Europe 1948: Berlin Airlift
From 1947, the Western Allies began to economically and politically merge their zones in Germany. In response, the Soviets cut off land and water access to Berlin from the west. However, the Western Allies were able to save Berlin from being starved into surrender by providing to all the city's needs through airlifts. Unwilling to start a war by shooting down the supply aircraft, the Soviets were forced to back down.
31 Mar 1948 Marshall Plan▲
Following World War II, US Secretary of State Gen. George Marshall developed a plan to aid the reconstruction of allied and occupied countries in Europe, passing as the Foreign Assistance Act in 1948. Although the law promised $5.3 billion in aid, the amount increased to $17 billion over four years of implementation. The plan was rejected by the Soviet Union and its satellites.
16 Apr 1948 OEEC▲
In 1948 the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation (OEEC) was set up in Paris to help administer Marshall Plan. Starting operations in April under Secretary-General Robert Marjolin, the OEEC later provided the framework for negotiations on creating both the European Free Trade Area and the European Economic Community. In 1961 the OEEC would reform to become the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
14 May 1948 Israeli Declaration of Independence▲
David Ben-Gurion, the Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization and the chairman of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, declared the establishment of the State of Israel. The declaration became effective upon the termination of the British Mandate over Palestine at midnight.
24 Jun 1948–12 May 1949 Berlin Blockade▲
In 1948 the Soviet Union blocked land and water access to Western-occupied West Berlin, in an attempt to pressure the Western Allies to withdraw the newly introduced Deutsche Mark from West Berlin and thereby roll back attempts to economically reintegrate Germany. In response, the Americans, British, and other Western nations organized airlifts to supply the 2 million inhabitants of West Berlin, eventually more than making up for the cargo that had previously been delivered by rail. Unwilling to intercept the flights for fear of provoking open conflict, the Soviets eventually lifted the blockade in May 1949.