Europe

Berlin airlift: Ceremony to mark 70th anniversary, in pictures

Ceremony to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of the Berlin airlift Image copyright EPA
Image caption This woman's hat had tiny US and British flags to mark the occasion

Dignitaries from around the world have gathered in Berlin to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of the Berlin airlift.

The Soviet Union entirely blockaded the western parts of the German capital in June 1948, when the country and the city were divided into US, UK, French and Soviet occupation sectors after World War Two.

Allied forces managed to wholly supply people in the city by air for nearly a year, with the USSR finally ending the closures on 12 May 1949.

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall joined Mayor Mike Mueller and defence attaches from countries including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and the US to mark the occasion.

Ceremony to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of the Berlin airlift Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption Dignitaries gathered at the airlift memorial at Tempelhof airport, which closed in 2008 but was at the centre of the airlift
Ceremony to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of the Berlin airlift Image copyright EPA
Image caption Among those present was retired US Col Gail "Hal" Halvorsen, who dropped sweets to the children of the city and became known as the "Berlin Candy Bomber"
Archive pictures of the Berlin airlift Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Over the course of 11 months, Allied air forces supplied two and a half million Berliners
Archive pictures of the Berlin airlift Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption At the height of the airlift, a plane was landing in Berlin every minute
Archive pictures of the Berlin airlift Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption About 400,000 tonnes of coal, food and other supplies were brought into the city by hundreds of aircraft
Archive pictures of the Berlin airlift Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Col Halvorsen organised Operation Little Vittles, which dropped gum and chocolate and was credited for boosting morale
Archive pictures of the Berlin airlift Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The US airman would usually drop the sweets by parachute, but on one occasion had to hand them out at the airfield due to bad weather - prompting a scramble
Archive pictures of the Berlin airlift Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption While the Soviet blockade officially ended in May, the airlift continued for several months until normal supply routes were restored
Archive pictures of the Berlin airlift Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Authorities later built a monument to honour the dozens of civilians and military men who died during the dangerous and complicated operation

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