Berlin (1948-1949)  20574


  • 00:00:00 In 1945, British and American pilots had rained destruction on Germany. In 1948 flying again to Berlin, keeping the city alive.
  • 00:00:50 Title sequence
  • 00:01:30 Division of Germany into four occupation zones. Berlin 110 miles behind Soviet lines. Linked by railway and motorway to Western zones.
  • 00:02:30 Berlin as only place where Soviet and Western troops came into direct contact.
  • 00:03:00 Food at starvation levels. Black market. Cigarettes as currency.
  • 00:03:50 Ernest Bevin plan for Germany, despite his dislike of them (video footage).
  • 00:04:15 Soviets wanted weak Germany under 4 Power control. Western powers planning new 3 Power state. Spies told Soviet Military Governor Sokolovsky about the plan.
  • 00:05:10 Sir Brian Robertson and General Lucius Clay (UK and USA Military Governors) had to implement plan. Robert Lochner on coffee/cigarette “no time for meals” diet of Lucius Clay. Ability to absorb difficult questions outside framework of his experience.
  • 00:05:45 Allied Control Council; normally Clay and partners would exchange routine info with Russian counterparts. But on March 20 1948, Sokolovsky asked in tactful and polite fashion “Could you please fill us in? Tell us what happened at the meeting in London?” Sokolovsky asked what point of Control Council was if they weren’t going to share information. Sokolovsky walk out.
  • 00:07:30 West no intention of budging from Berlin, but knew that Russia wanted them out, possibly by war.
  • 00:07:45 Currency reform planned in Western zones, to wipe out black market and tie Germans to the West. Russians not informed.
  • 00:08:00 May Day 1948. In Soviet Zone, Socalist and Communist Parties merged by Stalin. New Socialist Unity Party out in strength. Float with caricature of Churchill. Demonstrators target: Magistrat / City Council, which wanted to run all Berlin on Western Lines.
  • 00:08:45 Socialist Unity Party saw currency reform as threat to nationalisation of former NSDAP assets.
  • 00:09:45 Ernst Reuter, former exile from Hitler, had election as Mayor of all Berlin vetoed by Russians. Video of speech. Edzard Reuter.
  • 00:10:45 June 20 1948. Lining up for the new Deutschmark. Each German could exchange only 40 old DM at most. Russians responded by issuing their own currency. New DM issued in West Berlin, stamped with a B. Now two currencies in Berlin. Western DM worth more.
  • 00:12:40 Sokolovsky picks up special phone to ring Molotov. Molotov advises against tanks on street. Molotov also advises against moving tanks closer to Berlin; better to resolve this by using diplomatic language.
  • 00:13:40 Soviet blocked all major road, rail and canal links. Not sealed, but delivery of food etc now impossible. Electricity cut; only West Berlin power station dismantled by Soviets for reparations in 1945. Counter-blockade by West Berlin hits Eastern employment.
  • 00:15:15 Map of 1945 air corridor agreement: to Gatow and Tempelhof airports, and seaplanes to Lake Havel. Ernest Bevin speech. Clay didn’t believe airlift would work, and wanted to run an armed convoy through the blockade.
  • 00:17:00 Airlift (USA: Operation Vittles, UK: Planefare) began end of June. 2000 tonnes of supplies a day. Ella Barowsky: “People said, ‘why shouldn’t it work? They dropped so many bombs on Berlin, they should be able to drop potatoes.'”
  • 00:18:50 Heinz Weber on working gangs of Berliners. Unloading a plane in 7 minutes (9 short tonnes of coal).
  • 00:20:00 USA sends B29 bombers to UK. Clay recalled to Washington and argues again to run an armed convoy. Truman wary of another war, but sends more planes capable of maintaining airlift indefinitely (video of Clay).
  • 00:21:50 Stalin visits airshow near Moscow. Confident Berlin blockade would force West back to negotiating table. But counter-blockade beginning to bite. Yerofeyev describes Stalin’s demeanour at negotiations.
