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This special program was prepared for national educational radio via the transcription service of West Germany. I'm making the flight to the west in fact the bill then assured supply by Air Guard operation. These headlines marked the beginning of one of the most daring characters in the post-war history of Berlin the Berlin Airlift in June this year it will be exactly 20 years in the West and I kept the whole city supplied by Eric and I mentor never attempted before and broke the blockade imposed on Berlin by the Soviets the fitting and they didn't have it and very safe from the clutches of the communist rulers. During the gigantic I lived would you
continue it for a total of four hundred and sixty two days when a population of two and a half million had to receive daily supply of at least 4500 pounds of food coal raw material and machine part. Toward the end of the blockade then plowed into tons of good very being blown into the fitting every day all together during the Berlin airlift. One million four hundred and forty two thousand thirty eight pounds of go and were flown into the city. One hundred and thirty to seven hundred and thirty eight American flight 230 and then sixty three thousand two hundred and sixty British light one hundred and fifty machine and looking back on the impressive achievement today marking the 20th anniversary of the gigantic operation paid tribute to the people responsible. The third that forced them to undertake operation
during the first days of the Soviet blockade of Berlin. The Grantly became mayor of the city. Point that out and that's that. If that dog can be in hiding and other men didn't think big London Canal had advised them to call that a pointy Oklahoman they hadn't you privately and in what ways or heavily upon us it would be the pressure of a blockade which is motivated by threadbare arguments by what are claimed to be technical deficiencies and disturbances. We all fully understand the purpose of it. By means of this blockade a political decision is to be forced upon the people of the city. A decision which they refused to pay voluntarily. We know what the
ultimate purpose is of this attempt to force Russian currency upon us as the sole solution. Our economy our very existence is to be placed unilaterally under the dictatorship of one power without the possibility of any kind of public control. It would in future no longer serve our own purposes but alien and our goods would disappear from the city as reparations and we should very soon notice that there would not only be no improvement in our standard of living but only a further deterioration in the face of this. We stand firm and are determined to cling to our right. We do not want a unilateral dictatorship. What we want is a free and independent administration under the control of not one. What for powers the blockade of the cruelest way of enforcing a political decision. Therefore we Berliners are appealing to the world to the United Nations and
we are sure that our call will be heard again. And then you're then going to Netanya. Those were the words of Professor and writer whose name is probably linked with the postwar history of Berlin. As a former communist and thought he was familiar with the theory and practice of the Victoria power transport affair in the central government at the time when the Soviet blockade was imposed on West Berlin How did it come about. In May 1945 the armed forces of Germany surrendered to the victor powers of World War 2. Germany was divided into occupation and into the special area off a limb that was occupied and governed jointly by all four powers the basis of international law provided by the London protocol
of September 12 in the Control Council of Germany the military government there was no German government at that time. The allied commander to the access route between the occupation zones of the United States Great Britain and France were for railway approaches for motor road. Air corridor. While the hours after the storm hope and lined with the part time agreement that their occupation from the other three set out for the separate admin and known of occupation the Farrelly resulted in the union of the own social democrats Communist
Party and the population of the had a talent dictatorship in court. The people look to the Web for their material and ideological future to the American the British and the French. Tension between the noncom in a majority in the Chamber of Deputies elected on October 20 year occupation power under 30 parliament where a minority of the 100 employees only 20 thinks belong to the Communist Party. Under the protection of the Western powers there are policy groups. The papers published under Western life and the Soviet life and press competition in the clash of ideology the western flank of the thorn in the side of Alan if
any that is spoken up today in 1948 it came to an open breach between the former Ally walked out of the protest and they all told by the fall of power command the power they had by this time become alienated were unable to reach agreement on the urgently needed currency reform in Germany acted on their own. June 20th 1948 the mark was replaced by the mark at the rate of 10 to 1. Their current table and the Marshall Plan could start there with a rapid sequence of events. On June 21st the current theory for their occupation zone for power for the whole of Berlin broke down. The representative in the whole of Berlin in the currently occupied known. On the same day the
commander in chief of the Soviet forces in Germany Marshall Faulk a lofty issued decree number 1 11 for the report of the current zone including the whole of Berlin 2013 and I went through and bellowed and went through him as a reprisal to cut off the electricity supply to West Berlin and defended rail and shipping traffic on June 24th. The motorway through the city were also closed on the pretext that they were in need of repair in the following days of Operation Berlin radio reported. Get off into the void get supplies to the western sector. Sure supplies by Air Guard
British military government 100 aircraft carrying food French military government air food transport. That's where the headlines in the papers that day that were the twenty ninth of June 48. General de qué commander in chief of the U.S. forces in Germany and initiator of the airlift regarded the air transport of between 500 and 700 tons of good a day possible in the 300 block eight nine hundred and twenty seven point ten times the amount to Berlin namely nearly 200 tons. The political struggle have to be waged by the Berlin of them held three months after the start of a blockade made his historic speech to several hundred thousand Berlin and from all parts of the city outside the old building.
