Cold War 1945-1991, Berlin Blockade, Soviet Chokehold and the Great Allied Airlift 1948-1949

The publisher has built a solid reputation by releasing a number of series of military history books with a high photographic content. This series promises to become as popular as the well-established Images of War series and similarly makes use of rare photographs, with full colour sketches and drawings to augment the photographs. The Cold War effectively began in 1945, but the Western Allies initially responded passively to Soviet expansion. The Berlin Blockade marked a new stage in the war and the Allies struck back brilliantly – Strongly Recommended.


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NAME: Cold War 1945-1991, Berlin Blockade, Soviet Chokehold and the 
Great Allied Airlift 1948-1949
FILE: R2539
AUTHOR: Gerry van Tonder
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: soft back 
PAGES:  128
PRICE: £14.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: Lancastrian, York, C-47, DC2, assault gliders, Sunderlands, 
Catalinas, DC4, volunteers, RAF, USAFE, Soviet Frontal Aviation, 
air-bridge, vertical insertion, strategic materials, food, fuel, 
clothing, medicines

ISBN: 1-52670-826-4

IMAGE: B2539.jpg6
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/y8carjul
LINKS:  
DESCRIPTION: The publisher has built a solid reputation by releasing 
a number of series of military history books with a high photographic 
content. This series promises to become as popular as the well-
established Images of War series and similarly makes use of rare 
photographs, with full colour sketches and drawings to augment the 
photographs. The Cold War effectively began in 1945, but the Western 
Allies initially responded passively to Soviet expansion. The Berlin 
Blockade marked a new stage in the war and the Allies struck back 
brilliantly - Strongly Recommended.

Having experienced a period of appeasement, Stalin felt it was time 
to remove the Western Allies from Berlin to create an exclusive 
Russian occupation of East Germany and then prepare to roll forward 
to the North Sea and Channel coasts. The large Russian forces then 
stationed in and around Berlin could have simply rolled over the 
notional borders into West Berlin, but he did not want to risk a fire 
fight at that point. Like Hitler before him, he looked to expand in 
small bites that got larger and larger, reducing the ability of the 
opposing nations to resist the final hot war. So Stalin decided the 
simple solution would be to close the agreed land corridors from West 
Germany to West Berlin and choke the Berliners and the Western Allies 
occupation forces in the city. It must have seemed such a simple 
process and one which the Allies were unlikely to prevent.

What followed came as a severe shock to Stalin and set the course of 
the Cold War that would be followed by both the Soviet Union and NATO, 
with the Soviets running up increasing mountains of debt and falling 
behind NATO as US and British development and manufacturing 
capabilities out-performed the Soviets, eventually bankrupting the 
Soviets and forcing Glasnost and the end of the Cold War.

What was amazing was the speed with which the Allies built a massive 
air bridge to provide a logistics corridor into West Berlin. The air 
forces of the Allies included very capable transport aircraft that 
were immediately deployed. Their capabilities were expanded by new 
airlines, mostly flying war surplus transport aircraft and modified 
bombers. The logistic operation was enormous and the challenge was in 
managing the continuous flow of hundreds of aircraft from many 
different organizations and nationalities.

The Lancaster heavy bomber had spawned the Lancastrian and York 
transport and passenger variants. The Sunderland flying boats and 
the US Catalina amphibians complemented the land aircraft, making 
use of Berlin's rivers and lakes. Gliders were also used and the 
Americans employed an interesting method for recovering the gliders 
to clear the landing grounds and reuse the machines.

By any standard the Berlin Airlift was an amazing achievement. It 
ended when the Soviets had to admit defeat and reopen the land 
corridors. The importance of the great operation is difficult to 
understate, making it all the more surprising that it has received 
such poor coverage from historians. It was more than just containment 
of Soviet expansion plans. It was effectively the beginning of the 
end of the Cold War. The Soviets next tried a major conventional war 
in Korea because their original plans at progressive staged expansion 
in Europe had been halted by the Berlin Airlift. That war also 
failed, not least because the US was able to mobilize the United 
Nations to send a multi-national army to South Korea. Without the 
victory in Berlin, that UN army might never have been formed.