Tuesday, June 26, 2012

This Day in History: The Berlin Airlift Begins

On this day in 1948 the Berlin Airlift began.  It was a warm summer day but there was a cold winter ahead.  The airlift kept 2 million people from freezing and starving to death.
People of Berlin watch food supplies arrive. Photo credit:  Wikipedia Commons

Josef Stalin tried to take control of West Berlin by cutting off all transportation that would allow food and fuel into the city. He assumed the allies would not be able to provide for the people in their sectors.

Stalin was wrong. He couldn't control the airspace so the allies responded by flying in food, coal, manufacturing supplies - just about anything necessary to run a city.

Even chocolate!

It started with a few flights and grew into an efficient undertaking with planes coming and going constantly.

There were some accidents.  People died in their attempts to deliver aid to the people of Berlin.

But millions lived as a result of the allies decision to deliver love, not hate, to their former enemies.  It is one of my favorite stories from the 20th century.

And I think it was one of America's finer moments!

This monument at Templehof Airport commemorates the airlift.  The three prongs reaching into the sky represent the three air routes traveled by the planes coming and going. Inscribed on the base are the names of pilots who lost their lives while giving aid.

Chuck and I visited Templehof last spring.  It's a huge space that has been turned into a recreational park.  I love that people can go there to relax every day.  But I was glad that part of it had been left to age naturally.


  1. Nice post, Joyce. I think many of us have forgotten this chapter in our history. I appreciated the reminder and the photos.

  2. I liked how you tied your own experience into this past event. The picture of the memorial is awesome.

  3. Joyce,

    Thanks for another terrific post. I'm so glad you write historical fiction. It needs to be done well.

  4. Thank you, Rosi,Carol, and Linda.

    I appreciate you stopping by and enjoying this story with me.

  5. Your post on the Berlin Airlift makes me want to go start reading more about it! Thanks for including the American Experience link. Are you writing a book on this topic? Seems like a non-fiction book came out on this recently...I can't think of it right now.
    Did you specifically go to Germany to visit the site?

  6. This is an amazing piece of history, isn't it? What an amazing thing to keep half a city alive like that. Thanks for posting this.

  7. Joyce,
    Enjoyed meeting you at the Carolinas SCBWI conference and reading about your books. I talked to you before your workshop and shared how I love historical fiction. Living in New Bern with its 300 years of history has really inspired me. Write a column in our local paper and it encourages me to research.
    Many fascinating people here and pray I can write as well as you one day.
    Jan (Parys)
    P. S. Write2Ignite encouraged me to visit your blog.

  8. Ah, Jan - thanks for reconnecting! Yes, you live in a place with so much history. Lots of fun research opportunities,eh? How wonderful that you write for the paper! All the best and thanks for stopping by my blog.

    Hope to meet again someday!