Berlin Blockade

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Map showing the Occupation Zones of Berlin
In 1945, after Germany's surrender, it was divided into four zones of occupation occupied by military Governors (The German government was not trusted to rule as it still had Nazi elements) of France, Britain, USA, and the USSR. Berlin was also divided like this but the problem was it was located deep in Soviet territory. Stalin's harsh behavior towards Germany was understandable since it has caused the Soviet Union great damage and lose of life. Truman believed that Stalin was too harsh and fears that another war will brake out due to harsh treatments towards Germany (Treaty of Versailles). He feared Stalin as well so he believes that a democratic Germany would be a potential ally against the USSR. To achieve this Germany needs to recover economically, so in 1946 the Western occupiers combined their zones to make one Germany and in 1948 a new currency was introduced along with aid money from the Marshall plan, West Germany began to recover. Stalin viewed this as a threat and insult since Germany has caused much damage and lose of life for the USSR and the plan only saw to the recovery of West Germany while the East struggles to pay back the USSR. In 1948 Stalin wanted to drive the West out of Berlin so he locked all access to and from west Berlin hoping that the West will just leave but Truman held on and the Untied States commenced an airlift operation to help West Berlin survive. Eventually Stalin believed that his plan would no longer work so he ended the blockade.

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Berlin Airlift
In 1948 the British Cabinet held meetings discussing the Berlin Blockade. By this time Stalin has cut off all access to and from west Berlin. Some believe that Stalin is making his move against the new currency exclusive to Western Germany, others believe that Stalin did this to start a major offensive to force the West out of Berlin. The Cabinet believes that Western Powers should hold firm against this (which they did with the Berlin airlift) Soviet threat if they don't the "Western Union" would be hampered (We learned (In Churchill's speech) that the West plans on a Western allaince against the Soviet Union).

In 1950 a report was written by a civil servant in the British Air Ministry (government ministers wanted to hear the view expressed by individual civil servants rather then getting a summary of all views) concerning the Berlin Blockade, by this time the Blockade has ended. The opinion that the Soviet Union did this was to aggressively force the West out of Berlin is held in this report. It is believed that cooperation is needed to govern Germany but the USSR's attitudes are preventing this possibility from happening (remember the USSR wants payback from Germany). Because of this inability to work together the possibility of a cooperative four power control of Berlin failed and the city divided into two opposing cities: a western (democratic) one and an eastern (Soviet) one. This division became complete when the west introduced the Western German currency, in 1948, which was a counter to the Soviet Union's refusal to cooperate which lead to two separate monetary systems.

On September 12th, 1948 an American civilian sent an aggressive letter to Truman criticizing his actions in the Berlin Blockade. He criticized Truman for falling short on his duties to look out for American interests by not creating a corridor to the American zone in Berlin (remember that Berlin was deep in Soviet controlled territory so Truman would need to fight to gain Soviet controlled areas, would how that been a wise decision?). He criticized Truman for pushing a war between the Soviet Union and the United States during the Berlin crisis. Attached to this letter is an article by Los Angeles Times dated September 12 1948. The article states that to end the Berlin crisis without causing war the West needs to withdraw from Berlin into their German zones and fortify their military, economic and political front against the Soviet Union. It says that the USSR is only doing this blockade to force the west into despair and force them into a war branding them as aggressors. Also if the Western powers stay in Berlin they will suffer international humiliations, if they leave they could do so with dignity since it is argued that cooperation with Stalin is impossible. Along with the withdrawal the West should remove their ambassadors from the USSR leaving behind only those who can do the usual day-day business and Soviet ambassadors should be asked to leave, it can be argued to be a bad move since it will destroy diplomatic relations but then again it appears that relations can't be achieved (or can they?)

Learning Curve: Berlin Blockade
Learning Curve: Berlin Blockade: Historical Source One: An official Foreign Office map showing the situation in Berlin in 1948
Learning Curve: Berlin Blockade: Historical Source Two: Extracts from the minutes of meetings of the British Cabinet in 1948, covering discussions of the early stages of the Berlin Blockade
Learning Curve: Berlin Blockade: Historical Source Three: Extracts from the final report of the British Air Ministry on the Berlin Blockade, published in 1950
Learning Curve: Berlin Blockade: Historical Source Four: Letter from an American citizen to President Truman