Berlin Airlift - A Cold War Myth?

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by PartTimePongo, Jun 13, 2008.

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  1. I hope Mr. Steege doesn't mind my blatant Cut and Paste from today's IHT.

    I've italicized the reference to the coal , because I'm sure RAF Sunderlands were lifting coal and Salt and landing on Berlin Lakes during their part of OP. Plainfare.

    So was the greatest airlift in the history of mankind, a cold war myth?
  2. To be fair he doesn't say coal wasn't part of the airlift but "the planes never even attempted to supply coal to heat private homes"

    Presumably the first priority for coal airlifted in would be for power stations, factories, community buildings? - what were left of them!

    I don't recall the "Colbert Report" suggesting the Berlin Airlift was a myth. Colbert did interview an author about a new book on the Airlift but the only thing that stuck in mind about the interview was that it portrayed it as purely an American endeavour; In fact I checked out the book (forgotten the title now but it had "Candy" in the title) and it only had one fleeting reference to the RAF in it, so I didn’t bother reading it.
  3. Short Sunderlands DID carry salt, as flying boats their structures were treated against salt erosion.
    I have also read accounts of USAF Sky masters that "still had the Coal dust" inside from their service on the Berlin airlift
    The Following site talks about the airlift
    The Quote below is important I think.
    "But coal was the trickiest commodity, although the most important, comprising 65 percent of the cargo. Coal dust corroded cables and electrical connections, and crews complained of breathing problems from inhaling the dust. When the planes had their 1,000-hour overhauls, their weights had increased by as much as 100 pounds (45 kilograms)--all coal dust. Eventually, surplus army duffel bags were used to hold the coal and decrease the dust somewhat."
  4. I could have sworn a small unpleasantness 3 years previously had done that..

    I could have sworn a Mushroom cloud over Khazakstan did that.
  5. Was that its purpose? Or was it to stave off stravation and to maintain the Western Allies control of West Berlin?

    They would have practiced these black market strategies long before the war's end.
  6. The Truman doctrine was already pretty much in place. That solidified the"Bi-Polar World" as Kennedy calls it.
    There is a argument, that as early as 1945 Truman, Forrestal and others, were set on containing a Soviet bid for Global Superiority (as the USA had already reached that point and could not allow anotherto "topple it")
  7. My father was flying Yorks with 511 Sqn. I'm looking at his log books now. From Mid-July 48 to the end of the year he made about 400 flights on about 150 days. Not sure if his days off were leave or due to bad weather. His hours increased by 1420 which is over 9 hours a day.

    The ground crew at Gatow must have worked like demons unloading the aircraft. The interval between landing and take off was often less than an hour and in one case is less than half an hour.
  9. I think that the intention is to have a pop at the current US Administration.

    While the airlift did not prevent widespread starvation it did prevent the slide into communism that the Soviets desired. In fact, the Soviet action finally confirmed the face of communist hegemony.

    The blockade was a spectacular own-goal by the Soviets. Instead of driving the Berliners into their arms, the reverse happened. It also convinced any in the Western Sectors of Germany who needed proof that they were better off in 'Trizonia' than in the Soviet Sector.

    Another bonus was that it finally convinced the French that 'Trizonia' should be formulated into what was to become West Germany and that maintaining Germany as a colony wasn't sustainable.