Acclaimed historian Barry Turner presents a new history of
the Cold War's defining episode.
Berlin, 1948 – a divided city in a divided country in a
divided Europe. The ruined German capital lay 120 miles inside
Soviet-controlled eastern Germany. Stalin wanted the Allies out; the Allies
were determined to stay, but had only three narrow air corridors linking the
city to the West. Stalin was confident he could crush Berlin’s resolve by
cutting off food and fuel.
In the USA, despite some voices still urging ‘America
first’, it was believed that a rebuilt Germany was the best insurance against
the spread of communism across Europe.
And so over eleven months from June 1948 to May 1949,
British and American aircraft carried out the most ambitious airborne relief
operation ever mounted, flying over 2 million tons of supplies on almost
300,000 flights to save a beleaguered Berlin.
With new material from American, British and German archives
and original interviews with veterans, Turner paints a fresh, vivid picture the
airlift, whose repercussions – the role of the USA as global leader, German
ascendancy, Russian threat – we are still living with today.