How Was the Berlin Blockade Related to the Cold War?


Quick Answer

The Berlin blockade was related to the Cold War because it was a non-military struggle between the Soviet Union and the United States, Great Britain and France for control of West Berlin. The successful airlift of supplies into West Berlin was a significant propaganda victory for the Western Allies.

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Full Answer

After World War II, the country of Germany and the city of Berlin were divided into four sections administered by the Soviet Union, the United States, Great Britain and France. However, Berlin itself was deep in Soviet-held East Germany, and the Soviet Union did not want it to be reunified with the rest of West Germany. When the Western Allies attempted to introduce the Deutsche mark, the new West German currency, into West Berlin, the Soviets cut off all highway, river and rail traffic from West Germany to West Berlin, hoping to force the Western Allies to give up the entire city of Berlin. Instead of capitulating, the Allies responded with the Berlin airlift. From June 1948 to September 1949, the Allies airlifted almost 2.4 million tons of supplies to West Berlin in over 200,000 flights. At the height of the airlift, planes were arriving in West Berlin every 30 seconds.

The Berlin blockade proved to be a failure for the Soviet Union. It did not prevent West Berlin from adopting the Deutsche mark and sped up the creation of West Germany as an independent nation. It increased Cold War tensions and initiated the forming of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

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