0 0 0 on the world the people of America Great Britain France Italy. Look at the city and realize that you must not you cannot abandon the city. There is only one possibility for us all and that is to stand together until the struggle has been won until the struggle has at least been ended by victory over the enemy. My victory over the powers of darkness. Read their political crap of the Kremlin with the airlift and the ultimate power from the city altogether. Not only needed but all of coal for the production of electricity and later on for domestic heating a member of General
describe the beginning of a telephone conversation which the General had with the commander in chief of the United States Air Force in Europe. General Curtis Lemay asked him Can you carry cold by air. After a brief pause sorry general but would you repeat the question already on July 7. I'm out after the start of the reporter of the radio the American factor known as the airport. I mean we would be in that time I've come for the hype that would out. We've got to bring it in because I know you have been there. Ok minutes ago at 17 minutes past to the first Sky master landed here with a cargo of coal in the meantime. One two three four five six seven of them seven have landed on the
cold is now being unloaded here. Giant tractor trailers capable of carrying 10 tons are here right now to carry the cold away even after their current through reform the city was still not entirely divided elected city to few teeth were still out of work and the elected city council was still running the city of Berlin. But both the city parliament and the premises of the city council were located in the central district of Berlin which belonged to the group. The noncommunist maturity of the dept. recommended the resists the wet food and again thing corporation in the Soviet sphere of power that communist minority exploited the advantage of the parliament geographical cut your way Sion and organized out birth of rowdyism in and outside the building prior to the last session of the elected deputies that their legal meeting place. President said no one in the land dumped on me and I could be wrong that I am not going to
give you know I think I know that for me personally intolerable that in the new City Hall I'm not in a position to ensure from the outset the smooth functioning of affection and the personal safety of the city deputies. However the state of affairs doesn't arise from any fear on the part of the deputies or of the displeasure of the people but because the police at our meeting place are not in the service of the parliament under such circumstances it is understandable that the desire should have arisen to arrange some other place of meeting for the City Assembly. Not so much in order to provide personal protection for the deputies as to preserve the dignity and good name of a parliament. The fact that in spite of such legal possibilities I have advocated holding our meetings in the new City Hall is because I don't wish to encourage those powers that are obviously merrily waiting for the City Assembly to evacuated rightful meeting
place in order to engage in their own machinations in that place. The majority of the deputies relies on the judgement of the Berliners and therefore desire to submit to a new election as soon as possible. You know the mood in this situation. Ernst Reuters spoke from the heart of the Berliners when he declared. Like even if they DID YOU KNOW. We know about our cruel loose aggressive and imperialistic powers determined to force us to our knees. And I
repeat we have said no. We know and we will go on saying no as long as there is breath left in our body. In the meantime the airlift pilot continued to fly after town of good. Into Berlin. Flying Boat ride in spite of the people were in great need. Again particularly the United States airports had to be 20 kilograms per month not a safe from the freezing West Berliners whereas in the streets of the city only collected might be held for fuel under the supervision of the authorities. Practically all of the tree in the park fell victim to the act and thaws of the Berliner and Wagner chorus became notably thinner
technical university sector demonstrators and Parliament made a lawful activity possible from the left. Learn from now do the following. Doing with the microphone cable of the radio commentator in the press box up City Hall. Microphone is constantly being pulled away. The demonstrators won't let us report the proceedings in the chamber. The Democrat deputy far later president of the West Berlin Chamber of Deputies described his experience at that time as follows. When it does it does the.
