May 01, 2014

The Berlin Blockade

The 1948-49 Berlin Crisis was one of the most significant events of the Cold War and led to Germany's split into separate Eastern and Western states. This split was the most dramatic symptom of the inevitable fracturing of the anti-Hitler alliance that began almost immediately after its victory. It was stark evidence that the world had been divided into two enemy camps.

For the people of the Soviet Union, the situation surrounding Berlin was alarming, but what was happening at home was far worse. The Cold War crushed any illusions that might have been created by the war-time alliance. The fanning of fears that the USSR was encircled by enemies served as a pretext for brutal crackdowns. This put to rest the naive assumption that two fundamentally antagonistic systems could coexist in a wonderfully peaceful world where the victors cooperated one with another.

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