Berliners watching a C-54 land during Berlin Airlift, 1948
The Western Allies organized the Berlin airlift (26 June 1948–30 September 1949) to carry supplies to the people of West Berlin, a difficult feat given the size of the city’s population. Aircrews from the United States Air Force, the Royal Air Force, the French Air Force, the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Royal Australian Air Force, the Royal New Zealand Air Force, and the South African Air Force flew over 200,000 sorties in one year, providing to the West Berliners up to 8,893 tons of necessities each day, such as fuel and food. The Soviets did not disrupt the airlift for fear this might lead to open conflict.
By the spring of 1949, the airlift was clearly succeeding, and by April it was delivering more cargo than had previously been transported into the city by rail. On 12 May 1949, the USSR lifted the blockade of West Berlin. The Berlin Blockade served to highlight the competing ideological and economic visions for postwar Europe. Wikipedia
Learn more about the Berlin Airlift through historical newspapers from our archives. Explore newspaper articles, headlines, images, and other primary sources below.
Articles and Clippings about the Berlin Airlift
Russia begins blockade of West Berlin on June 24, 1948 Thu, Jun 24, 1948 – 1 · News-Record (Neenah, Wisconsin, United States of America) · Newspapers.comRussia stops food shipments to the western zones of Berlin controlled by the Allies Fri, Jun 25, 1948 – 1 · Iowa City Press-Citizen (Iowa City, Johnson, Iowa, United States of America) · Newspapers.comU.S. transport planes are arriving every 8 minutes in Berlin says June 28, 1948, report Mon, Jun 28, 1948 – Page 1 · The Escanaba Daily Press (Escanaba, Delta, Michigan) · Newspapers.comFirst three Americans are killed during Berlin Airlift accident in July 1948 Fri, Jul 9, 1948 – Page 1 · Green Bay Press-Gazette (Green Bay, Brown, Wisconsin, United States of America) · Newspapers.comPhoto of air and ground crews in Frankfurt, Germany, looking at the statistics of Operation Vittles Wed, Jul 28, 1948 – 1 · Star-Gazette (Elmira, Chemung, New York, United States of America) · Newspapers.comAustralia offers Britain 10 aircraft to use in Berlin Airlift Tue, Aug 3, 1948 – Page 26 · The Ottawa Journal (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) · Newspapers.com"Berlin Airlift breaks record for shipments" in August 1948 Thu, Aug 5, 1948 – Page 1 · Arizona Daily Star (Tucson, Pima, Arizona, United States of America) · Newspapers.comThe Berlin Airlift is described as a "symbol of what is wrong" between the United States and Russia Thu, Sep 16, 1948 – Page 1 · The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America) · Newspapers.comCanadian government reconsiders decision to not be involved in the Berlin Airlift Mon, Sep 27, 1948 – 1 · Nanaimo Daily News (Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada) · Newspapers.comRussia holds air war maneuvers near Berlin Airlift corridor in October 1948 Thu, Oct 7, 1948 – Page 1 · The Kane Republican (Kane, McKean, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comBerlin Airlift will continue despite dangerous winter flying conditions Thu, Oct 21, 1948 – 10 · Austin American-Statesman (Austin, Texas, United States of America) · Newspapers.comEstimated cost of the Berlin Airlift in November 1948 Mon, Nov 15, 1948 – 5 · The Guardian (London, Greater London, England) · Newspapers.comShortage of spare parts for aircraft doesn’t stop the increased effort of the Berlin Airlift Thu, Dec 9, 1948 – Page 5 · The Neosho Daily News (Neosho, Newton, Missouri) · Newspapers.comRussia complains U.S. and British planes fly too low during Berlin Airlift Fri, Dec 10, 1948 – 24 · The Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Florida, United States of America) · Newspapers.comImage of plane landing after a training session for Berlin Airlift replacement crews Wed, Dec 15, 1948 – 28 · The Central New Jersey Home News (New Brunswick, Middlesex, New Jersey, United States of America) · Newspapers.comBerlin Airlift provides important logistical lessons for future cargo operations Tue, Jan 25, 1949 – 10 · The Baltimore Sun (Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America) · Newspapers.comRecord-breaking Berlin Airlift naval and marine personnel to get special award Mon, Feb 28, 1949 – 3 · Honolulu Star-Bulletin (Honolulu, Honolulu, Hawaii, United States of America) · Newspapers.comDespite the amount of accidents and miles flown, Britain has had a very small number of casualties Thu, Mar 24, 1949 – 5 · The Guardian (London, Greater London, England) · Newspapers.comThe Berlin Airlift is suspended in May 1949, giving pilots and ground crews a break Wed, May 11, 1949 – Page 26 · The San Bernardino County Sun (San Bernardino, San Bernardino, California) · Newspapers.comRussian blockade of Berlin ends on May 12, 1949 Thu, May 12, 1949 – Page 1 · Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, Allegheny, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comArmed forces pay tribute to 28 Americans killed during the Berlin Airlift Sun, May 15, 1949 – Page 9 · The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Jefferson, Kentucky, United States of America) · Newspapers.comLiquidation of the Berlin Airlift begins, with operation of planes to stop Oct. 31, 1949 Mon, Aug 1, 1949 – Page 4 · The Times Herald (Port Huron, Saint Clair, Michigan, United States of America) · Newspapers.comBerlin Airlift pilot participates in the making of a movie about the airlift Sun, Sep 4, 1949 – Page 2 · Argus-Leader (Sioux Falls, Minnehaha, South Dakota, United States of America) · Newspapers.comBerlin Airlift can be re-enacted anywhere in the world, according to the commander of the airlift Wed, Apr 26, 1950 – 12 · Honolulu Star-Bulletin (Honolulu, Honolulu, Hawaii, United States of America) · Newspapers.com