The Berlin Wall | A city divided between East and West by the Cold War

News Special | Blockade Ends

Mass airlifts break Soviet hold on Berlin.

CHANNEL | BBC Television Service

FIRST BROADCAST | 15 May 1949

DURATION | 28 minutes 29 seconds

FIRSTBROADCAST

1949

Synopsis

For almost a year, the Soviet Union blocked road, rail and waterway access to Berlin in an attempt to push back Western influence and allow forces from the Soviet zone to assume control over the city. In response, the Royal Air Force and the United States Air Force, assisted by air crews from Commonwealth countries, began to airlift supplies of food and fuel to Berlin. As the blockade is finally lifted, this special news report looks back at the hardship endured in West Berlin over the past year and reveals how the combined effort of the Western powers forced the Soviet Union to back down.

Please note there is a short loss of sound during this programme.

Did you know?

The blockade lasted from 24 June 1948 until 11 May 1949. The Western powers charted more than 200,000 flights into Berlin during this time, culminating in the 'Easter Parade' of 15-16 April 1949, in which over 12,900 tons of coal was flown into the city as part of a concerted effort to break all previous records and provide a morale boost to Berliners. At the same time, Soviet news agency TASS reported that the blockade might be lifted and at midnight on 12 May it came to an end.

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