Cold War Research Paper
The Cold War was a competitive rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union. It lasted from the late 1940s until 1991, which was the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Berlin Airlift and the Vietnam War altered the worldwide bond between the Western Powers, Soviet Union, and Vietnam. These two historic conflicts that occurred during the Cold War impacted the nations involved. The Berlin Airlift was one of the greatest aviation engagements in history; while on the other hand, the Vietnam War was the United States response to stop the spread of communism which led to protests and destruction.
One very important event that took place in global history was the Berlin airlift, which lasted from 1948 to 1949. After World War II, Germany was split into four individually controlled sections. The western half of Germany was controlled by the United States, Great Britain and France, which were the western powers. The eastern half was controlled by the Soviet Union. The eastern part of Germany was communist, the western part was democratic. Berlin, the capital of Germany, happens to sit right in the middle of the two opposing halves. The Berlin wall was built August 15, 1961, and it permanently shut off contact to the west. (http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/berlin-wall-built). Joseph Stalin was the leader of the Soviet Union, Stalin blockaded Berlin because he thought that Germany should remain weak, but the democratic side believed differently. The western powers were trying to re-build Germany. The western powers united West Germany into a country called Bizonia in1947, and they also introduced a new currency into Berlin. Then the next day, Stalin cut off all rail and road links to West Berlin. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/history/mwh/ir2/). The city was disconnected from the west. The western powers saw this as starving Berlin. The western powers were surely not going to stand for this. “When Berlin falls, Western Germany will be next. If we withdraw our position in Berlin, Europe is threatened... Communism will run rampant.” This was said by General Lucius Clay, but he had developed a plan that would indeed cause a war. His plan consisted of sending the army to essentially breakdown the blockade (Halvorsen. http://www.spiritoffreedom.org/airlift.html). However, British Commander, Sir Brian Robertson, offered another idea. He suggested that the western powers should supply Berlin though the air. Thus, the Berlin Airlift began. Nothing like this has been tried before. Supplying an entire population with the necessary goods and materials to remain alive was surely an overwhelming task, but it had to be done. President Truman said, “We would not abandon these people!” At one point during the operation, transport planes were arriving in Berlin every ninety seconds. By the spring of 1949, aircraft were transporting 8800 tons of supplies daily. It was evident that Stalin’s blockade was unsuccessful. May 12th, 1949, the blockade was called off. (Harrison 10-11).
Although the Berlin Airlift was rather a heroic and courageous event, it did come with some consequences that impacted the nations involved. It was quite harsh for the Berliners during the winter months of the airlift. Food was strictly limited and fresh vegetables were rare. There were extreme power cuts, due to the city’s power plant being cut off in the Soviet sector (Halvorsen. http://www.spiritoffreedom.org/airlift.html). East and West Germany became the Democratic Republic of Germany and Federal Republic of Germany, respectively. This continued until 1990. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/history/mwh/ir2/berlinblockaderev2.shtml). Stalin's militant actions also lead to the development of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), which was created to stop communist threats in parts of Europe. Also, because of Stalin’s actions, the United States became more involved in European military security....
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Harrison, Paul. The Cold War. London: Arcturos Publishing Ltd, 2005.
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“The Berlin Blockade and Airlift.” BBC. 2013.
“1957-1975: The Vietnam War.” Libcom. 2006.
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