70 years ago today, the Soviet Union instituted the cruel ‘Berlin Blockade’ attempting to cut off all inroads to West Berlin, yet they refrained from stopping a massive humanitarian airlift led by American, British and French flyers.
For nearly a year, more than a quarter million flights delivered thousands of tons of food and fuel to the otherwise strangled German city, which was surrounded by 1.5 million Soviet military troops.
5,000 tons of food, coal, and liquid fuel were required each day to sustain the two million people. Despite the Germans having been the sworn enemy of the West just three years earlier, the merciful airlift gained popular support and was called “America’s greatest humanitarian mission”. (1948)