On this day in 1949 The Soviet Union lifted its blockade of Berlin.
The Berlin blockade (24 June 1948 – 12 May 1949) was one of the first major international crises of the Cold War.
During the multinational occupation of post–World War II Germany, the Soviet Union blocked the Western Allies’ railway, road, and canal access to the sectors of Berlin under allied control.
Their aim was to force the western powers to allow the Soviet zone to start supplying Berlin with food, fuel, and aid, thereby giving the Soviets practical control over the entire city.
In response, the Western Allies organized the Berlin airlift to carry supplies to the people in West Berlin.
Aircrews from the United States Air Force, the British Royal Air Force, the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Royal Australian Air Force, the Royal New Zealand Air Force, and the South African Air Force: 338 flew over 200,000 flights in one year, providing up to 4700 tons of necessities daily, such as fuel and food, to the Berliners.
By the spring of 1949 the airlift was clearly succeeding, and by April it was delivering more cargo than had previously been transported into the city by rail.
The success of the Berlin Airlift brought embarrassment to the Soviets who had refused to believe it could make a difference.
The blockade was lifted in May 1949 and resulted in the creation of two separate German states.
The Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) and the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) split up Berlin.
Following the airlift, three airports in the former western zones of the city served as the primary gateways to Germany for another fifty years.