When I was with him from all sides really knocked me down and even kicked me while I was lying on the floor and lats what particularly pains me today. How did you manage to get out of it all. Well the whole mob was on top and they feel that I really couldn't do a thing. I owe my escape really to my friendly Quest money. He came at this critical moment and got me out and led me to his car. After happening that Dad was no longer possible for the deputy. The thing and the factor of the fitting. The city council headed by a doctor the acting mayor until October the 1st after that there was no further point in their saying they called on November the 30th. The head of a separate town come fill of their own political collar even today have not been confirmed by free and secret election in the country who support countered the most at that time. These events were properly understood. Listen here to the
Voice of America. I would not have the American secretary of state has branded the Berlin explosives for what they are namely of a typical communist attempt to disturb the functioning of a freely elected democratic institution in which the communist majority the president the head of the new communist administration in the time spoke of the problems which the public and the result of the highly political class to political regarded as highly irrelevant. Down I go. City council will devote special attention to the preservation of unity and to the
improvement of the transport system as well as grew increasingly of the public supply services. Whereas with dividers of the city regard the building of the last tree in the garden as the only possibility of keeping the people alive. City council will have to seek ways and means and these will be found of replanting the barren areas in order to provide new parks and gardens for the working population and especially for our young people. The common attack during the 11 month off located very Two-Face along the stranglehold on the official route of access to West Berlin. The people of West in fact are subjected to an intensive flood of propaganda everywhere billion household quality able to obtain food ration card and the factor where the usual ration could be collected daily including fresh potatoes. Coal is rightly regarded as an attempt at political corruption and only if you would thousand of the inhabitants of the blockaded part of the
city feel themselves of the undoubtedly alluring offer of the Commune. And even though the hardship was great in spite of the airlift where after the first few months of the blockade electricity supplied could only be turned on at night for two hours with the intensification of the air. It was possible to increase electricity supply to the power station west which the Soviets had entirely demolished was rebuilt some of the components required for the assembly of the turbines were brought in by air by the end of the 11 month blockade. Power is completed and name of an appointed writer elected governor mayor of the city. When he was first elected in 1947 he could not be confirmed in office to the Soviet veto by applying necessary raw material even able to conduct real production to be continued
allied pilots could no longer count the number of flights they made from Berlin or lighten them on one number. I don't know how many times we flew to and from Berlin at any rate. I know almost every little cloud on the way the new thought the lifting of the blockade came to the Berlin of like a ring of sunshine from the dark cloud. The United Nations that again of the United States and the Soviet Union met Malik reached agreement in New York on the ending of the siege of West Berlin and 1949. Thanks is to with the president of the Berlin parliament want to reflect the excitement of an hour.
Early on has been under arrest for three hundred twenty two days now since midnight both fighters have been cast off. At that time General who still is given an enthusiastic welcome whenever he visits the city said of course. To be with you about your brother and it. Was a cooperative British right to marry. Don't know why. Will the German of the order of western Germany out of Berlin on the other hand old cooperate at all that they would be there without comment and an hour later federal chancellor came to Berlin when he was president of the parliamentary Council. I mean and.
Let me say Frank you first of all to the housewives of Berlin. It is to them to their calm heroism. It is to their suffering the burden it is to their worry which they have to bear for the members of their families. That our thanks are due in the first place for the first time in post-war history. Stalin had extended his power to the countries of Eastern Europe communist expansion had been checked and also for the first time Germany its former enemies had seen that there are people in this country who are prepared to make sacrifices for democratic ideals. From then on until his death and 1953 parents Kreuger remain the undisputed representative and spokesman of Berlin. Oh yeah don't quote me.
You know. We haven't made it yet. We still have to be cautious. We build up stocks because we don't want anybody to be tempted to start another blockade. We don't want to be in a position of such unpreparedness as in July 1948. Let's climb these people shall know that this inhuman blockade can never again be used against us. The blockade happened only once. If will never happen again. Today the earliest monument I would kind of a Berlin temple the whole airport commemorate the people who lost their lives in the operation at all the thing memorial to the 78 members of the allied forces and of the German who lost their life an accident which occurred during the airlift operation until their greatest undertaking ever launched to save a city and the people.
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Operation Airlift: 20th anniversary
Operation Airlift: 20th Anniversary
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Other Description
Documentary in observance of 20th anniversary of June, 1948, Berlin Airlift, breaking the Soviet blockade. Produced by Deutsche Welle.
Media type
Producer: Deutsche Welle
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-Sp.1-1 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:26:44
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Chicago: “Operation Airlift: 20th anniversary; Operation Airlift: 20th Anniversary,” 1968-06-06, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 21, 2022,
MLA: “Operation Airlift: 20th anniversary; Operation Airlift: 20th Anniversary.” 1968-06-06. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 21, 2022. <>.
APA: Operation Airlift: 20th anniversary; Operation Airlift: 20th Anniversary. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from