Post World War II antagonism between the Soviets and the western allies led to the Soviet blockade western access to Berlin, a city shared by the United States, Great Britain, France, and the Soviets. The Soviet aim was to strangle the ability of the west to supply their sectors of Berlin. In 1948, roads, rivers, and rail leading to Berlin were cut off. The agreed-to air corridors were left open due to the superiority of western aircraft. The Soviets believed that the supply of Berlin's energy, food, and other resources by air alone was impossible, and the western allies would be forced to leave.

From June 1948 to May 1949, thousands of flights flying thousands of tons of cargo of coal, food, and other supplies were flown into Berlin each month. In the end the Soviets were forced to accept that the western allies were not leaving Berlin, and the blockades were lifted after negotiations.

Known in German as "die Luftbr├╝cke" (the air bridge).