Published date: 5 April 2008

Opening titles and voice over tell us we are about to see a film about the airlift – a great achievement. We see goods being loaded up and then aircraft taking off with supplies for Berlin.


In 1945 the USSR and the British, French and American armies occupied Germany. Germany and Berlin were split into eastern and western zones. Relations between the four powers were strained immediately after the war and co-operation began to break down in 1947. Early 1948, the three Western powers decided to amalgamate their zones and introduce a new currency, the Deutschmark. Stalin was unhappy with Allied plans to rebuild Germany. He tried to close off West Berlin by cutting all road, water and rail links. Berlin was therefore accessible only by air. The British and Americans responded with a huge airlift of supplies and resources to West Berlin. At its height one plane reached West Berlin every 30 seconds. The Airlift officially ended on 30 September 1949, fifteen months after its protracted beginnings in June 1948. In total, the United States and Britain delivered 1,783,573 and 541,937 tons of supplies respectively, involving 277,569 flights to Berlin.

Interesting or important points about the film

There is little doubt about the tone of this film and its views of the Berlin airlift. It is worth spotting all of the propaganda images and voice over comments.

Author: The National Archives

Duration: 9:59

Release date: 1949

Producer: Sponsor: Central Office of Information Control Commission for Germany (Information Services Division) Producer: British Movietone News

Source: Crown Copyright

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