The Berlin Airlift in Numbers | News and current affairs from Germany and around the world | DW | 24.06.2008
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The Berlin Airlift in Numbers

Sixty years ago, the Allies flew supplies into Berlin in response to the Soviet-initiated blockade of the western portion of the city. No sooner had World War II come to an end, than the next war began: the Cold War.

Children sit on the fence at Berlin's Tempelhof Airport as a US aircraft prepares to land as part of the Allied Berlin Airlift in 1948

The Allies brought food and supplies to more than 2 million people in Berlin

On June 24, 1948 the Soviets cut all road, rail and water links through communist East Germany to the western part of the divided city in retaliation for the inclusion of West Berlin in West Germany's monetary reform program.

The so-called Berlin Airlift began on June 26, 1948 and ended 14 months later on August 27, 1949.

Over the course of the airlift, 2.34 million tons of food, coal, fuel and other vital supplies were delivered to Berlin's 2.2 million inhabitants.

More than 277,000 flights involving 300 aircraft took part in the operation, the biggest of its kind. At the height of the airlift planes were taking off and landing at 90-second intervals.

The Soviets ended their blockade on May 12, but the Allies continued the airlift until August 27 in order to build up a sufficient supply of goods.

Some 78 people lost their lives during the airlift -- 31 Americans, 39 Britons and eight Germans.


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