The Berlin Blockade
Case Study 1.1
The Berlin Blockade
The Yalta agreement of 1945 gave the
Soviet Union, France, Great Britain and
the United States the right to govern
Germany on a temporary basis. In 1949,
France, Great Britain, and the United
States set up the German Federal
Republic, or West Germany. Konrad
Adenaur was the first chancellor of the
German Federal Republic, and Bonn was
named the capital of this new state.
East Germany officially known as the
German Democratic Republic was
controlled by the Soviet Union. Berlin, the
capital of pre-war Germany, was a special
problem. Located entirely within East
Germany, Berlin was divided among the
allies, with the western powers in control
of West Berlin in time, East Berlin Became
the capitol of the German Federal
Republic. Ever Since, relations between
the Soviet Union and the West have been
troubled over the division of Berlin.
In June 1948, in Berlin, the Cold War
became dangerously heated. The Soviets
strongly objected to the formation of the
German Federal Republic, fearing that
Germany might become strong enough to
reunify and threaten Soviet power. In an
attempt to force the Western powers to
turn Berlin over to them, The Soviets
blockaded the city. They stopped the
transportation of goods and people
between West Berlin and East Germany.
President Truman immediately ordered an
American airlift of large cargo planes
carrying food and other supplies into West
Berlin. Throughout the following winter
bundles of coal were also air lifted to West
Berlin to be used for heating. The Soviets
finally stopped their blockade in May
1949. All though the threat of actual
fighting was avoided, The Berlin airlift was
not forgotten. The Stage had been set for
many more years of Cold War
The Berlin Blockade
Background page 43
1. When the fighting was over in Europe
after World War II, what did the allies
decide to do with Germany?
2. What was the Potsdam Conference?
What plan was developed there?
3. What was the Allied Control Council?
Discuss it’s purpose.
4. Explain how and why Berlin the German capital
was granted separate and distinct status.
5. Why was the joint occupation of Germany an
6. Explain the different agendas each conquering
nation had in regards to Germany.
7. Explain how demobilization began to cause
8. What steps did the United States take to
influence what happened in Eastern Europe
9. How did the Soviet Union view these steps?
What was their response?
The Blockade Begins page 48 and
Reaction to the Blockade and page 55
1. What was the London Conference? How
did the Soviets react to it?
2. How did the Soviets justify their
restriction of access to Berlin?
3. Explain how the Berlin situation became
more volatile over the issue of currency
4. When did the complete blockade begin? Why
was the timing of the blockade “well planned”?
5. What three alternatives were open to the allied
powers in regards to dealing with the blockade
in July of 1948? Which did they choose?
6. Describe the condition of West Berlin during
the Fall of 1948.
7. Describe the status of the blockade in March of
8. List and briefly describe the key people
involved in the Berlin Blockade.
MILITARY DEFENSE ALLIANCES
A military defense alliance is an alliance of
nations based on the belief that security is
best maintained by a balance of power.
Throughout the period of the Cold War
the Warsaw Pact aligned Soviet bloc
countries against the Western alliance of
In 1949,Western European leaders were
successful in forming an organization that united
their countries for military protection.
This was the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Its original members were Great Britain, France,
Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands,
Denmark, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Portugal, and
two non-European nations, Canada, and the
United States. Later West Germany, Greece,
Spain, and Turkey joined N.A.T.O.
Each member of the group promises to
come to the aid of the others in case of
military attack, originally from the threat
of Soviet aggression. With the end of the
Cold War, N.A.T.O. members agreed to
the use of its forces as peacekeepers in
countries outside the alliance.
On May 14, 1955 Albania, Bulgaria,
Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland,
Romania, and the Soviet Union signed the
a defensive military treaty that guaranteed the
member countries would come to the aid of
each other in the event of a western attack.
This pact was known as the Soviet Unions
answer to N.A.T.O. Its forces were used to
suppress democratic movements, e.g., in1968 in
Czechoslovakia. Albania withdrew in1961, and
East Germany ceased to be a member prior to
German reunification (1990).
The alliance dissolved in 1991 after the collapse
of the Soviet Union.
These two military alliances, N.A.T.O. and the
Warsaw Pact, clearly drew the lines between the
Soviet Union and the United States. They
demonstrated that each side intended to back
up its members with military force if necessary.
In 1954 The Southeast Asia Treaty Organization
brought together European and Asian nations,
as the United States, Britain, France, Australia,
New Zealand, Pakistan, the Republic of the
Philippines, and Thailand agreed to mutual
Questions page 63
An End to the Crisis
1. What was the solution reached to bring
an end to the blockade?
2. Explain what N.A.T.O. is and why it was
3. What was the Soviet response to
Using page 64 of your text, your notes,
the library, and the internet identify the
countries that belong to NATO and the
former Warsaw Pact. Make sure to
include a title and a legend on your map.
You will use one color for NATO countries
and another for Warsaw pact countries.