The consequences of the Berlin Blockade and Airlift

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  • The consequences of the Berlin Blockade and Airlift
    • 4) The Division of Germany
      • i)  Germany was permanently divided into East and West Germany between 1949 and 1989.
      • ii) The Western Allies joined their 3 German zones and Berlin sectors together to create the Federal Republic Of Germany [West Germany], with Bonn as its capital, and West Berlin
      • iii) West Germany became a capitalist democracy and ally of the Western powers. The Russian zone and sector became the German Democratic Republic [East Germany] and East Berlin.
      • iv) East Germany became a hard-line Stalinist dictatorship, and staunch ally of the USSR.
    • 2) The Arms Race
      • i) Following the blockade and airlift, Superpower tensions were high. Germany was divided, military alliances were formed (1949-55), and Cold War attitudes became more deeply entrenched.
      • ii) The fact that China also became Communist in 1949 rendered the Cold War an increasingly global conflict.
      • iii) The arms race intensified. American defence spending tripled in a year. Stalin feared America's nuclear arsenal, and desperately poured money and manpower into developing Russia's A-Bomb
      • iv) The USSR successfully tested its first atomic weapon in 1949, and both Superpowers then embarked upon a desperate race to develop ever more destructive weapons (e.g. the H bomb). The so-called arms race had began.
    • 1) Cold War tensions
      • i) Cold War tensions intensified between the USSR and the Western Allies in the aftermath of the Berlin blockade and airlift.
      • ii) The USA was confident that the policy of containing communism was working as a policy, while the Russians were determined to be more successful in their next Cold War confrontation.
      • iii) Recent research has confirmed that Stalin encouraged North Korea to invade South Korea in 1950, beginning the Cold War in South East Asia.
    • 3) NATO
      • i) The Berlin airlift and blockade appeared to confirm American and Western fears that the USSR was trying to expand communist influences in Western Europe and to take over the whole of Germany.
      • ii) In April 1949, the NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organisation] Alliance was formed. The USA, Canada and 14 European countries signed a mutual defensive pact, promising to help one another militarily if they were to be attacked by a hostile power.
      • iii) They perceived NATO as a defensive alliance to protect them, but Stalin and the USSR viewed it as an offensive alliance against the USSR and Communism.
      • iv) In 1955, after West Germany joined NATO, the Warsaw Pact was set up as Russia's response to NATO, signed by the USSR, Poland, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and Albania.
      • v) In effect, Europe was now torn in two with 2 great military alliances armed to the teeth on either side of the "Iron Curtain"
    • Effects
      • The Berlin Blockade led to: 1) Propaganda success for the USA, 2) failure for the USSR, 3) increased fears of war in Europe.
      • This contributed to 1) increased tension, 2) the setting up of the FDR and the GDR, 3) the setting up of NATO a military (not economic) alliance
      • This led to: 1) the stting up of the Warsaw Pact, 2) the arms race.


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