Berlin Blockade and Airlift

The Soviet Union and the United States were on the same side during the war. Unfortunately, tensions rose between the two countries immediately following the Second World War.  This was seen clearly in the situation in Berlin and was the first major crisis of the Cold War.

After Germany surrendered, German territory was divided among the Americans, British, French and the Soviet Union.  Berlin, too, was divided. This made Berlin a very unique city. Berlin was located in the Soviet-controlled East Germany.  However, the west part of the city was democratic and belonged to West Germany, while the eastern section was controlled by the Soviet Union. The people of West Germany could not go into East Berlin or East Germany. Their only connection to West Germany was by train or plane.

On June 24, 1948, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin cut off supplies to West Berlin in hopes of taking over that side of the city in an event known as the "Berlin Blockade." They cut off food and supply deliver, too.  The world teetered on the brink of war.

But instead of war, the United States decided to supply Berlin by plane, dropping tons of food and supplies on the beleaguered city below.  Running day and night, the "Berlin Airlift" supplied the city for 11 months before Stalin backed down.


After the crisis ended, Germany was permanently divided into two countries, West Germany which was Democratic and east Germany, which fell under the Soviet sphere of influence.

A plane brings in much needed supplies to Berlin during the Blockade and Airlift.
(Public Domain)