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Professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction, this Air Force publication presents a vivid description of the Berlin Airlift and new interpretations of an event often described as the greatest humanitarian airlift in history. In 1948 the Soviet blockade cut the city of Berlin off from food, fuel, and other necessities from the West and threatened the Western position in post-World War II Europe. The U.S. Air Force and Royal Air Force answered with air power, creating an air bridge of supplies that delivered 2.3 million tons of cargo to the beleaguered city over the next fifteen months. This exceptional work uses recently declassified documents and drawing on material based on sources now available from behind the former Iron Curtain.
Germany in Defeat * Berlin * Breakdown * The Marshall Plan and German Unification * Threat and Response * The April Crisis and the "Little Lift" * Further Provocations * Currency Reform—A Pretext for Soviet Action * Berlin Under Siege * The Airlift Begins * Superfortresses to Great Britain * The Armed Convoy Option * Operation Vittles: An Expedient in Action * Operation Plainfare: The British Operation * To Stay or Go? * Diplomacy Fails * William H. Tunner * Airlift Task Force (Provisional) * Der Schokoladen-flieger * The Search for Additional Bases * "Black Friday" and a Pattern of Operations * Communications and Control * Weather Forecasting * Maintenance and Supply * Field Maintenance * 200-Hour Inspections * Global Logistics for the Airlift * Replacement Training * The Army Hauls the Freight * Some Uncommon Cargos * The Airlift Meets "General Winter" * "Anchors Aweigh" * Airlift, November 1948-May 1949 * The Easter Parade * Contingency Planning: Airlift to 1952 * "Blockade Ends; Airlift Wins" * Dismantling the Airlift * The Berlin Airlift: A Tally and Legacy * Some Basic Statistics * North Atlantic Treaty Organization * Federal Republic of Germany * The Promise of Strategic Air Logistics * Notes
The Berlin Crisis of 1948 had its origins in the dark mind of Joseph Stalin. Plans to interfere with Western access to Berlin were already hatched and harassment had begun by March 19,1948, when the dictator met with German leaders of the Soviet-controlled Party of Socialist German Unity (SED). During the subsequent discussion, German communist leader Wilhelm Pieck warned that the elections scheduled for Berlin in October threatened a disaster for the SED. But, he argued, that humiliation could be prevented if, somehow, the Western powers could be removed from the city. "Let's make a joint effort," Stalin replied, "perhaps we can kick them out." The war Adolf Hitler had begun in 1939 ended in May 1945 with the almost total destruction of Germany and its occupation by the victorious Allied powers—the United States, Great Britain, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The Allies of the "Grand Alliance" had laid the foundations of the peace during a series of wartime conferences between President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and First Secretary of the Communist Party Joseph Stalin. Roosevelt and Churchill first addressed the question of Germany with the acceptance of Roosevelt's controversial demand for unconditional surrender. At Teheran in December 1943, the "Big Three" discussed partitioning Germany into several smaller states, an idea ultimately abandoned because it threatened to sow the seeds for a rebirth of German nationalism.