The Berlin Blockade 1948

Causes of the blockade

Fear of communism spreading

The USA and Britain wanted Europe to stay economically strong. However, Britain could not afford to give aid to countries such as Greece, which needed help against communist revolutionaries. It was at this point that the USA decided to step in.

The Truman Doctrine March 1947

Portrait of American president Harry Truman
President Harry Truman

American President Harry Truman announced that the freedom of Europe was under threat from the spread of communism. Eastern European governments had already been taken over by communist parties. Truman was determined to contain communism and not allow it to spread any further.

The containment of communism would be achieved by making all other European countries economically strong. The USA would provide any European country with aid in the form of money, supplies and machinery to help prevent communism – this became known as Marshall Aid.

Soviet foreign policy

The USSR wanted Germany to stay weak and divided. It would not tolerate the USA trying to help Germany to become powerful again. Stalin wanted to create a ‘buffer-zone’ of friendly states in Eastern Europe, including the Soviet sector of Germany, so that the USSR would be protected from attack. Poland and Czechoslovakia were countries in Stalin’s ‘buffer-zone’.