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Why did the Berlin Blockade Fail?
Transcript of Why did the Berlin Blockade Fail?
Would the Soviet Union shoot down these planes? There were anxious moments as the first planes flew over Berlin but no shots were fired. The airlift began on 28th June 1948 and lasted for 10 months. The British codenamed it 'Operation Plainfare'. It was the start of the biggest airlift in history....
Soon planes were flying day and night along the air corridors and each was given an exact time to land at 90 second intervals. This is one reason why the Blockade failed; at first the Soviet Union did absolutely nothing to stop them when they easily could have and by weakening them at the beginning would have scared them into not repeating their actions and causing the Blockade to fail
Lieutenant Gail Halvorsen fitting sweets to parachutes which were dropped to thousands of children in Berlin
Newest class of US Air Force pilots grouped in front of C-47 & C-54 cargo transport planes
Citizens of Berlin stand amid rubble near the edge of Tempelhof Airfield to watch an American C-47 cargo plane arrive with food & supplies
What was the Berlin Blockade?
In 1948, Stalin blockaded all routes by land and rail into West Berlin. The Berlin Blockade lasted 318 days. During this time, 275,000 planes transported 1.5 million tons of supplies and planes landed frequently in Berlin
The Berlin Blockade
On 12 May 1949 Stalin called off the blockade because he had failed to starve the Allies out of Berlin.
The pilots had a dangerous job as Soviet Planes flew across the air corridors and weather balloons were placed in awkward positions. Showing us that the Soviet Union were trying to do something to stop the airlift, however, as a warning to the Soviet Union, Truman ordered B-29 bombers, capable of carrying atom bombs to be sent to Britain. The Soviet Union was now within US bombing range.
Stalin accused the West of interfering in the Soviet Zone. Stalin was trying to force the Allies to pull out of their sectors and abandon plans for separate development of their German zones. The west saw this as an attempt to starve Berlin into surrender, so they decided to supply west Berlin by air.
The Soviet Union then even tried to persuade people to move from West to East Berlin but only 3% took up the offer which meant that the airlift would still take place and due to the fact that the Soviet Union were not doing a lot about it, this contributed to the failure of the Blockade
Stalin had hoped that severe winter conditions would paralyse the airlift. However it was a relatively mild winter that did not disrupt the flights at all. Therefore the airlift continued into the spring and reached its peak on 16-17 April 1949 when 1398 flights landed nearly 13000 tons of supplies in 24 hours. The mild winter caught Stalin out meaning he could not do anything to disrupt the airlift and stop it for good which is another reason why the blockade failed
In conclusion it is clear that the Blockade failed for a number of small reasons over the course of a year such as, not reacting to the airlift at first and then acting suddenly in an offensive manner. Also Stalin was relying on the bad winter to do something about the airlift whilst it was temporarily paralysed, however all of his attempts to disrupt the airlift failed so in the end he gave up and called off the Berlin Blockade