The Berlin Blockade was one of the first major international crises of the Cold War. During the multinational occupation of post–World War II Germany, the Soviet Union blocked the Western Allies’ railway, road, and canal access to the sectors of Berlin under Western control. The Soviets offered to drop the blockade if the Western Allies withdrew the newly introduced Deutsche Mark from West Berlin.
The Western Allies organised the Berlin airlift to carry supplies to the people of West Berlin, a difficult feat given the size of the city’s population. Aircrews from the United States Air Force, the Royal Air Force, the French Air Force, the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Royal Australian Air Force, the Royal New Zealand Air Force, and the South African Air Force flew over 200,000 sorties in one year, providing to the West Berliners necessities such as fuel and food, with the original plan being to lift 3,475 tons of supplies.