Faces of the Berlin Airlift

During the Second World War, HMSO published a large number of pamphlets about various aspects of the conflict and the war effort, including some surprising subjects like farming and London Transport. I was not aware that there had been any similar post-war publications until I came across one from 1949 about the Berlin Air Lift.

The Air Lift took place over eleven months from June 1948 and was one of the earliest attempts by the USSR to show strength during mounting tensions in the Cold War. The population of West Berlin would potentially starve or be forced to subjugate themselves to the East, now that the normal routes of supply had been cut. The Western Allies countered this with a massive airlift – the RAF alone flying more than 200,000 missions into Berlin and achieving a level of supply that outstripped what had previously been achieved by road and rail. Defeated, the East Germans lifted the blockade in May 1949.

The Berlin Air Lift was published by HMSO only a few months after the end of the blockade and while in some respects a propaganda tool, it contains some interesting images and maps of the operation. The photographers did a nice sample of ordinary aircrew and soldiers involved in the air lift, which give us a good insight into those involved. Some of the pilots were experienced airman and had been flying over Berlin in very different circumstances only a few years before!

I will add some more images from the publication in a later posting.


~ by sommecourt on 17/11/2011.

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