Berlin Blockade: Soviet Chokehold and the Great Allied Airlift 1948-1949
When the world held its breath …
It is 25 years since the end of the Cold War, now a generation old. It began over 75 years ago, in 1944—long before the last shots of the Second World War had echoed across the wastelands of Eastern Europe—with the brutal Greek Civil War. The battle lines are no longer drawn, but they linger on, unwittingly or not, in conflict zones such as Iraq, Somalia and Ukraine. In an era of mass-produced AK-47s and ICBMs, one such flashpoint was Berlin.
Allied agreements entered into at Teheran, Yalta and Potsdam for the carving up of postwar Berlin now meant nothing to the Soviet conquerors. Their victory had cost millions of Russian lives – troops and civilians – so the hammer and sickle hoisted atop the Reichstag was more a claim to ownership than success. Moscow’s agenda was clear and simple: the Western Allies had to leave Berlin. The blockade ensued as the Soviets orchestrated a determined program of harassment, intimidation, flexing of muscle, and Socialist propaganda to force the Allies out. Truman had already used the atomic bomb: Britain and America would not be cowed. History’s largest airborne relief program was introduced to save the beleaguered city. In a war of attrition, diplomatic bluff and backstabbing, and mobilizing of forces, the West braced itself for a third world war.
Born in Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, historian and author Gerry van Tonder came to Britain in 1999. Specializing in military history, Gerry has authored multiple books on Rhodesia and the co-authored definitive Rhodesia Regiment 1899–1981. Gerry presented a copy to the regiment’s former colonel-in-chief, Her Majesty the Queen.
Pub Date: 2017
Format: Paperback with bw illus.
Size: 6.25 x 9.50 inches