June 24, 1948 ~ The Berlin Blockade Begins

Today in 1948, One of the most dramatic standoffs in the history of the Cold War begins.

Following World War II, Germany was divided into occupation zones. The Soviet Union, led by Joseph Stalin, occupied most of eastern Germany, while the other Allied nations occupied western Germany. The German capital of Berlin was similarly divided.

Almost immediately, differences between the United States and the Soviet Union surfaced over the issues of reparations and the reunification of Germany.

When negotiations broke down, on June 24th 1948, the Soviet Union instituted a blockade on West Berlin.

President Harry S. Truman’s response was immediate. He ordered a massive airlift of supplies into West Berlin in what was to become one of the greatest logistical efforts in history.

In all, 200,000 sorties were flown, providing West Berliners nearly 13,000 tons of necessities in a day.

On May 12, 1949, the Soviets officially ended the blockade, and the first major multinational skirmish of the cold war.


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