After studying the Berlin blockade that took place in 1948, our teacher asked us to do two activities. The first one consisted in compliting a chart with information of what had happened and what were the consequences. The second activity, was to answer 7 questions about the blockade. This are my activites:
- As a result of the Yalta conference, Berlin had been divided into four zones: the french, the british, the american and the soviet zone. However, the parts of the allies were then united into one big zone. This resulted in Berlin being divided into the west zone and the soviet zone. The city was a complete chaos in the post-war era. The population was going through a very harsh time and wasn’t living in the best conditions. The Berlin blockade left people with almost no resources as well as destroyed and devastated city.
- The two regions, the soviet and the west, had different policies towards Berlin. On the one hand, we have the soviet zone. Stalin aimed to remain the city crippled. This is why he feared the allies would make their zone prosperous which will cause his population to prosper too. He thought that a strong Germany would act as a buffer against communism, and he meant to prevent it. On the other hand, the west zone was ruled by the capitalist countries. This ones wanted the country to recover and become prosperous again.
- The reform of the the German currency was a key issue for both sides. On the one hand, it was a key issue for the west side as it helped their zone to become prosperous. The new currency meant union and recovery, which would help the country become strong again. This decision could improve the countries trade as well of economic situation as the previous currency had become worthless as a consequence of the high prices. A new currency provided the allies with the help they needed to help the population of the country. On the other hand, this had an impact on the soviet side too. Although it wasn’t beneficial to Stalin, the change of currency was a very important decision as it prevented him from remaining his side crippled.
- The airlift was a major feat as it showed the world the power the allies have and how they were not going to be stopped by any obstacle. Stalin’s plan had failed as instead of damaging USA’s and the allies image it make them stronger, and provided them with the moment to show what they were really made off. The airlift helped to improve the living conditions of most of the people in west Berlin as well as achieve the allies aim of making Germany recover and go back to it’s original stability. The allies reaction had as a consequence the reopening of the roads that had been cut by Stalin.
- On the one hand, the USSR can be responsible for further increasing tensions during the airlift as they meant to shot down the planes bringing supplies to west Berlin. This might have been interpreted as a threat or could have upset the americans leading to war. On the other hand, the USA can be responsible for further increasing tensions during the airlift as they were clearly trying to let the USSR clear the amount of power they had. They used the airlift as a method to show the soviets that they wouldn’t be stopped by any of their obstacles as they were stronger than them.
- Stalin eventually agree to talks over the airlift as he realized that the allies were not going to stop nor surrender. They had already proved how strong they were and the soviets understood that they would continued sending supplies no matter what. USA would do whatever it took to prove she was strong and powerful which lead to the USSR to decided to agree to talks over the airlift.
In my opinion, the soviets were more to blame for Berlin becoming a major flashpoint. The fact that Stalin decided to cut off the roads and deteriorate the lifestyle of the citizens at Berlin, made the allies and the rest of the countries to notice the city and what was going on in it. Because of the blockade, the living conditions decrease and the tension grew. The restrictions imput by the communists lead to the devastation of the german city and contribute to the growth of poverty, unemployment and starvation that took place in Berlin. If the blockade hadn’t been established, USA wouldn’t have been forced to intervene and the enormous tension between the superpowers hadn’t been produced.