Acclaimed historian Barry Turner presents a new history of the Cold War's defining episode.
Berlin, 1948: a divided city in a divided country in a divided Europe. The ruined German capital lay 120 miles inside Soviet-controlled Eastern Germany. Stalin wanted the Allies out; the Allies were determined to stay but had only three narrow air corridors linking the city to the West. Stalin was confident he could crush Berlin's resolve by cutting off food and fuel.
In the USA, despite some voices still urging 'America first', it was believed that a rebuilt Germany was the best insurance against the spread of communism across Europe. And so over 11 months, from June 1948 to May 1949, British and American aircraft carried out the most ambitious airborne relief operation ever mounted, flying over two million tons of supplies on almost 300,000 flights to save a beleaguered Berlin.
With new material from American, British and German archives and original interviews with veterans, Turner paints a fresh, vivid picture of the airlift, whose repercussions - the role of the USA as global leader, German ascendancy and Russian threat - we are still living with today.