The Berlin Airlift 1948 - 1949


1948, Berliners watch plane land in Berlin

-After WWII Germany was divided into 4 zones

-Berlin was in Soviet Zone & was also divided into 4 zones

-Western countries delivered food & supplies to Berlin through air because other routes blocked by Soviets

-some historians call it first battle of Cold War because it was first major conflict

-Truman didn’t want to start WWIII so the airlift was alternative to fighting

-total coast= $224 million


Berlin Blockade, 1948

-started June 24, 1948

-Soviets wanted to control Berlin so they started blockade to keep supplies from being delivered

-Soviets thought the blockade would drive France, US & GB out of Berlin permanently

-closed highways, railroads & canals

-Soviets thought if they could cut Berlin off it would fall under their control

-Berlin had only 36 days of food when blockade started

-ended May 12, 1949 & canals and roads were reopened


-code named “Operation Vittles” by American military; known as “Air Bridge” to people in Berlin

-lasted over a year

-Western countries didn’t want to give up Berlin or start war- thought they could send in supplies by air

-USSR thought airlift would fail & citizen in Berlin would give up

-Very difficult task because 2 million people lived there

-Over next 10 months- US & GB flew almost 300,000 flights to Berlin

-US & GB brought 2.3 million tons of supplies

-bases for Airlift in England & Western Germany

-700 aircrafts used; over 100 = civilian operators

-Every 30 seconds- Allie plane would take off or land

-intended to be short term operation but lasted longer than expected

-ended May 12 when blockade ended


supplies being loaded onto a plane to be airlifted to Berlin, 1949

-15,000 tons of food were needed per day to keep the people alive

-need food, clothes, medical supplies, medicine, and coal (for energy)

-about 65% of cargo = coal

-in all about 2.3 million tons were delivered

Operation "Little Vittles"

"Operation Little Vittles"

-pilots often dropped candy tied to parachutes

-helped moral in Berlin

-by end of airlift 3 tons of candy had been dropped


citizens in Berlin receiving supplies

-life in Berlin= very difficult during blockade & airlift

-fuel was rationed

-people got most of their supplies from black market

-wasn’t a lot of luxuries

Letter to Truman from American Citizen

This is a letter to President Truman from an American citizen during the Cold War. It criticizes Truman for what we did during the Berlin Airlift and the Cold War in general. In the letter, the man calls him stupid.



Created By
Katherine Erbach

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