Air Force Won

How Berlin got its food back

Late in June of 1948, the Soviets cut off all ground and water access to Berlin in a Cold War stare-down. The plan was to starve the city so that it would be wholly dependent on the Soviet Union. Military brass in the Allied nations realized that an airlift of food and fuel could save the city (and show up the Russians), but only if more than 5,000 tons of necessities could be delivered per day. When asked if this was possible, General Curtis LeMay of the U.S. Air Force famously remarked, "We can haul anything." And so for the next fifteen months, thousands of unarmed cargo planes from three nations flew more than 270,000 missions of mercy, and West Berlin was indeed saved. The Berlin Airlift: A Legacy of Friendship, a photo exhibit commemorating the 60th anniversary of the operation, opens at the University of Missouri-St. Louis Mercantile Library (1 University Drive at Natural Bridge Road) on Monday, September 8. But first, Andrei Cherny, author of The Candy Bombers: The Untold Story of the Berlin Airlift and America's Finest Hour, speaks at 7 p.m. Sunday, September 7, at the JCPenney Conference Center to officially open the show; admission is free, but reservations are requested (call 314-516-6620). The Berlin Airlift: A Legacy of Friendship remains on display in the St. Louis Mercantile Library through Sunday, October 12.
Sept. 7-Oct. 12, 2008

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