.5 million people without supplies including electricity, heat and food. The only way that the Allies could keep people alive was by dropping supplies from planes. Over eleven months, US and British planes delivered 2.3 million tons of supplies to the stranded people of Bizonia (West Germany). To fully understand why the Berlin Blockade happened, you must understand what lead to it.
It all started at the Yalta Conference in 1945 where it was decided Germany would be split up into four zones. The U.S., Britain and France had similar ideas about what they wanted to do in Germany, while the Soviets went in a different direction. The U.S., Britain and France wanted to help revitalize Germany’s economy. One way they did this was by introducing a new currency in the west part of Germany. The U.S. also wanted to help other war-torn countries similar to Germany, and they made a plan to do so. This plan was called the Marshall Plan, and the US saw it as a way to stop the spread of the communism, something they would try to do throughout the entire Cold War. Stalin did not like the Allies’ plan with Germany and the rest of Europe. Stalin thought the Allies were attempting to make the economy in West Germany fail. Once the Allied forces combined regions in West Germany, Stalin activated the Blockade.
The Berlin Blockade was one of the first confrontations between the United States and the USSR in the Cold War, which in total lasted 45 years (which one lasted 45 years). This dilemma heightened tensions between the two world superpowers because Stalin wanted and thought the US would leave Europe alone after the war and the USSR would be the sole influence over the continent. The Berlin Blockade also encouraged the US to join NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), which they did in July of 1949. On the other side, the USSR was in its own alliance, the Warsaw Pact. Post war Germany is considered one of the starting factors of the Cold War.
US and British planes lifting off to deliver supplies
German Citizens watching the planes deliver supplies to them in their war-torn country.
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Nelsson, Richard. “The Berlin blockade – archive, 1948.” The Guardian, 27 July 2018, http://www.theguardian.com/world/from-the-archive-blog/2018/jul/27/berlin-blockade-cold-war-1948. Accessed 27 May 2020.