« Return to TeachersFirst Main Site

Dates That Matter

June 26, 1948

The United States sends humanitarian aid to the people of Berlin, Germany, in the "Berlin Airlift."

 Why does it matter?

After the end of World War II, the Allied powers (the US, France, Britain and Soviet Union) subdivided Germany into four zones. The city of Berlin (which lay inside the the Soviet zone) was also subdivided. As relations among the four countries began to break down and the Cold War escalated, the Soviet Union began a blockade of the city of Berlin, cutting off access to supplies.

Beginning on June 25, the Western Powers began to fly food and other supplies into the city of Berlin, a process that lasted nearly a year. At the height of the operation, allied planes were landing in Berlin every minute carrying supplies in and sick residents out to medical care. The USSR finally lifted the blockade in April of 1949.

For more information...

American Experience: The Berlin Airlift
PBS tells the story of the Berlin Airlift. There is a Flash-enabled map of the airlift, transcripts of newspaper reports, a time line and teacher's guide.

The Berlin Airlift
A collection from the Truman Library of primary documents, commentary and lesson plans related to the Berlin Airlift.