  • 00:24:00 Freddie Laker and Gail Halvorsen on Soviet annoyance tactics along air corridor. Bad weather leading to delays and accidents. Not enough food being delivered, and not enough coal being stockpiled.
  • 00:25:00 Berliners knew they were living on edge. 4 hours electricity a day. How civilians coped.
  • 00:26:00 Going out into Eastern zone for warmth, food, entertainment. Russians offered Westerners opportunity to buy food in Eastern sector. 1 in 10 accepted, but were harrassed on way in/out.
  • 00:28:00 Disruption of Magistrat by Communists. Ernst Reuters appeals, via RIAS (Radio in American Sector), for demonstration at Reichstag. Loudspeakers on trucks due to lack of electricity. 300,000 Berliners, many from East, assembled at the Reichstag. Population standing for freedom and democracy, and against any capitulation by Western powers. Ernst Reuter speech “Schaut auf dieser Stadt und erkennt dass Ihr dieser Stadt und dieses Volk nicht preisgeben dürft, nicht preisgeben könnt.” Soviet flag on Brandenburg gate torn down. East Sector police/soldiers opened fire. 12 injured, 1 killed. Delegation went to Allied Control Council to ensure DM stayed.
  • 00:32:15 Children playing at airlift games with model aeroplanes. Problems with transporting coal, because of dust.
  • 00:33:30 Wolfgang Leonhard: Overflying school close to Tempelhof: “The Americans understand historical materialism better than we”
  • 00:34:30 Halvorsen on children’s mature understanding of the importance of Freedom. Promised return with chewing gum and chocolate dropped from small parachutes. “Halvorsen: The Candy Bomber”. Hauled before CO, who wouldn’t have approved, but does now.
  • 00:36:25 William Heimlich on American technique of getting people to listen. Entertainment and good reliable news. Christina Heimlich song about being “too little to understand”; became a famous slogan in Berlin.
  • 00:38:00 West Berlin elections, boycotted by East Berlin main party. Ernst Reuter now mayor of half of Berlin.
  • 00:39:00 Christmas entertainment with Bob Hope and Irving Berlin “Irving Jones – Anything over here named Berlin they cut up into sectors”. Operation Vittles song. Unusually mild winter. Berlin could now be supplied indefinitely by air.
  • 00:40:45 Allied blockade hurting Soviet Zone. May 12 1949, Soviet blockade lifted. Many thought this would mark an end to the Cold War.
  • 00:42:30 General Clay farewell. “As so often, noone had thought of providing a separate microphone for the interpreter … there were tears in his eyes.” “Auf wiedersehen.”
  • 00:43:30 Konrad Adenauer victory speech.
  • 00:44:45 April 1949: Ernest Bevin success in Atlantic Alliance: signing of North Atlantic Treaty.
  • 00:45:25 August 29 1949: Soviets detonate their first atomic bomb – USA nuclear monopoly over.



    Operation Vittles
    • music by Irving Berlin
    • words by Irving Berlin
    Total items: 1
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                [0] => Kenneth Branagh*narrator**Mikhail Semiryaga*Soviet Military Administration**Ella Barowsky*Berlin Councilor / West Berlin Councilor**Konstantin Koval*Soviet Military Administration**Robert Lochner*US Military Government, Berlin**Edloe Donnan*Aide to General Clay**Stefan Dörnberg*Socialist Unity Party**Edzard Reuter*Son of Ernst Reuter**Hildegarde Herrberger*Berlin Resident**Heinz Weber*Berlin Resident / Tempelhof Airport Worker**Sir Freddie Laker*Civilian Charter Pilot**Clark Clifford*Special Counsel to President Truman**Vladimir Yerofeyev*Soviet Foreign Ministry**Colonel Gail Halvorsen*US Air Force**Colonel William Heimlich*Director, RIAS (Radio in American Sector)**Wolfgang Leonhard*East German Communist**Christina Heimlich*Broadcaster, RIAS**Yakov Drabkin*Soviet Military Administration

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