The Berlin Airlift
The cold war was a state of geopolitical tension and an ideological war between the United States and the Soviet Union from 1947 to 1991. During World War II the United States and the Soviet Union worked together to fight against the axis powers, notably Nazi-Germany. After the war, Germany was left defeated, and Britain and France were left drained and exhausted. The United States and the Soviet Union, though also drained, held considerable power, and both soon rose to superpower status.
Logic would dictate that as the United States and the Soviet Union fought as allies during World War II their relationship after the war would be firm and friendly. This never happened and any appearance that these two powers were friendly …show more content…
There had been no previous treaties giving the Allies free access to West Berlin through Russian territory, so Russia exploited this situation and therefore began the Berlin Blockade.
The Blockade began in mid 1948 as Russian forces surrounded West Berlin sealing off railroads and highways to the Western sector, Russia rationalized their blockade by saying that they were doing extensive roadwork. This effectively cut the Allies off from their resources and essentially starved the allies in an attempt to make them surrender West Berlin. In response to this, the Allies organized the Berlin Airlift. Cargo planes dropped food, fuel, and other supplies into West Germany twenty-four hours a day.
When the blockade didn’t work the Soviets claimed that Berlin was rightfully theirs and that the Western powers only had control of West Berlin because they had more votes when the partition was being made. The United States answered this by declaring that all Allies had a right to be in Berlin and that the United States was not going to be bullied …show more content…
They lost this “battle” for two reasons. First, the Soviets had yet to acquire the nuclear capabilities to match the United States, and therefore could not orchestrate a larger assault. And second, the Soviet Union was in a terrible position from a foreign relations standpoint; it appeared they were trying to starve over 2 million people in West Berlin only for the United States to provide a tangible display of western willpower and competence as they managed to care for the people against all odds.
In 1961, the last place through which immigrants could leave East Germany was blocked off, by the infamous Berlin Wall. As many as eighty people were murdered for trying to cross the wall over the span of its existence. These circumstances continued until the summer of 1989, when the reformation of the Hungarian government opened Hungary's borders and allowed passage of East Germans into the country; from Hungary, East Germans could go directly into West Germany. The Berlin Wall was therefore rendered useless.
By November, 1989, the people had begun to openly destroy the Berlin Wall. Finally, Russia decided to just take it down, allowing free immigration between the countries and instigating the first actions to attempt to reunify Germany. The destruction of the Berlin Wall not only signified the end of East Germany as a state, but as the freezing point of the cold war itself.