The Berlin Blockade
At the end of the Second World War, Germany was divided between the four Allied powers: France, the United Kingdom, the United States and the Soviet Union. Its capital, Berlin, suffered the same fate with the added complication that West Berlin became an enclave within the Soviet zone.
Two years later, tensions mounted between the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, primarily over the reconstruction and monetary reform of Germany. At this point, the Soviet Union began impeding communications between the Western Allies, West Germany and West Berlin.
Joseph Stalin, the Soviet leader, imposed the Berlin Blockade from 24 June 1948 to 12 May 1949, cutting off all land and river transit between West Berlin and West Germany.
The Western Allies responded with a massive airlift to come to West Berlin’s aid.
One of the first major international crises of the Cold War period, the Berlin Blockade exposed the deep ideological differences separating East and West.