Category Archives: History

The Berlin Blockade

In History we’re learning about the Berlin Blockade. Here’s an activity our teacher handed out so we could complete:

1. What was life like in Berlin in the post-war era?

It was divided into four zones: American, British, French and Soviet. Berlin, like the whole of Germany was devastated, it lost almost half its population.

2. How did Soviet policy towards Berlin differ from that of the West?

Stalin wanted to keep Germany crippled. The West had a very different idea in mind. They wanted to bring Germany back to it’s full potential.

3. Why was reform of the German currency a key issue for both sides?

It was easier to trade between

4. Why was the airlift such a major feat?

It was a smart move, very risky but still a smart move. West Berlin was slowly regaining its strength. The Soviets and Americans both acted maturely and once the US proved she would not give up, Stalin reopened communications.

5. In what respect can the USSR and US be responsible for further increasing tensions during the airlift?

The US was scared the first time flying over east Germany to get into Berlin scared of the possibility that the Soviets would shoot down the planes. Both countries were very suspicious of each other but, in the end none of them had war-like intentions.

6. Why did Stalin eventually agree to talks over the airlift?

He saw West Germany unwilling to give up West Berlin, not even after 10 months. So, he reopened communications.

Extension question:
Who was more to blame for Berlin becoming a major flashpoint in the Cold War, the Soviets or the Americans?

I think all four countries involved were to blame. They all agreed to divide Berlin into four. Even though the war between Communists and Capitalists resulted in FR, BR, and USA to unite against the soviets, Stalin still proceeded to blockade them.

The Outbreak of the Cold War.

In History, we’re going into what is known as the ‘Cold War’. 

Here’s a Slideshare showing a bit of the general information about the war.

This is a newsreel from around the time of the Yalta Conference. 

And this page talks about the Yalta and Potsdam Conferences.

In the third slide of the presentation above there are a few questions and points we were supposed to answer:

1) Why did the wartime alliance fall apart?

To answer this shortly, there was no point anymore to continue being allies. The two superpowers had joined forces to defeat Hitler and once they did that, USA was still capitalist and the USSR was still communist.
Also, the USSR couldn’t forget that in 1917 Britain and USA tried to stop the Russian Revolution, or the Red Scare, or the fact that USA “wasn’t all that big of help”. But, nor Britain or USA could forget that Russia signed the Nazi-Soviet Pact in 1939.

2) What were the major differences between the superpowers?

The major difference between the superpowers was that USA was capitalist and the USSR was communist.

3) What was the importance of Yalta and Potsdam conferences?

In Yalta, the decision the Big Three (USA, Britain and the USSR) made was to divide Germany into four zones of occupation. They also allowed free elections in Eastern Europe, this agreement was called the Declaration of Liberated Europe. Russia was invited to join the League of Nations and she promised to join the war against Japan when Germany was defeated. 
In Potsdam July 1945, Germany was defeated, Roosevelt died and Churchill lost the elections. Truman was angry with the size of reparations and about the fact that there was a Communist government being set up in Poland. Truman dropped the atomic bomb in Japan.

4) What were the roles of Stalin and Truman?

Stalin wanted 10 percent of the industrial equipment of the western zones, Britain and the US thought this was too much.
Truman was angry because Stalin had arrested non-communist leaders of Poland. 
Truman hid things from Stalin, like the atomic bomb in 1945 all so Japan could surrender before Russia invaded. Stalin was furious.