What was the Berlin Airlift?
AKA the Berlin Blockade _
NOT THE BERLIN WALL
• What key questions does an historian ask
about an event?
• Which are the three most important
• Which are the ones most frequently asked
in an exam?
• Why did an event happen?
• What happened in an event?
• What were the effects on an event?
• For each question how could the same
question be asked in different ways?
• All will understand the key events of the
• Most will research from a variety of texts to
find out what happened
• Some will see the event as a stepping
stone to further conflict and be able to
1943 - Tehran
Potsdam Berlin Airlift/
1943 1950 1991
1945 - End 1947-51 -
War 2 Truman Doctrine,
• Look at map in exercise book
• Find Berlin
• In pairs discuss –
• What happened to Berlin at the Peace
• What problems might this cause?
• Which of the Superpowers would like it and not
Look at map and draw a simplified version
Colour in map of Berlin
• Communist parts = Red
• Capitalist parts = another colour (not Blue)
• Shade in Bizonia over the top with lines
• What tension would this cause?
• Write Title • Who Blockaded Berlin? Why?
• Berlin Blockade/ Airlift • What was the response of the
• Write notes on the event
• Extension- use more
than one text • What did they airlift it?
• How long did the Blockade last?
• Make sure you answer
these questions in your • Who won?
notes • Why?
• What happened to tension
between the super powers?
• What was NATO?
• Why was it formed?
Watch clip for new info
• In groups of 8 create a tableau to show the
• Present key moments
• 1. The Blockade being set up
• 2. The Airlift
• 3. The Blockade being lifted
• Shout out appropriate comments
Briefly explain the key features of the Berlin
Blockade and Airlift 1948-49. (6 marks)
Tension between the two Superpowers reached brinkmanship over the Berlin blockade
and Airlift 1948 – 49. By 1949 the wartime alliance between the USA and USSR had
completely broken down.
The main reason why Stalin blockaded Berlin in 1948 was because in 1946 USA, Britain
and France had united the three Western German zones (called Bizonia) and in 1948
introduced a new West German currency, the Deutschmark. This was not agreed at
either Yalta or Potsdam. Equally West Berlin was also in the USSR’s buffer zone
and Stalin thought therefore that all Berlin should be under his Communist control.
In June 1948 Stalin provocatively ordered that all road, railway and canal linking West
Berlin to West Germany be blockaded. Two million West Berliners were isolated and
cut off from the West. Truman did not want to be bullied by Stalin and be forced out
of Berlin. For 11 months, from June 1948 to September 1949, 277,264 USA planes
flew in 8000 tonnes coal, food and clothes to supply West Berlin every day.
Eventually Stalin lifted the blockade and the USA appeared to have won.
However, with regards to Germany, both Superpowers had gone back on their post-war
agreements. By the end of 1949 their wartime alliance had completely collapsed.
Furthermore, superpowers tension increased, when in April 1949, 12 Western
European countries, led by USA, formed North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)
offering mutual military support if attacked by another country. The political, military
and ideological division of Germany became permanent when both sides formally
created the USA controlled FDR (May ’49) and the USSR controlled DDR (Oct ’49).
During the Berlin blockade and Airlift 1948-49 a hot war was avoided, but the Cold War
between the two Superpowers showed no signs of ending.
What do these mean?