One of the major international crises of the Cold War was the Berlin Airlift that took place after the Second World War. In the year 1948, all the roads and the railways travel to and from the West Berlin were blocked. This blockade was an attempt by the Soviet Union in order to limit abilities of Great Britain, France and the United States in travelling to their sectors of Berlin. This disturbed the supplies that the city received and affected the economy drastically. This crisis started on 24th June 1948 and ended on 12th May 1949. The United States and United Kingdom responded to the crisis by airlifting the basic necessities and supplies from the allied airbases.
After the end of the Second World War in the year 1945, Germany was defeated and was divided into British, Soviet, American and French occupational zones. Berlin was located within the Soviet occupational zone but it was again divided into four sectors where the allies took city’s western part and the eastern part of the city was taken by the Soviets. Even when the hostilities ended after the war, it was not decided properly about what to do with Germany, in the Potsdam Conference that was held on the month of July 1945. There were inconsistencies prevailing in the policymaking and the leadership. The policies related to occupations also faced a lot of unforeseen challenges. Several occupational policies started to be made that started to increase the tension between Soviet Union and the Western powers. All these resulted into the cold war and the blockade of the facilities to and from Berlin. Bombing at regular intervals by the allied country converted the city into rubbles and there was dominance of black market within the economy. Around 2 million people in Berlin started to starve as they were all deprived of food and other basic supplies.
Under the administration of U.S. President Harry S. Truman it was thought upon that this aggressive move would result into another world war and hence started one of the most important operations under the direct control of German Governor General Lucius D. Clay. Planes started to take off from Western Germany and England and it were loaded with the basic necessities like food, water, clothing, medicines and fuel. At the initial stage, about 5000 tons of supplies were delivered to Berlin every day and it increased to 8000 tons of supplies per day with the passage of time. The Allies counted for about 2.3 million tons cargo throughout the airlift operations that were being carried about by more than 200,000 planes. Aircrews were being used from the Royal Air Force, French Air Force, United States Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force, Royal Canadian Air Force, Royal New Zealand Air Force and South African Air Force. This airlift operation gained a huge public sympathy as the operation continuously went on for 321 days and on 12th May 1949 the Soviets had to reopen their blocked borders.
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