Saturday 16 July 2016

The Berlin Airlift: American Might At Its Finest

"A plane flew over our town every minute or two.  It was American might at its finest." 
(my husband's Uncle Manfred Neumann, East German refugee & Canadian immigrant)

On June 24, 1948, the first "war" of the Cold War began with the Berlin Blockade in which the Soviet government cut off all road, rail and water links through Communist East Germany into the city of West Berlin to protest their inclusion in the monetary reform program.  In a show of American might, the Berlin Airlift commenced with the former Allies dropping supplies to the citizens of the democratic "island" of West Berlin.  Here are some numbers to show the scope of the airlift.

-Berlin Airlift duration was 14 months
-2.34 million tons of food, coal, fuel and other supplies were dropped
-2.2 million citizens received these supplies
-277,000 flights delivered the supplies
-300 aircraft were used
-at the height of the airlift, take-offs and landings took place every 90 seconds at Tempelhof Airport
-78 lives were lost (31 Americans, 39 Britons, 8 Germans)

The last delivery took place on August 27, 1949.  West Berliners would be eternally grateful to the former Allies, particularly the United States, for their support, without which they would have starved to death.

Source:  DPA News Agency

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