Germany, and its capital, Berlin was divided into four separate zones administered by the Soviet Union, the USA, Britain and France. Agreed by The Grand Alliance at Potsdam, the division lasted for many years after only being temporary. The Allied Control Commission was the central organisation with soldiers on the streets and, in Berlin, military checkpoints between each of the four zones.
The Berlin Blockade
Between the three Western Countries and the Soviet Union, there were disagreements between the occupying powers and of the different ways they both looked at Germany. Whilst the Soviets wanted to take as much material back to help rebuild the Soviet Union, while the others wanted to build up the economy. In 1948, talks between the foreign ministers on power broke down and the Soviets stormed off.
Operation Vittles: The Berlin Airlift
As the Soviets were no longer operating, the USA, Britain and France combined their zones in 1948, which was known as Trizonia, while the USA and Britain had already formed Bizonia in 1947. This caused Berlin and Germany to be spilt into Western Trizonia and Eastern Soviet-Controlled. In 1948, they created the single currency, the Deutschmark which angered Stalin and the Soviets, in seeing it to be ‘ganging up’ on them
In 1948, Stalin shut off the land routes across Soviet-Controlled Germany that surrounded the Western-occupied zones of Berlin, which became known as ‘The Berlin Blockade’. It cut off communication and food for the people of Berlin. If it was successful it would have meant that the Soviet Union could have controlled the capital. The West knew if they had forced supplies through it could have meant war or direct military confrontation.
In response to ‘The Berlin Blockade’, the Western Allies launched Operation Vittles (Berlin Airlift) that flew food, coal and other necessities assembled in the Allied Zones. West Berlin people and Western troops in Berlin joined forces to build an airport for the supplies could be transported. In 1949, the Soviets gave in and lifted the blockade and the West succeeded with no injuries.
With all the factors considered, which included ‘The Berlin Blockade’ and ‘The Berlin Airlift’, this made the threat of war actually happening become stronger because of Stalin direct threats and propaganda causing the Western Countries to make serious decisions into not acting violently back in response to the blockade, and for Stalin if he did shoot the airplanes then it would have been seen as a declaration of war, as well as the disagreements made at the beginning.