Thursday, June 26, 2008

Die Berliner Luftbruecke

60 years ago today thirty-two US cargo planes ferried milk, flour and medicine on the first day of what became known as the Berlin Airlift.

[Berliner Luftbruecke translates literally into Berlin Air-Bridge as the Airlift is known in German. A nod to Frau Rummel who taught this author 25 years ago.]

Two days earlier the Soviets had completed a full blockade of West Berlin, the allied controlled enclave deep in East Germany. It was the Soviet intention to force the Allies out of the German capital after the Germans themselves, Berliners particularly, indicated their preference for democracy over Communism in municipal elections.

The United States and Great Britain delivered over 2 million tons of food, medicine and fuel over the next year and finally broke the will of the Soviets. 70 allied lives were lost in the operation.

The Berlin Airlift kept West Berlin alive and free for forty years until the Wall fell.

A fine hour.

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