At the end of World War Two, Berlin was isolated deep inside the Soviet-occupied zone of Germany.
GV Aircraft flying into Berlin and AERIALS Tempelhof airfield.
SV Aircraft taking off.
SV Unloading aircraft, aircraft parked and taking off and flying
AERIALS Berlin Wall under construction (6 shots)
GV Checkpoint Charlie with American tanks and troops on guard.
GV Berlin crowds outside Town Hall. (3 shots)
SV John F Kennedy speaking (ENGLISH SPEECH)
GV Train along track and aircraft landing at Tempelhof airport and passengers out.
GVS Berlin traffic and people sitting in cafes.
SV PAN Berlin airlift memorial and GV memorial.
"Today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is "Ich bin sin Berliner!"
PART BLACK & WHITE
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: At the end of World War Two, Berlin was isolated deep inside the Soviet-occupied zone of Germany. The city was administered jointly by the Big Four power .... the Soviet Union, the United States, Britain and France. This accord lasted fitfully until 1948, when the British, French and American sectors of Berlin became further isolated when the four-power administration broke down. Finally, in June 1948, Soviet authorities cut off all roads, rail and canal traffic between Berlin and the West. The air corridors, however, could not be closed. To underline their determination to maintain the independence of West Berlin, American, British and French authorities began the Berlin airlift.
SYNOPSIS: The airlift began on June 26 1948-four days after the Russians imposed a total blockade on Berlin. It was to last fourteen months and developed into the biggest air supply operation ever mounted in the history of air transport. To feed West Berlin's two million people the western allies flew more than 277,000 flights into Berlin, carrying nearly two-and-a-half million tons of food and other goods.
The blockade was lifted in May 1949, although the airlift went on for another three months. Berlin remained in a front line position in the ensuing war of nerves between East and West. By 1961, East German authorities had erected the wall which still divides the city.
In the same summer of 1961, the East Germans again cut the road link between West Germany and Berlin-and this time Berlin became the focal point of tension. American armour rolled through the streets of Berlin to the famous East-West gateway at Checkpoint Charlie .... and the roads were opened.
But Berlin reached the very pinnacle of world attention when it was the arena for one of the most famous public utterances since the war. The time was 1963 and the speaker was President John F Kennedy .......
In the ensuing fifteen years, the perennial 'Berlin crisis' has occasionally flared into prominence, but it has rarely reached the position of flashpoint. The traffic flows, restrictions on movement between West Berlin and West Germany are few and West Berliners wishing to visit East Berlin can now do so by obtaining a visa. Deep inside East Germany, West Berlin is still a showplace for the West and is still an irritant to East Germany and its Soviet allies. But, short of war, it will probably remain as it is. Berlin today shares economic problems with the rest of the world, but is still rich...and above all, is quite unique.
The West Berliners erected this memorial to the airlift. It stands outside Tempelhof airfield, then busiest airport in the world, but now almost unused. But this rather bleak concrete pillar stands as a remainder of the time when West Berlin's only guarantee of survival was carried on the wings of aircraft.