The Airlift turns sixty

A day of celebration
THE SPRING WEATHER took mercy on Berlin this Tuesday. Under a blue sky and a gentle sun, tens of thousands of Berliners and guests spilled onto the apron of the former Tempelhof Airport to celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the end of the Berlin Airlift. It was a memorable occasion – but not everyone in Berlin was paying attention.

Berlin Airlift

Berlin Airlift

Berlin – the “front city” of the Cold war
The Berlin Blockade of 1948/49 could have finished Europe off for good. It would not have taken much. The wartime Alliance between the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union began breaking down almost as soon as victory was declared in May of 1945. The main conflict concerned the future political and economic structure of the new Europe. The Western Allies intended for Europe to become democratic and capitalistic, the pivot of a new Anglo-American-dominated global economic order. However, Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, whose country had just lost upwards of 20 million of its citizens in the war against Germany, remained profoundly suspicious of Western motives and made it clear on several occasions that at least Europe’s eastern half was to become socialist and be made part of the Soviet sphere of influence.  This fundamental disagreement would soon have fateful consequences for occupied Germany…

Continued…

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