Aftermath of the Berlin Airlift: A Consequential Success?

With the blockade of West Berlin removed and the airlift a major success, having been able to fly in an average of 5620 tons of resources and food a day to support the trapped West Berliners, the USA and USSR now faced a number of consequences and action points that would further escalate the tensions and indirect conflicts between the two powers that had plagued the Cold War in previous years before. Such outcomes included the formation of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation), as well as the public humiliation of the Soviets and their regime in East Berlin and East Germany.

Creation of NATO

The USA was finally persuaded to form some form of formal defence of Western Europe after the blockading of Berlin, and thus from the Spring of 1948 to the beginning of 1949 plans and foundations for a Western military alliance were made. The treaty called for continuous and effective self-help and mutual aid on behalf of all the states involved and acted as a real indication of a divide between east and west for Stalin, and conveyed that the Western Allies were prepared to take direct action in the supervision and stemming of Soviet influence within Europe. NATO was signed on 4th April 1949 (coming into effect in August 1949) and included Canada, the USA, the Brussels Pact Powers, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Italy, Portugal.

Humiliation of the USSR and fleeing into West Germany

With his gamble (for the USA being unable to supply West Berlin with resources throughout the winter) having backfired, the continued circulation of the Deutschmark, and the removal of the Blockade taken place, West Berlin had begun to thrive economically and socially once more. As such, the difference in living standards became even wider and more painfully apparent to the Soviets, with up 30,000 East Berliners fleeing to the west each month in later years (late 1950’s).  As it happened, those fleeing the Soviet zone were the very academics and intellectuals the East German government hoped could help built a revitalised state and thus this led to direct restriction of movement across the border along with the eventual construction of the Berlin Wall. Therefore, West Berlin remained a beacon of prosperity within Capitalism and US ideology against its grim, un-developing counterpart: a tempting window to the West that humiliated the Soviet image and created even further deep-rooted resentment for the Americans.

Find the article used for this blog here

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