In History class we have been learning about the facts that took place in Berlin after the end of the Second World War. These especially put their focus point on the rivalry between the capitalist West countries and the communist USSR; the Cold War. On account of this, we had to answer several questions:
1. What was life like in Berlin in the post-war era?
In the Yalta Conference, the Big Three (Stalin, Churchill & Roosevelt) agreed on dividing Germany into four zones, the British, the American and the French on the West side, and the East Soviet one. As Berlin, the capital, had ended on the Soviet part, Churchill & Roosevelt not only demanded to divide it into four zones, but also they gave one of the zones to France, as they had done with the country, so the Soviet’s would have less territory.
2. How did Soviet policy towards Berlin differ from that of the West?
While the West countries (Great Britain, USA and France) wanted Germany to recover and grow as a peaceful nation, the Stalin wanted to cripple her to avoid the possibility of another German attack against his country.
3. Why was reform of the German currency a key issue for both sides?
Germany was suffering an economic crisis and the countries of the West wanted to revert the situation. Therefore, they reformed the German currency. All of the worthless German marks were replaced for a new currency that would allow her to achieve economic prosperity.
4. Why was the airlift such a major feat?
They Berlin Airlift was a great demonstration of the Containment policy that the West countries, USA specifically, followed. When Stalin blocked the roads for trading goods from the West Germany into West Berlin, Britain, USA and France didn’t abandon their parts of Berlin for it to fall into chaos under the Soviet power. Instead, they continued to trade tons of goods through the air. This way, West Berlin was able to continue recovering and achieve prosperity whilst East Berlin lived in poverty and was in decadency. This lasted until a year later that Stalin realised his plan had not worked and retired the blockade.
5. In what respect can the USSR and US be responsible for further increasing tensions during the airlift?
Tension suring the Berlin Airlift was extremely strong. The Western countries had found a way to make the Soviet plan fail. Besides, the hundreds of planes travelling from West Germany could be seen as an attack against the Soviets.
6. Why did Stalin eventually agree to talks over the airlift?
Stalin saw the the Allies were not backing down upon the Berlin blockade and were resisting. His plan of putting the West countries off fromtrading to West Berlin had not worked, and certainly had not contributed in tge crippling of Germany. Their assistance was even more than the one before the blockade. Upon this situation, he finally displayed communications and reopened that roads.
Extension question: Who was more to blame for Berlin becoming a major flashpoint in the Cold War, the Soviets or the Americans?
I believe that the Americansare the ones more to blame for Berlin becoming a major flashlight in the Cold War. Regardless the capital would not have been such a relevant issue if the Soviets hadn’ t blocked the only entrance that the West countries had to their domains in West Berlin, the response was very strategical. They did not involve any kind of aggression. Solely they kept sending resources for the peoples living in their part would not live in poverty as the Esat side did.