DARING YOUNG MEN : THE HEROISM AND TRIUMPH OF THE BERLIN AIRLIFT, JUNE 1948 ' MAY 1949.

Reeves, Richard.


£25.00




New York, 1st ed., 2010. Xvii + 316 pp., photo-plates + cartoons. D.j., 24 x 16cm. Black ink line to top edge o/w Nr.FINE. In the early hours of June 26, 1948, phones began ringing across America, waking up World War II pilots, navigators and mechanics who were finally beginning new lives. President Truman was recalling them to active duty to try to save the desperate people of the western sectors of Berlin, the enemy city many of them had bombed to rubble just three years earlier. Soviet dictator Stalin had ordered a blockade on the city, isolating the people of West Berlin, using vast numbers of Red Army soldiers to close off all land and water access to the city. He was gambling that he could drive out the small attachments of American, British and French occupation troops because their only option was to stay and watch Berliners starve ' or retaliate by starting World War III. Truman insisted they stayed and called urgently on the veterans to fly over Soviet-occupied territory day and night, making it up as they went along and ignoring Russian fighters and occasional anti-aircraft fire. The Berlin Airlift changed the world and led to the creation of a new West Germany and the signing of the mutual defence agreement that created NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Drawing on service records and hundreds of interviews in the United States, Germany and Britain, the author tells the stories of these civilian airmen who achieved the impossible. (See No. 444)


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