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Berlin Airlift - Essay Example

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This paper provides an overview of the Berlin blockade by the Soviet Union which led to the launch of the historic airlift operation. It discusses the political background of the major crisis during the Cold War which adversely affected the Soviet-Western Powers relation…
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Berlin Airlift
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Download file to see previous pages This study outlines that the divergence of views on the status of Berlin soon emerged. The Soviet Union considered the presence of the other three Western nations only as a temporary occupation. As Joseph Stalin claimed, in economic and administrative terms, the whole of Berlin belonged to the Soviet-occupied zone of Germany.  On the other hand, the Western Powers asserted that the citizens of Berlin had the right to choose and determine the future.  From this paper it is clear that the rift was further aggravated given the difference in Soviet Union’s and Western nation’s viewpoints regarding the economic recovery plan for Germany.  The former believed that Germany should be incapacitated to launch another war since Stalin assumed that Germany along with Japan could once again be perils to Soviet Union by 1960s.  On the contrary, the Western Powers, particularly the US, stressed that the post war reconstruction of Europe primarily depends on the rebuilding of German economy and industry. In line with the Western recovery plan, the unification of the Western-occupied sectors in Germany, dubbed as the Marshall Plan, was announced on March 6, 1948. The three Western zones would be consolidated with an independent federal government. In this regard, the Soviet Union withdrew from the Allied Control Council administering over Berlin due to the perceived violation of the Potsdam Agreement by the Western Powers....
In this regard, the Soviet Union withdrew from the Allied Control Council administering over Berlin due to the perceived violation of the Potsdam Agreement by the Western Powers ("Reader's Companion to American History"). Apparently, the country was divided into East Germany under the Soviet Union and West Germany under Western Power control. As such, Berlin was similarly divided.
As a pre-requisite for the establishment of independence, the Western Powers called for the revival of the economy. During those times, the only active economy in West Germany was the black market. To push through with the Marshall Plan, the underground economy would have to be destroyed. The Western Powers believed that currency reform was the answer. (Botting)
Currency Reform
As part of the proposed change in currency, a brand new currency, the Deutschemark, would replace the highly depreciated Reichsmark. The Deutschemark was set with a stable and universally accepted value. For the plan to succeed, the currency reform operation was carried out in utmost secrecy. They deemed it crucial that no leak was generated for this would result to adverse international consequence. (Botting)
When the new currency was announced in June 23, 1948, substantial economic recovery commenced in West Germany. The confidence in money was revived and economy normalized as traders abandoned the barter system and sold goods in exchange for cash. The shops were also filled with various consumer goods which had not been sold legally for a long time. (Botting)
Soviet Reaction
The introduction of the new currency proved to be unacceptable for the Soviet Union. In a meeting between Stalin and three Western ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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