Berlin Airlift


In June of 1948, to force US, UK and France to leave West Berlin, the Soviet Union declared a blockade of all the ground transport in and out of Berlin. The fledgling US Air Force began its first major international challenge — to get 4000 tons of food and supplies to Berlin–and it rose to meet this challenge for the next 462 days.

For the 15 months of the blockade, the western nations kept over 2 million Berliners alive. The blockage was lifted in May 1949 when it became apparent to Stalin that it was not working. On September 30, 1949, a C-54 crew made the last flight of the Berlin Airlift when it lifted off from Rheine-Main Air Base in West Germany.

The above AP/Henry Ries picture of a C-54 “Skywalker” landing at Templehof in Berlin has became the lasting image of the Airlift. Vanity Fair named it one of the most newsworthy photos of the century. However, the below pictures of the innocent children of Berlin seem more emotionally powerful. After all, they, in war ravaged Berlin were to became the main beneficiaries of this  generosity and humanity.