Why Is the Berlin Airlift Important

At the termination of World War-II, when Germany was being occupied by multinational forces, the Soviet Union blocked the railway and road access of the Western Allies to different parts of Berlin under its control. The Soviets were maneuvering to force the allied powers to let the Soviet Union to commence supply of food and energy to Berlin, so that they could cement their practical claim over the whole city.

In response to the blockade, the Western Allies planned the Berlin Airlift to restore supplies to the people in West Berlin. A daily airlift to the tune of 4000 tons to Berlin yielding roughly over 10 times the volume required to encircle German 6th Army six years before in the Battle of Stalingrad.

Berlin Airlift Why Is the Berlin Airlift Important

The Royal Air Force, other Commonwealth nations, and the United States Air Force, took off over 200,000 flights, delivered 13000 tons of food supply at Berlin on daily basis. The operation lasted about a scant year. During the first quarter of 1949, the endeavor was indeed a success. The airlift was downloading more cargo by April than the one previously transported into the city via rail.

The successful venture of Airlifting tended to be degrading for the Soviets, who had time and again refuted its success. The blockade was made to diffuse by May’ 1949. Most important and advantageous legacies of the Airlift that resided with the West Berlin are the three airports that would offer the city three simultaneous gateways for about next half of the century.

With the British carrying out a comprehensive feasibility assessment of a possible airlift was worked out to be the best option. One final apprehension was the population of the city. Accompanied by his aide, Willy Brandt, General Clay met Ernst Reuter, the elected Mayor of Berlin and intimated that he was going to try an airlift. However, he couldn’t ensure if it would work up to the mark.

General Clay was certain that even if he tried his best, people were liable to catch cold fell prey to hunger. And if the Berliners couldn’t endure that, the mission was bound to fail. So he didn’t dare to enter into that unless he had Mayor’s assurance that the people of Berlin would give a unanimous consent. Though little shaky, Reuter ensured Clay that the people of Berlin would cooperate wholeheartedly in the deal and support his actions.

Berlin Airlift Importance Why Is the Berlin Airlift Important

The US Army Chief of Plans and Operations, General Albert Wedemeyer, was also there in Europe on an inspection tour by the time crisis came to the forefront. Being commander of the US China-Burma-India Theater during 1944–45, he had a thorough knowledge of the American airlift from India over the Himalayas to China in World War II.

The US General quickly agreed to the idea of the airlift as the joint venture of The British and the Americans without any further delay. The US campaign was called “Operation Vittles,” while that of the British was designated as “Operation Plainfare”. The Australian dubbed operation “Pelican” joined the ongoing campaign in September 1948.

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