This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift. The heroic efforts of the United States and her Allies saved more than 2 million men, women and children in Berlin.
The Berlin Airlift began on June 26, 1948. The Soviets sealed off the western portion of Berlin controlled by American, British and French forces. In response, the western allies took to the skies and began flying in provisions for West Berlin’s 2.2 million residents, an effort that grew into the Berlin Airlift.
In one of the greatest humanitarian actions of all time, American and British aircraft supplied the inhabitants of Berlin with food, fuel and other supplies during the unprecedented Berlin Airlift, which came to be known as “Operation Vittles”. At midnight on May 12, 1949, the Soviets reopened land and water routes into Berlin ending the 322-day blockade of Berlin.
Newest class of US Air Force pilots grouped in front of C-47 & C-54 cargo transport planes which they are training to fly during Operation Vittles, the plan to break the Soviet blockade of Berlin, aka the Berlin Airlift. Great Falls, Montana - October 1948 - LIFE Magazine - Photographer: J. R. Eyerman.
Citizens of Berlin stand amid rubble near the edge of Tempelhof Airfield to watch an American C-47 cargo plane arrive with food & supplies, part of the Allied effort to counter a Soviet blockade of the city during the Berlin airlift - July 1948 - LIFE Magazine - Photographer: Walter Sanders.
Rhein-Main Airfield in Frankfurt at night showing streaks of landing lights of C-54 during Berlin Airlift operation - July 1948 - LIFE Magazine - Photographer: Walter Sanders.