Who would come up with the idea to support an entire city of 2.000.000 people almost exclusively from the air? Surely, only a madman would make such a plan.
Yet, today in 1948 exactly this had to be done, because 62 years ago, troops of the USSR blocked access to West Berlin via land and water so all that remaind was access by air. Thus, the Berlin Airlift began and West Berlin was supported almost entirely by air.
The Berlin Airlift is still and will very likely forever be remembered as one of the greatest feats in the history of aviation. It brought hope to millions of people and showed the recently conquered Germans that at least the western allies were not really their enemy. The term “Rosinenbomber” still means a lot to many Germans today.
As I said, it was a mad plan and I guess few thought it would work. It really could have been something taken from a pulp/Dieselpunk novel, yet, it was real.
Just look at the numbers, they have to be seen to be believed:
Number of sorties flown: 550,000
Tonnage of goods delivered: 500,000 food, 1,500,000 coal (estimated)
And of course, it was a great propaganda victory of the Western Allies:
Looking back now, it all seems so strange. I know people who are at university now, or have just started work, who only know about the animosities between “The East” and “The West” from history books. Times change, often quite drastically so.