How Did Stalin Build The Berlin Airlift

Topics: World War II, Soviet Union, Cold War Pages: 3 (671 words) Published: January 6, 2016


Stalin could see that his former allies (and new rivals) in the West were working to build up West Germany as an anti-Soviet anchor in Central Europe, and in the summer of 1948 he sought to retaliate by imposing a blockade upon West Berlin. (West Berlin—comprising the British, American, and French sectors of the German capital—was an anticommunist island, surrounded on all sides by Soviet-controlled East Germany; the geography made it easy for Stalin to cut off access.) On 24 June 1948, Stalin blocked all traffic into and out of West Berlin and cut off the city's electricity. President Harry Truman did not want to start World War III by challenging Stalin's blockade with force, so instead he ordered General Lucius Clay to organize a rescue mission, known as "Operation Vittles," which we now know as the Berlin Airlift....

Over the course of the Berlin Airlift, cargo planes touched down in the besieged city an average of once every three minutes, 24 hours a day. A phenomenal feat of military coordination and humanitarian assistance, the Berlin Airlift demonstrated American resolve not to give in to Communist expansion. In May 1949, a frustrated Stalin lifted his embargo upon the city. Soon after, the western zones of the country officially united into a new country, the Federal Republic of Germany (a.k.a. West Germany). In October 1949, the Soviets followed by announcing the organization of the German Democratic Republic (a.k.a. East Germany) to take over the former Soviet zone of occupation. Germany would remain divided for the next forty...
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