The Berlin Blockade, 1948-9 Cold War: Iron Curtain

  1. What was life like in Berlin in the post-war era?
  2. How did Soviet policy towards Berlin differ from that of the West?
  3. Why was reform of the German currency a key issue for both sides?
  4. Why was the airlift such a major feat?
  5. In what respect can the USSR and US be responsible for further increasing tensions during the airlift?
  6. Why did Stalin eventually agree to talks over the airlift?  
  7. Extension question:  Who was more to blame for Berlin becoming a major flashpoint in the Cold War, the Soviets or the Americans?

 

Answers:

  1. Berlin was divided into four parts. One belonged to France, another to the Soviets, another to Great Britain and the other part belonged to the USA. After the second World War Berlin seemed a ghost city.
  2. The Soviet policy affected France, USA and Great Britain, as their connection to the parts of Berlin that belonged to them was hindered by the USSR as they blocked the routes of Berlin so that the other countries couldn´t pass through them to go to Berlin. Therefore, USA, Great Britain and France had to send supplies to their Berlin territory by planes.
  3. It was because the currency symbolised union. And the west side wanted to show their power.
  4. The airlift was such a major feat as France, USA and Great Britain could be connected and sent supplies to their part of Berlin by airlift. Furthermore, this showed Stalin that his opponents were not going to give up so easy, and that that wouldn’t make him to keep all Berlin, therefore, after some time, the blockade was broken down.
  5. The USSR thought that it was a capitalist attack and they were prepare to attack the planes.
  6. Stalin agreed to talk over the airlift as he realized that the allies were very strong, and that they wouldn’t give Berlin to stalin as he thought.  

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