Platz der Luftbrücke

I was actually on my way to somewhere else when I passed through Platz der Luftbrücke, so this is a particularly hastily taken picture, but it at least gives you something to look at...

Platz der Luftbrücke

The Platz der Luftbrücke is named to commemorate the Berlin Airlift.

Sometimes the term 'Berlin Wall' is used more symbolically, to refer to the inner-German border between East and West Germany. I've met more than a few people who have been confused about how the whole thing worked geographically, so this would seem to be a good chance to explain that and how the Berlin Airlift came about.

Germany in 1949

This map from Wikimedia Commons shows the state of Germany at the end of the 1940s. The blue part is West Germany (the purple bit is the Saarland, which was a French protectorate at the time, but became part of West Germany in 1956). The red area is East Germany and the yellow blob in the middle of that is West Berlin, an island in an East German sea, accessible only by three roads, four rail routes and two waterways. It wasn't actually part of the Federal Republic, instead having the status of an occupied city, but was for the most part treated as part of West Germany, with the same laws and the same currency (West Berliners couldn't vote in West German elections, though and also weren't eligible for national service, making Berlin attractive to those opposed to it).
On June 24th 1948, Stalin decided to close the land and water routes into Berlin, provoked by the introduction of the Deutsche Mark in the British, French and American zones, along with the increasing likelihood of the formation of a West German state. Determined not to surrender Berlin, the Americans and British supplied the western sectors of Berlin by air for almost a year, only ending in May 1949 when a new agreement about transit corridors was drawn up.

The building in the background is Tempelhof airport, an American airbase at the time of the Luftbrücke, where many of the planes landed (they also landed at RAF Gatow in the British sector and at a new runway at Tegel in the French sector). Tempelhof was closed in October 2008, though not without some protest due to its part in the Berlin airlift.

It has a darker side to its past though, as the terminal building was built in 1934 to plans by Ernst Sagebiegel as part of the Nazi plans to rebuild Berlin, turning it into "Welthauptstadt Germania" (Welthauptstadt meaning 'world capital'). It can be seen at the top left of this photograph of a model.

It would make an interesting subject for a post in itself, but that'll have to wait for another destination is something else connected with Hitler's plans for Welthaputstadt Germania.

Platz der Luftbrücke (U6)
Platz der Luftbrücke
12101 Berlin

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