The Berlin Airlift: How the Allies Overcame the Soviet Blockade

TLDR The Berlin Airlift was a massive operation in which the United States and its allies flew in supplies to West Berlin after the Soviet Union placed a blockade on the city. Over the course of 15 months, millions of tons of supplies were transported, demonstrating the determination and resolve of the Western Allies during the early years of the Cold War.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 The Soviet Union placed a blockade on Berlin's American, British, and French-occupied zones, leading to the Berlin Airlift as a solution.
02:16 Berlin was entirely within the Soviet zone of Germany after the war, and rifts quickly developed between the Soviets and the other three countries, leading to high voter turnout and rejection of the Soviets in the Berlin City Council elections.
04:21 Relations between the Soviets and the Western Allies deteriorated rapidly in 1948, leading to the Soviets imposing restrictions on transportation to and from Berlin and the introduction of the Little Airlift to fly food and supplies to the city.
06:25 To address the food and coal shortage in West Berlin, the Americans and British launched Operation Vittles, using primarily C-54 and C-47 cargo aircraft to deliver supplies, with a system in place that quickly increased the amount of supplies being delivered.
08:22 Within two months of launching Operation Vittles, there were 5,000 tons of supplies being flown into West Berlin on 1,500 flights a day, with coal making up two-thirds of the shipments, and the airlift became more efficient over time with tighter flight schedules and quicker unloading of cargo.
10:23 The candy drops by Uncle Wiggle Wings became a huge public relations success and over three tons of candy were dropped to the children of Berlin, while the airlift continued to be efficient and the allies proved they could keep it up indefinitely, leading to the Soviets realizing the blockade wasn't working and announcing its end after a record day of coal deliveries, with negotiations resulting in the formal end of the blockade on May 12, 1949, and the creation of West Germany on May 23, 1949, with the airlift continuing for several months as a safety precaution.
12:28 The Berlin airlift was a significant event in the beginning of the Cold War, resulting in the post-war split between the former World War II allies, and over the course of 15 months, 2,326,000 tons of supplies were transported on 278,000 flights, flying 92 million miles or 148 million kilometers.
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