Air technology and the busting of the Berlin Blockade

Personal bravery and a deft use of air technology settled the first major crisis of the Cold War.

James Martin Managing Editor, Photography
James Martin is the Managing Editor of Photography at CNET. His photos capture technology's impact on society - from the widening wealth gap in San Francisco, to the European refugee crisis and Rwanda's efforts to improve health care. From the technology pioneers of Google and Facebook, photographing Apple's Steve Jobs and Tim Cook, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Google's Sundar Pichai, to the most groundbreaking launches at Apple and NASA, his is a dream job for any documentary photography and journalist with a love for technology. Exhibited widely, syndicated and reprinted thousands of times over the years, James follows the people and places behind the technology changing our world, bringing their stories and ideas to life.
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It was the first big Cold War test of wills between the United States and the Soviet Union that threatened to turn hot and perhaps, ignite another world war just a couple of years after Germany's surrender.

Tensions between the two former allies had been building since the end of World War II. In the aftermath of the Marshall Plan and disagreements between the Russians and the western occupying powers -- the U.S., Britain, and France -- over the future of Germany, a crisis broke out on June 24, 1948, when Soviet forces blocked Allied access to the city.

With Berlin lying about a hundred miles inside Soviet-controlled territory, the city was isolated and in danger of getting starved out. But the Allies responded immediately with an airlift to resupply Berlin with a dramatic airlift which lasted for months. The Soviets finally lifted the blockade on May 12, 1949.

A so-called Candy Bomber drops sweets hanging on small parachutes over Tempelhof airport in Berlin in 2009 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of the airlift (1948-1949). U.S. and allied aircraft flew in 4.000 tons of food and supplies daily for the population of west Berlin for almost a year during the Berlin Blockade. Getty Images

65 years later, recalling the air rescue of West Berlin (pictures)

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