The Berlin Airlift Events that led to the Berlin Airlift



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The Berlin Airlift
Events that led to the Berlin Airlift:
1. The partition of Germany into 4 Allied control zones

(Britain, France, USA, USSR)

-Allied Control Council was created August 1945
2. Churchill’s 1946 speech of the “Iron Curtain

From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and, in some cases, increasing measure of control from Moscow.



3. The Greek Civil War 1946-1949

-Civil war between the Greek Democratic Party (Royalists) & Greek Communist Party (EAM)

-Stalin had agreed not to interfere in the Mediterranean

-For years Britain had supported Greece but by 1947 Britain was nearly bankrupt

-Truman Doctrine Mar 12, 1947

“the policy of the United States to support free people who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.” Truman

-President Truman said that the United States would support Greece and Turkey with economic and military aid to prevent their falling into the Soviet sphere

-Truman asked the US Congress for $400 million to ensure that Greece and Turkey remain “free nations”

-1949 EAM is defeated

-The Marshall Plan/Marshall Aid April 1948

-Name after Secretary of State George Marshall

-Money to rebuild the European economies after the end of WWII ($13 billion)

-The aims of the USA were to

(a) Rebuild a war-devastated region

(b) Remove trade barriers

(c) Modernize industry

(d) Make Europe prosperous again

Britain received $3 billion, France $2.7 billion

-The Organisation of European Economic Co-operation (OEEC) administered Marshall Aid

-The Truman Doctrine and Marshall Aid were ‘two halves of the same walnut

Britain $3.3 billion Belgium & Luxembourg $777 million

France $2.2 billion Austria $468 million

Germany $1.4 billion Denmark $385 million

Italy $1.2 billion Greece $376 million

The Netherlands $1.1 billion Norway $372 million


4. Stalin’s reasons for the Berlin Blockade:

-1946 American and British sections of Germany were unified ‘Bizonia

-1948 the French section joined the American and British sections

-Stalin feared a strong, united Western Sector of Germany & Berlin

-Stalin thought that the Yalta Agreement which called for re-unification of Germany as soon as possible, was being violated as the three Western powers seemed to be moving toward creation of a Western sector

-Stalin was upset that the three Western Allies in the Western sectors of Germany had accepted Marshall Aid without Stalin’s consent

-Introduction of the Deutschmark June 1948 in West Germany & W. Berlin by the Allies

-Stalin was disappointed that the Western Allies had not left Berlin after the Second World War

-Stalin thought there was no immediate hope for German re-unification and, therefore, Berlin should be fully within the Eastern Zone

-Stalin hoped to force the Western powers to leave Berlin

5. The Berlin Blockade: June 24, 1948 Soviets closed roads, railroads and waterways from West Berlin

US General Lucius Clay: “When Berlin falls, Western Germany will be next.”

-2.5 million Germans in West Berlin were stranded

-Should Americans break Soviet armed blockade?

-No, Russians had more ground troops

-West Berlin needed 4000 tons of supplies per day

-Solution: airlift supplies


6. The Berlin Airlift June 1948-May 1949

-11 months of airlifts through to 1949

-For 11 months, US and British cargo planes left the Western sectors of Germany and landed in West Berlin, sometimes as frequently as every three minutes

-By March 1949, 8 000 tons per day were being airlifted into West Berlin

-B20 bombers were sent to England July 1948

-possibly carried atomic bombs

-Stalin was unable to tempt West Berliners to flee to Soviet side

-May 1949 Stalin calls off blockade

-reopens land routes
7. West Germany (Federal Republic of Germany Bundesrepublik Deutschland) was formed May 23, 1949 (until Oct 3, 1990) from the unification of the three Western sectors

-August 1949 free elections were held

-Konrad Adenauer became West Germany’s first chancellor

-Capital: Bonn



-East Germany (German Democratic Republic Deutsche Demokratische Republik) was formed Oct 7, 1949 in the Eastern (Soviet) sector

-Two hostile camps in Europe were solidified by the end of 1949

Capital: East Berlin
Significance of the Berlin Blockade/Airlift:

(a) Prevented all of Berlin from falling into Soviet control.

(b) Moral victory for the West

(c) USA, Western European nations and Canada decided to form



The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) April 4, 1949

-used collective security by coordinating defense policies

-Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Britain, France, USA, Canada, Portugal, Italy, Norway, Denmark and Iceland.

-Feb 1952 - included Greece and Turkey



-ANZUS April 1952(Australia, New Zealand, United States Security Treaty)

The only three permissible air corridors to Berlin/C-54 lands at Tempelhof Airport (1948)

Russian response: Warsaw Pact 1955

(Treaty of Friendship, Co-operation and Mutual Assistance)

Договор о дружбе, сотрудничестве и взаимной помощи

-Soviet Union, Poland, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Albania (withdrew 1968)


1949 Cold War sinks to a new low

-Soviets develop the atomic bomb 1949

-October 1, 1949 China becomes Communist under Mao Zedong

-Feb 1950 China and USSR signed treaty of friendship and mutual assistance



-USSR would provide China with credit arrangements for the purchase of Soviet goods to the equivalent value of $300 million spread over 5 years (compare that to Marshall Aid)

Mao declares the People’s Republic of China
The Communist Witch Hunt 1950-1954

-Richard Nixon (Republican) led Congressional investigation against Alger Hiss (a former official of the State Department)

-Jan 1950 After two publicized trials, Hiss was found guilty of perjury. Many Americans were convinced that there were other ‘reds’ in the government and Nixon became famous

-Feb 1950 Klaus Fuchs, a British physicist, was discovered to have given secrets of the atomic program to the Russians

-The Trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg March 1951

-Convicted and put to death in 1953 for conspiracy to commit espionage

-Passed information about the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union

-First execution of civilians for espionage in US history



Ethel and Julius Rosenberg Senator Joe McCarthy and Roy Cohn

-Feb 1950 Senator Joseph McCarthy (b.1908-d.1957) announced that State Department had 205 communists working

McCarthyism’

-Originally this term was used to attack communists

-Today it refers to demagogic, reckless, and unsubstantiated accusations, as well as public attacks on the character or patriotism of political opponents

-Those who criticized were branded communists (blacklisted)

-John F. Kennedy: “McCarthy may have something.”

-McCarran Act 1950- forced Communist organizations to send list of members to the government

-Communist Control Act 1954-banned the Communist Party

-McCarthy was only stopped when he tried to inflict his witch-hunt of communists on the US military with the Army-McCarthy Hearings 1954

-December 2, 1954 the US Senate vote to censure McCarthy for his activities

McCarthy died at the age of 48 in May 1957 due to alcoholism

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