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The Berlin Airlift On the morning of June 25 1948 newspapers came out with disturbing front-page news All night news editors in West Berlin had been busy remaking the front pages of their morning papers because of a flash from the Soviet-sponsored news agency in East Berlin The transport division of the Soviet military administration is compelled to halt all passenger and freight traffic to and from Berlin tomorrow at 0600 hours because of technical difficulties West Berlin will receive electricity only between 11 pm and 1 am West Berliners quickly learned what the technical difficulties would mean For weeks the Soviets had been harassing the French British and American authorities to try to force them to withdraw from the city To this end various restrictions controls and slowdowns had been imposed on military and civilian traffic between West Germany and Berlin and there had been many frustrating discussions during which neither side would give in The Western Allies had had to resort to airlifting military supplies to the city for 11 days beginning on April 1 1948 when US authorities had refused to submit to Soviet inspection of military rail shipments Land traffic resumed after much debating but on June 15 the Communists closed the autobahn for repairs Six days later they halted all barge traffic into the city At this impasse Douglas C-47 Skytrains made an average of 38 trips daily for five days to West Berlin with needed military supplies British Royal Air Force aircraft also flew in supplies for British nationals in the city It was on June 26 that the so-called Berlin Airlift officially began and the first scheduled airlift brought supplies to the three Allied sectors of West Berlin Berlin Airlift website Deep inside Soviet held East Germany West Berlin was an island of democracy in an ocean of communism At the end of World War II the Allied powers had agreed upon free access by
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