The book critically acclaims the role of American bombers in post WWII time when the allied forces were getting apart because of the political differences that were beginning to showcase.
Americans were following democracy with every intention to spread the same political approach to the occupied countries in Europe whereas Soviets, because of their logistic and geographic location, had very good chance of being there on top for communism. The book looks at the events that originated in 1948-9 when Soviets took control over Berlin and with differences arising in West, blockading the transport routes in and out of Berlin. Berlin after war was still unable to get back on track after WWII in both social and economic terms. The food was provided mostly by the allied forces which were occupant until 1948, especially Americans. The book is written by Andrei Chemy who worked in White House as a speech writer. His research included visiting two continents and sixteen countries which were devastated during the WWII. The conflict started in June, 1948 when Soviets started to emphasize on communism over democracy in Germany (Cherny, 42).
With Berlin in hand, they just had to cut off the resources in order to stay out, which they did. The problem was the food supply to the people of Berlin. As Soviets were not reluctant to play any part in the provision of the needs, American and British army restructured their strategy. As opposition mounted in America against the Soviets, armed forces looked to supply food to the Berlin people. Soviet Union had restricted any plane to enter Berlin air space, but some pilots regardless of this fact showed bravery and transported food. It is believed that during a year they transported around 4.6 billion pounds of food by dropping and attaching with the parachutes, when the blockades finally lifted in 1949 (Cherny, 25).
This was the start of Cold War. Germany was less reluctant to become a democracy but rather made alluring to communism. The use of power from Soviets was another reason that free opinion never reached the outside world. However, Germans, after this gesture of America, became fond of the American style of caring and use of power for the betterment of society. In hearts they wanted to look beyond borders and observe the cultural aspects of American society but they were never allowed.
The role of Adolf Hitler against any kind of criticism revealed that they are not free yet even after the World War, though the use of power to soothe the Germans after WWII by Americans is still regarded by Germans as one of the biggest occasions in their history. The political scene is America was changing all the time. Truman was the only one in the political arena who didn’t want to leave Germans alone. The population was definitely with him as he was re-elected as President again. The American army, though, had no answer to the Soviet Blockade. In the meantime, Liutenant General William Tunner was made the in-charge of the air force. He had the task to transport food and coal to Berlin in winter.
The first pilot to drop the food was Lt. Gail Halvorson and he soon became a celebrity both in Germany and America. Halvorson was able to fly over the Berlin and used handkerchief parachutes to drop candies. Candies became scarce in post war era and children found them very amusing (Cherny, 128). With his bomber plane flying over the Berlin, children used to gather in grounds where Halvorson was supposed to drop the candies, when he signaled from his plane.
With immediate success, Halvorson was sent letter by many families in Berlin who wanted to thank him for what he did for their children by dropping candies apart from transporting the food as well (Cherny, 267). The book also emphasizes on the political aspects of this Berlin airlift. Though, this candy airlifting is unknown to most of the people, it be easily stated that this event played a major role in the determining the future of Berlin and Germany. The book also encloses the close thrift of war between the Soviets and allied forces in 1948, however, it didn’t happen. The candy airlifting was the event that formed the Berlin wall that separated West Germany to the East Germany by the Soviets to keep democracy at hand.
The Berlin was separated into two portions which then considered as the border between the East communist Germany and West democratic Germany. The book is very well written and portrays the events with utmost important. The factual information is mostly based on various journals and news that were published in that time. Interviews with the WWII veterans were also accounted in order to get precise information.
The main breakthrough for Andrei was the discovery of Halvorson’s books and autobiography that outlined each and every aspect of the candy bombings and the influence it had made on the Germans with whom he met afterwards. The book provides some emotional touches as well where it tries to determine the American disrupt at its political level. Andrei stated that Harry Truman was an accidental president because he was also derided by his own party. Regardless of the opposition, he was there to help find a way that could somehow help Germans. Lucius Clay, Lt.
Gen, was also very frustrated of the events that were taking place as whole country was against the army for not taking appropriate actions. Lucius Clay was not in a position to order some offensive orders as he knew that a new war could mean clear confrontation with Soviets which was the superpower. Bill Turner, who was a logistic expert working in Pentagon, was limited to the desk because he had nothing to do in the war front now as the blockades intact restricted him to make any logistic orders. James Forrestal, who was a defense secretary, was also in the moments of shock as the frightening of losing war had impacted his soul and his ability to work and then there was Halvorson, who was always ready for something. The book revolve around these people who somehow became proactive in their approach and tried to look for opportunities and then started a whole new aspect of the post WWII era which has been unknown to many until now.
The combination of the military and other experts from various fields was this time not against any enemy but was for the well being of the people who had limited food and shelter and had no one to help. The book tries to depict this event as the proudest moment where America was involved in something good, not because of war but, morally and something that truly happened for the people for some other country, and the one with whom they had fought mere four years ago. The historical analysis of the event dictate that this step of Soviets was regards to the submission of the Berlin by the Americans. Soviets wanted that America to abandon Berlin or otherwise they were very much reluctant to starvation death of the Berlin people. The Americans did what they could at that time and today, as we look upon history, we come to know that this event was the cornerstone in making of Germany as a strong upheld democracy.
West Germany under the influence of America became its strongest ally afterwards where they assisted West Germany with full moral, logistic and military support and halted the spreading of communism in other parts of the Europe. The book states the event with full authority. Andrei has been successful in undermining the real facts and by stating these facts he has made world remember the finest hour America has ever seen his history where it has been found assisting not because of any materialist benefit like what things have been happening after 9/11 rather more because of the morals which are now lacking at every extent.
The Candy Bombers: The Untold Story of the Berlin Airlift and America’s Finest Hour. New York: Putnam Adult, 2008.