70 years on: Berlin Blockade remembered

20 June 2018

This month marks the seventieth anniversary of the start of the Berlin Blockade that saw the Allied Forces divided into two groups following the end of the Second World War, in what became known as the Cold War.

With victory over Nazi Germany accomplished, the Allied Forces, united only in their response to crisis, almost immediately fell into two ideologically opposed groups: France, Great Britain and the USA -- and the Communist USSR.

Organised by Russia, the Berlin Blockade began on 24 June 1948, lasting until 12 May 1949.

Although not the first, it remains one of the most lasting and incisive expressions of the Cold War which ensued.

Lecturer in Welsh History Dr Marion Loeffler said: “The Berlin Blockade made the Germans on either side of the Iron Curtain pawns in the political chess game played for global power for more than four decades, until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.”

“At a time when walls still divide nations, new 'iron curtains' are being erected, and even children are used to maintain and create political power, and crush the resistance of opponents, it is important to remember the lessons of the Cold War, from the Blockade to the building and demise of the Berlin Wall. Ordinary people should never be political pawns.”

Fellow of the Royal Historical Academy, Dr Loeffler is interested in the interplay of individual lives and politics, and the role of language and translation in the transfer of knowledge and concepts, especially between 1789 and the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Her books include Political pamphlets and sermons from Wales [1790-1806], Welsh responses to the French Revolution: press and public discourse [1789-1802] and The literary and historical legacy of Iolo Morganwg [1826-1926].

The German-born historian, who grew up in the German Democratic Republic and saw the fall of the Berlin Wall first-hand, appeared on S4C’s Heno to shed light on the blockade on the week of the anniversary.