Berlin Blockade 1948-1949

[ 1948 - 1949 ]

The Berlin blockade crisis began with continuing Soviet protests over a US policy of promoting the economic recovery of Germany and, by February of 1948, plans for a West German state. The publication of these plans in June of that year, followed two weeks later by the introduction of a new Western currency into the three Western sectors, were the precipitants for the blockade instituted by the USSR the day after the introduction of the new Deutschmark in the Western zones. The Western powers, led by the United States, responded with a massive airlift of supplies to the encircled Berliners. The crisis intensified over the summer and early fall as the Soviets "buzzed" US transport planes in the air corridors over East Germany, and both sides engaged in several military demonstrations of their resolve. The Western position hardened as the airlift grew in size and became more successful.

Negotiations began in late August and continued sporadically through the fall and winter. An Allied attempt at action through the United Nations, was blocked by a Soviet veto of a Security Council compromise solution (October 25). In January the Allies began a "counter-blockade" of restrictions on critical goods entering the Eastern sectors of Berlin. By February 2, 1949, Stalin agreed to lift the blockade if the Allies would end the counter-blockade. After the blockade was lifted on May 12, the two sides continued negotiations for some time, but with no success at resolving the deeper issues of the ultimate status of Berlin and Germany.

Related Conflicts

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