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2. The Berlin Airlift, 1948-49
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about the Berlin blockade and airlift, which took place between June 1948 and May 1949, focusing in particular on: (i) the position of Berlin deep within the Soviet occupation zone, and the level of cooperation between West Berlin and the surrounding territory; (ii) the vulnerability of West Berlin; (iii) the reasons the Russians were becoming increasingly irritated with the west, and the events immediately preceding the imposition of the Berlin Blockade; (iv) the extent to which the supply of West Berlin by air was an order of magnitude more complex than anything that had been attempted before; (v) the role played by West Berliners themselves in this period; (vi) what Stalin thought about the situation; (vii) the anti-Soviet rally on 9 September 1948 and the famous speech of Ernst Reuter ("People of the world …. look upon this city!"); (viii) the sense in which the Berlin Blockade represented a huge PR victory for the west; (ix) the extent to which the Berlin Blockade was not as hermetic as the propaganda at the time might have suggested; and (x) the extent to which the Berlin Blockade hastened the formal split of the city.
In this course, Professor Patrick Major (University of Reading) explores the history of East Germany from the end of the Second World War to the fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989. In the first module, we think about the origins of East Germany in the years immediately following the Second World War. After that, we think about Stalin's blockade of Berlin between May 1948 and June 1949 and the Berlin Airlift, before turning in the third module to consider the economy of East Germany between 1948-89. In the fourth module, we focus on the anti-government protests that took place across East Germany on 17 June 1953, before turning in the fifth module to consider the events that led to the erection of the Berlin Wall on 13 August 1961. Finally, in the sixth module, we think about the events that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of East Germany.
Patrick Major is Professor of History at the University of Reading. His research interests are primarily the political, social and cultural history of divided Germany in the Cold War. He has recently completed a large project on the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall, and is currently undertaking a project on Anglo-American and German film depictions of 'bad Nazis' and 'good Germans', which has been funded by the British Academy.
Cite this Lecture
Major, P. (2021, March 23). Germany – East Germany, 1945-89 - The Berlin Airlift, 1948-49 [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/germany-east-germany-1945-89/the-berlin-airlift-1948-49
Major, Patrick. "Germany – East Germany, 1945-89 – The Berlin Airlift, 1948-49." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 23 Mar 2021, https://www.massolit.io/courses/germany-east-germany-1945-89/the-berlin-airlift-1948-49