The Berlin Airlift Essay Research Paper Scott — страница 3

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(konnections 1). On the 14 of July Russia issued an answer to Robertson. They alleged that West Berlin is in the center of the Soviet zone and is part of that zone and by setting up a Western government in communist territory violates agreements previously made (konnections 1). The Western allies were not going to give into the pressures of Russia anymore. A British man named Ernest Bevin made sure of this about as much as anyone else did (Tusa 151). Bevin saw the airlift as a “cardinal priority” in this cold war against the Russians (Tusa 151). He worked to increase American involvement to make sure that they would be totally committed (Tusa 153). He told Lewis Douglas on June 25, ” the Russians held the cards… but we could bluff them out of their hand by convincing them

that we mean business (Tusa 153).” Most officials saw this operation on a higher political level than a humanitarian. If Britain and the United States were able to make the airlift successful, according to Brevin, the Soviet power and influence in Europe would be greatly diminished. Over the remainder of the summer, more and more planes were being sent to Airlift Bases in the American Zone of Germany to lift supplies to West Berlin. To raise the level of effort during the operation, on July 29 1948 General William H. Turner arrived in Wiesbaden to set up an Airlift Task Force; an independent entitle that helped organize the airlift (Jackson 68). The Airlift Task Force, or the USAFE, was created primarily to further help organize takeoff efforts that would allow a maximum amount

of goods to be transported. Although by late July and August more supplies were readily available and more planes were used, the United States desired a optimal presentation to Joseph Stalin and the Russians (USAF 3). Even those residents in Berlin were doubtful of the airlift efforts. A US military opinion poll in August stated that eighty six percent of the people questioned the ability of the airlift to function during the winter and would have to capitulate to the Russians (Tusa 187). People were not optimistic about the future of the city, but they had just cause. Their life in the city was extremely irritant despite receiving adequate supplies. Power was only able to be used during dusk hours, food was still scarce, and the economy system had crumbled (Tusa 189). America

heeded warning to this poll and was not prepared to lose the city. President Truman wrote in his diary, “… Berlin is a mess. Forestel, etc. brief me on bases, bombs, Moscow, Leningrad, etc. I have a terrible feeling afterward that we are close to war (Wyden 193). General Clay remained optimistic through Harry Truman s doubts. He stood firm to his belief that the Berlin blockade would lifted when Russia realized America and Britain had a firm control of the cities supplies. On September 18, an all time high of 6,988 tons was flown in one day (Tusa 234). This total was still very far from the target 12,000 tons per day set back in July, but a vast improvement. Bevin reported these staggering numbers to the House of Commons to raise the confidence of the British (Tusa 234). But

still the harsh winter condition had not yet arrived which would prove to be a true test of the airlift s capability. The obvious way to raise the airlift s performance was to increase the number of flights. This task required hiring civilian contractors because the British had basically scraped out on their other resources (Tusa 235). Clay realized this and needed an increased American effort. The only thing standing in General Clay s way was those who doubted him. In October of 1948, General Clay requested to the National Security Council to grant him more DC-4 aircraft (konnections 2). His request was ignored by the council members, but Harry Truman made sure Clay got was necessary (konnections 2). The Winter of 1948-1949 proved difficult for those locked inside blockaded

Berlin. Still those Berliners preferred blockade conditions to Communist rule at a staggering nine out of ten basis (Tusa 265). To increase efficiency of the airlift the main food that was flown in were dried potatoes (Wyden 194). The next most popular items were dried milk, dried soup, and vitamin supplements (Tusa 240). Not much substance was offered in these items, but Berliners complied and fought throughout the winter. Britain and the United States were prepared for the awful winter that never came. During the previous January of 1947, there had been 360 hours of severe frosting that would have dampened the airlift (Tusa 307). During the January of 1948, there were absolutely no hours of severe frost (Tusa 307). An average of 5,546.4 tons was dropped during January, the