If all Europe lies flat while the Russian mob tramps over it, we will then be faced with a war under difficult circumstances, and with a very good chance of losing it… James Forrestal


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Among the multitude of things so conveniently forgotten by the left is that it was the Soviet Union that attempted to destroy the free city of West Berlin first with a starvation blockade in 1948 and then will a wall that gave eminence to the iron curtain in 1961. This book is an account of the first attempt and the response of the United States which preserved the status quo without an armed response. At a time when the United States was truly the world’s only superpower – the Soviets did not yet have the bomb – many consider this a missed opportunity to decisively cage the bear and free the eastern half of Europe. Others – mainly those who did not spend forty years suffering through Soviet oppression – consider it a masterpiece of measured response. These are the same people who consider Kennedy heroic for saying, Ich bin ein Berliner, but who can not tell you how many were killed trying to cross the wall to freedom – nor any of their names. The men who planned and executed the airlift were indeed heroic and this book is a worthy testament to their efforts as for the rest appeasement was no more successful in 1948 than it was in 1938.

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The candy bombers : the untold story of the Berlin Airlift and America’s finest hour  Andrei Cherny  New York : G.P. Putnam’s Sons, c 2008  Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. xiv, 624 p. : ill. ; 25 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. [595]-603) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

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Andrei Cherny tells a remarkable story and brings together newly unclassified documents, unpublished letters and diaries, and fresh primary interviews to tell the story of the ill-assorted group of castoffs and second-stringers who not only saved millions of desperate people from a dire threat but changed how the world viewed the United States, and set in motion the chain of events that would ultimately lead to the dismantling of the Berlin Wall and to America’s victory in the Cold War.

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On June 24, 1948, intent on furthering its domination of Europe, the Soviet Union cut off all access to West Berlin, prepared to starve the city into submission unless the Americans abandoned it. Soviet forces hugely outnumbered the Allies’, and most of America’s top officials considered the situation hopeless. But not all of them.

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Harry Truman, an accidental president, derided by his own party; Lucius Clay, a frustrated general, denied a combat command and relegated to the home front; Bill Tunner, a logistics expert downsized to a desk job in a corner of the Pentagon; James Forrestal, a secretary of defense; Hal Halvorsen, a lovesick pilot who had served far from the conflict, flying transport missions in the backwater of a global war — together these unlikely men improvised and stumbled their way into a uniquely American combination of military and moral force unprecedented in its time.

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