The Berlin Blockade (24 June 1948 – 12 May 1949) was one of the first major international crises of the
The Western Allies organised the Berlin airlift (26 June 1948 – 30 September 1949) to carry supplies to the people of West Berlin, a difficult feat given the size of the city's population. Aircrews from the
The first blockade runners were RAF flights made in support of British military personnel stationed in the city. The UK–US then began a joint operation in support of the entire city.By the spring of 1949, the airlift was clearly succeeding, and by April it was delivering more cargo than had previously been transported into the city by rail. On 12 May 1949, the USSR lifted the blockade of West Berlin, although for a time the US, UK and France continued to supply the city by air anyway because they were worried that the Soviets were simply going to resume the blockade and were only trying to disrupt western supply lines.
The Berlin Airlift officially ended on 30 September 1949 after fifteen months. The
The C-47s and C-54s together flew over 92 million miles in the process, almost the
A total of 101 fatalities were recorded as a result of the operation, including 40
The Berlin Blockade served to highlight the competing ideological and economic visions for postwar Europe and played a major role in drawing
From 17 July to 2 August 1945, the victorious
In the eastern zone, the Soviet authorities forcibly unified the
In a June 1945 meeting,
A further factor contributing to the Blockade was that there had never been a formal agreement guaranteeing rail and road access to Berlin through the Soviet zone. At the end of the war, western leaders had relied on Soviet goodwill to provide them with access. At that time, the western allies assumed that the Soviets' refusal to grant any cargo access other than one rail line, limited to ten trains per day, was temporary, but the Soviets refused expansion to the various additional routes that were later proposed.
The Soviets also granted only
Until the blockade began in 1948, the Truman Administration had not decided whether American forces should remain in West Berlin after the establishment of a West German government, planned for 1949.
Berlin quickly became the focal point of both US and Soviet efforts to re-align Europe to their respective visions. As Soviet Foreign Minister
After harsh treatment, forced emigration, political repression and the particularly hard winter of 1945–1946, Germans in the Soviet-controlled zone were hostile to Soviet endeavours.