Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What We're Reading: The Candy Bombers

The Candy Bombers: The Untold Story of the Berlin Airlift and America's Finest Hour by Andrei Cherny

This book delves into the aftermath of WWII, when the Americans, Russians, English and French begrudgingly set up residence in the land of their enemies and sectioned off the whole of Germany and, on a smaller scale, Berlin. At first, the nations generally got along peaceably. Gradually, tensions and differing ideologies bubbled to the surface, resulting in an east-west divide and the threat of nuclear war. In the midst of the conflict were the Berliners, loathed by their occupiers and starving amidst the rubble of the war. The Soviets raised a blockade which prevented any of the necessities from entering by land into West Berlin, making matters even more dire. It was becoming ever more likely that the other nations would have to surrender the territory and risk the spread of Communism.

And, yes, there was candy. It should be noted that the promised candy did not appear until well into the second half of this hefty, 500+ page book. That said, it was worth the wait. An airlift was set up to bypass the blockade and bring food, coal, and other items into the city. Its contents were barely enough to keep the Berliners alive. In fact, it was laughably inadequate. However, from those planes rained down chocolates and sweets that the Berlin children had never tasted. This act of kindness was enough to turn the tide. Highly recommended, especially for those who are not familiar with the post WWII years or the presidency of Harry Truman.

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