In the previous clases, we read about the Berlin Blockade. Lenny, our History teacher, adked us to complete a chart and answer some questions using the information gathered. This is my chart and my answers:
- What was life like in Berlin in the post-war era?
- How did Soviet policy towards Berlin differ from that of the West?
- Why was reform of the German currency a key issue for both sides?
- Why was the airlift such a major feat?
- In what respect can the USSR and US be responsible for further increasing tensions during the airlift?
- Why did Stalin eventually agree to talks over the airlift?
- Extended question: Who was more to blame for Berlin becoming a major flashpoint in the Cold War, the Soviets or the Americans?
- The second world war had included also civilians. Berlin, as a consequence, had been entirely destroyed. Everything had been lost, so people’s lives in the post-war era was poor and devastating, as everything had disappeared. Casualties were much more than in the first world war. Berlin people who had survived were very needy and their were shortages of all goods.
- The difference between the soviet and the west policies was that Stalin did not want Berlin to recover too fast and to keep control of it. He was willing to cripple it. On the other hand, the west was recovering thanks to the US Marshal Plan, which used a new currency and loans precisely for the west recoverement. By doing this, the consequences of the world war two could be confronted and solved.
- The new currency was vital for capitalism because it united them against the soviet. The sharing of the same currency would allow them to achieve prosperity while the USSR didn’t. Also, it allowed USA to strengthen it’s policy of containment and stop the communist spread.
- The airlift was a major feat as it brought a lot of tension between the two rivals. It showed again that Stalin was desperate to expand and spread communism. On the other hand, it also showed that truman was strong enough to confront Stalin and that he would not be easily beaten. It showed that USA was also serious. Suspicion and grew from both sides thanks to this event.
- The USA and the USSR can be held responsible for the increasing of tension as they both, during the airlift, performed suspicious actions. ON the one hand, the USSR cut off over two million population of west berlin from receiving goods from western Germany. Canals and vital roads were closed by Stalin so that he could force USA out of Berlin. This increased tension as it threatened the USA, because if they acted it would be an act of war. On the other hand, the USA, confronted Stalin and sent supplies through the air. It showed Stalin’s defeat and Truman’s strength. It created tension and suspicion between both sides.
- Stalin, in the end, decided to reopen communication and transports, canals and vital roads were now available. He did this as he realised that his plan had failed. He understood that he wouldn’t be able to force USA out of Berlin and that Truman was strong and suspicious enough to give up the city.
- From my point of view, the soviets were more to blame for Berlin becoming a major flashpoint in the Cold War. The americans had a strong and firm reaction, but it was what it was needed. The citizens needed to recover economically and it wasn’t fair that they lost their part of Berlin, as it had been previously discussed at Yalta. Truman, although it created tension and was a suspicious act, did what it was correct, as he deserved West Berlin’s control. Stalin, on the other hand, had no right to close the roads and canals. His ambition impulsed him to keep wanting more territory that it did not belong to him. He is more to blame than the USA, as he knew his limits. However, he wanted all Berlin under communist influence.