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The Berlin Blockade. Case Study 1.1 Pages. The Berlin Blockade.

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The Berlin Blockade

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The Berlin Blockade

Case Study 1.1


The Berlin Blockade

The Yalta agreement of 1945 gave the Soviet Union, France, Great Britain and the United States the right to govern Germany on a temporary basis. In 1949, France, Great Britain, and the United States set up the German Federal Republic, or West Germany. Konrad Adenaur was the first chancellor of the German Federal Republic, and Bonn was named the capital of this new state.

East Germany officially known as the German Democratic Republic was controlled by the Soviet Union. Berlin, the capital of pre-war Germany, was a special problem. Located entirely within East Germany, Berlin was divided among the allies, with the western powers in control of West Berlin in time, East Berlin Became the capitol of the German Federal Republic. Ever Since, relations between the Soviet Union and the West have been troubled over the division of Berlin.

In June 1948, in Berlin, the Cold War became dangerously heated. The Soviets strongly objected to the formation of the German Federal Republic, fearing that Germany might become strong enough to reunify and threaten Soviet power. In an attempt to force the Western powers to turn Berlin over to them, The Soviets blockaded the city. They stopped the transportation of goods and people between West Berlin and East Germany.

President Truman immediately ordered an American airlift of large cargo planes carrying food and other supplies into West Berlin. Throughout the following winter bundles of coal were also air lifted to West Berlin to be used for heating. The Soviets finally stopped their blockade in May 1949. All though the threat of actual fighting was avoided, The Berlin airlift was not forgotten. The Stage had been set for many more years of Cold War


The Berlin Blockade

Background page 43

  • When the fighting was over in Europe after World War II, what did the allies decide to do with Germany?

  • What was the Potsdam Conference? What plan was developed there?

  • What was the Allied Control Council? Discuss it’s purpose.

  • Explain how and why Berlin the German capital was granted separate and distinct status.

  • Why was the joint occupation of Germany an ill-considered plan?

  • Explain the different agendas each conquering nation had in regards to Germany.

  • Explain how demobilization began to cause tension.

  • What steps did the United States take to influence what happened in Eastern Europe after 1945?

  • How did the Soviet Union view these steps? What was their response?


The Blockade Begins page 48 and

Reaction to the Blockade and page 55

  • What was the London Conference? How did the Soviets react to it?

  • How did the Soviets justify their restriction of access to Berlin?

  • Explain how the Berlin situation became more volatile over the issue of currency reform.

  • When did the complete blockade begin? Why was the timing of the blockade “well planned”?

  • What three alternatives were open to the allied powers in regards to dealing with the blockade in July of 1948? Which did they choose?

  • Describe the condition of West Berlin during the Fall of 1948.

  • Describe the status of the blockade in March of 1949.

  • List and briefly describe the key people involved in the Berlin Blockade.


A military defense alliance is an alliance of nations based on the belief that security is best maintained by a balance of power. Throughout the period of the Cold War the Warsaw Pact aligned Soviet bloc countries against the Western alliance of N.A.T.O.

In 1949,Western European leaders were successful in forming an organization that united their countries for military protection.

This was the North Atlantic Treaty Organization or N.A.T.O.

Its original members were Great Britain, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Denmark, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Portugal, and two non-European nations, Canada, and the United States. Later West Germany, Greece, Spain, and Turkey joined N.A.T.O.

Each member of the group promises to come to the aid of the others in case of military attack, originally from the threat of Soviet aggression. With the end of the Cold War, N.A.T.O. members agreed to the use of its forces as peacekeepers in countries outside the alliance.

On May 14, 1955 Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and the Soviet Union signed the Warsaw Pact,

a defensive military treaty that guaranteed the member countries would come to the aid of each other in the event of a western attack.

This pact was known as the Soviet Unions answer to N.A.T.O. Its forces were used to suppress democratic movements, e.g., in1968 in Czechoslovakia. Albania withdrew in1961, and East Germany ceased to be a member prior to German reunification (1990).

The alliance dissolved in 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

These two military alliances, N.A.T.O. and the Warsaw Pact, clearly drew the lines between the Soviet Union and the United States. They demonstrated that each side intended to back up its members with military force if necessary.

In 1954 The Southeast Asia Treaty Organization brought together European and Asian nations, as the United States, Britain, France, Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Republic of the Philippines, and Thailand agreed to mutual defense.

Questions page 63

An End to the Crisis

  • What was the solution reached to bring an end to the blockade?

  • Explain what N.A.T.O. is and why it was formed?

  • What was the Soviet response to N.A.T.O.?


Using page 64 of your text, your notes, the library, and the internet identify the countries that belong to NATO and the former Warsaw Pact. Make sure to include a title and a legend on your map. You will use one color for NATO countries and another for Warsaw pact countries.

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