At the end of WWII Germany was divided into territories occupied by the American, Soviet, French, and British Military Forces. Berlin a major city located in Germany was also split up: the United States, Great Britain, and France all had territories in the western part of the city. The soviet Union had control of the eastern side of the city.
Map of all the occupied zones in Germany.
Map of all occupies zones in Berlin .
The United States, Britain, and France wanted reunification with the Soviet Union, but the soviets had been invaded twice in recent memory by Germany "and had no interest in that country's reunification". So the U.S., Britain, and France instead combined their sectors into one sector called Bizonia. With this they also created a new currency called the Deutch Mark. To the Soviets this was the last straw, so they started the Berlin Blockade.
June 15, 1948 - the Soviet authorities announced that the autobahn, the highway that connected western Germany to Berlin would be closed indefinitely. The Soviets thought that the blockade would drive the western allies (U.S., Britain, and France) out of Berlin, but the western powers thought withdrawal was not an option.
The U.S. Military Commander of this time made a speech stating that, "if we withdraw our position in Europe is threatened, and communism will run rampant"
The U.S. Leaders thought of ways to make the Soviets stop the blockade, one of the main ones being force. The idea was overruled when President Truman said that it was unwise to use force to drive the Soviets back, as there was too many risks such as: turning the cold war into an actual war, and turning it into a nuclear war. So the U.S. found another solution, the Berlin Airlift.
The idea of the Berlin Airlift was to supply all the western sectors by air using open air corridors
The western powers delivered food, fuel, and other records to their districts. Over 5,000 tons per day were being flown over at the beginning of the year, still life in Berlin at this time was harsh. Many people would have to go to the black market to obtain many goods, and fuel and electricity was rationed.
Some of the airplanes that were used:
Douglas C-54 Spymaster capable of hauling 10 tons.
Douglas C-47 capable of hauling 3.5 tons of cargo.
Near the end of the Berlin Airlift, the shipments increased to 8,000 tons per day. The Soviets realized that the western powers were not going to give up and it was clear that the Soviets were losing, so on May 12, 1949 they reopened all the roads and things that they had closed.
2.3 million items of cargo were shipped in total.